East York junior girls look to repeat perfection

[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Steven_EastYorkGirls_Podcast.mp3|titles=Steven_EastYorkGirls_Podcast]The East York Collegiate Institute junior girls basketball team are looking to do just what they did last season: run the table and win the championship.

In order to accomplish this goal, East York has already begun preparation knowing that a target will be painted on their backs.

“We’re the team now to beat so our expectations are high so we did start practicing early,” head coach Stacy Ganogiannis said in a recent telephone interview.

“We’re starting off again on the basics, our shooting, our positioning, our defence, as well as our plays.”

Starting practice early is very important to what East York does because of what Ganogiannis demands of her players.

“Everyone has to know [the plays], everybody knows everybody’s position, everybody knows each other’s options and we start early so they know that,” the East York head coach said.

Another reason for the pre-emptive practice time is for the high number of Grade 9 players that will be on the team this year who need to get acclimatized and gel with the 10th graders — a formula that worked well last year.

“We’re working the younger junior girls, the grade nines now,” Ganogiannis said.

“Last year we won the city finals on the majority of the team being grade nines so we’re going to work with the grade nines a little bit more and the grade 10s are going to mentor them throughout, but our team is predominantly [ninth graders].”

The older players on the team should also be able to help the younger ones grow accustomed to Ganogiannis’s defensive schemes that she likes to change throughout the course of the season.

“Depending on [where we are in the] season, halfway through [last year’s] season we played zone and up to that we we’re forced to play [man-to-man],” said Ganogiannis, a former York University coach.

Being forced to change their looks on the fly on defence shouldn’t be much of a problem for East York, according to Ganogiannis. That’s because of how well the team plays together despite not having one key player to take over a game.

“There’s not one person that shines because I think our success is based on teamwork.”