While she didn’t make a guarantee during her speech at the last March, Stoughton High girls’ basketball coach Janet Sullivan was clear about what her team would be striving for in 2011-2012—a postseason tournament berth.
At the time, the girls’ basketball team had just , one in which the team started 0-6, but finished an encouraging 5-7 down the stretch.
Nine months later, with the set to begin, Sullivan isn’t changing her tone. She said with the team returning an experienced core, it’s a “reasonable goal” to qualify for tournament.
“We have the tools,” said Sullivan, who is entering her 22nd year coaching the team. “It’s up to us to work hard and get something accomplished.”
At this point, Sullivan said she is more concerned with the team’s defense than with the offense.
“We have weapons on offense,” she said. “We need to become hard-nosed on defense.”
Sullivan would like to see her team press and play zone, and believes she has the personnel to do so.
Senior Chrystal Holland may be the team’s top all-around player, able to play any of the five positions on the court, Sullivan said.
Holland, along with fellow seniors Jacqueline Kuhn and Katherine Chlus are Stoughton’s captains this season. Sullivan said this experienced trio brings good leadership and skills to the team.
Junior Nicole Daniels, who earned playing time as a sophomore, gives the team a solid inside presence. Classmate Emma Zuk, also returning to the varsity squad, is a great ball handler and has a good outside shot, Sullivan said. She expects Zuk to be a “bigger factor this year.”
Junior Mackenzie McGrath has a great three-point shot, Sullivan said. McGrath is also a returning player.
Jess Freitas, Liz Roch, Malykah Lopes, Marlena Siegel, Ariene Ohimor and Megan Crimmins will also contribute to the varsity team.
Sullivan said she has a “really good varsity crew” and a “solid JV” squad this season.
Stoughton competes in the Davenport Division (small schools) of the Hockomock League, which features perennial-contender Oliver Ames, as well as Sharon, Canton and Foxboro. The team will also play Mansfield, King Philip, Attleboro and North Attleboro of the Hockomock’s large schools Kelley-Rex Division.
It’s a slate of nine other teams that Sullivan said is “always strong.”
The Black Knights start their season Friday at Foxboro before returning to Stoughton for their home opener Tuesday against Franklin.