EYCI junior girls looking for repeated success

Video: EYCI junior girls basketball

[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Alexis_EYCI-Girls-Basketball_Podcast.mp3|titles=Alexis_EYCI Girls’ Basketball_Podcast]
East York Collegiate (East York Collegiate)

East York’s junior girls basketball team is midway through its season, continuing a streak of success.

After a perfect record and city championship last year, they have yet to lose this season.

Coach Stacy Ganogiannis hopes to keep it going.

“I’d like to win,” Ganogiannis said. “I’d like to win the regionals. Hopefully we can advance to the cities and repeat what we did last year again.

“Last year we were undefeated throughout the whole season. That was pretty amazing considering they were in Grade 9. This year they’re in Grade 10.”

A perfect 5-0 into this season, points leader Anastasia Grekos thinks the team has been successful because of the players’ abilities to work together.

“We all basically started from scratch again,” Grekos said. “We reviewed the plays again and we learned them all. Commitment really, really helped us.”

Being committed is what Ganogiannis gives the most credit to her team for. She has been impressed by the young women and their ability to thrive within the sport.

“When you see players that are motivated and they are learning and they want to practice hard every day, how could you ask for anything better than that?” the coach said. “They are very devoted.”

As much credit as Ganogiannis gives to her players, they reciprocate the feeling.

“She’s been a huge asset,” Grekos said of her coach. “She’s come every morning with us. She’s so committed and all of us are, too. She really pushes us hard and makes us want to do better and better.”

Early morning practices every day of the week are only part of the routine for the girls. But power forward Jovana Simonovic thinks that the schedule has played a big part in their accomplishments.

“We’ve been undefeated,” Simonovic said. “The main reason is because we practice a lot and we work hard as a team together. I think that’s led to our success.”

Ganogiannis thinks that the returning point guard and power forward have been great assets to the team, guiding the other players both on and off the court.

“[Anastasia] is a very quiet leader, a quiet hero as well,” the coach said. “She’s an all-around player, not only in terms of skills, but a quiet leader in terms of off the court.

“She motivates the team, gets everything organized, and talks with everybody on the team.

“Jovana’s my power house. She’s my screamer on the court. She is my voice on the court. I’m very fortunate to have such players. They’re quite a delight to coach.”

Though the two girls receive much of the attention directed toward the team, they are quick to praise the rest of the players.

“Everyone has their own little talent that helps us win and all of us have good qualities for teams to watch out for.”

With two games remaining the regular season, and playoffs to look forward to, the team looks to build on what they did last year with high aspirations for the end of this one.

“Hopefully a perfect record, to win all of our games,” Grekos said of the team’s goals. “If not, just to have fun. We’re still having fun and that’s the main point.”