Lineup change sparks Hopewell girls squad

Hopewell Valley girls basketball

By: John E. Powers
   Hopewell Valley Central High School first-year girls basketball coach Jeff Losch figured it was time for a change.
   In a move to spark his team, Losch moved starters Tammy Rodriguez and Eileen Carroll to reserve players and started sophomore Gabi Tetelman and junior Claire Grimwood for last week’s John Molinelli Holiday Tournament consolation game against Lawrence.
   The move worked.
   The Lady Bulldogs stopped a three-game losing streak with a 46-31 win. The Lady Bulldogs, scheduled to play host to Hightstown on Friday night, improved to 2-4.
   "I told the other two girls (Tetelman and Grimwood) that we’ve been turning (the ball) it over, and the worst you could do is continue to do it," Losch said. "I’ve been playing 11,12, 13 girls every game a handful of minutes. I’m trying to figure out who is going to be our top rotation. Nobody was playing awful, and nobody was playing exceptionally. I decided to go with the best athletes. It allowed us to play a tight man. Lawrence didn’t press us. Somerville half-court presses us."
   Sophomore Ali Newman had an outstanding game, scoring 21 points, pulling down 15 rebounds and making seven steals.
   "I asked Ali how she felt she played, and she said ‘OK,’" Losch said. "For a sophomore to have those kind of numbers and say it was a just a ‘OK’ game — that shows just how high her expectations are. Hopefully it’ll be a springboard."
   Tetelman had nine points and 13 rebounds in just over a half game of play. Suzie Noyes had seven points, and Rodriguez had five.
   "Against Somerville (a 40-24 Molinelli loss), we had trouble bringing the ball up court, and we couldn’t get a rhythm," Losch said. "Their coach (Corby Swann) does an excellent job to keep us off balance. But against Lawrence, we did a good job protecting the ball."
   Noyes led Hopewell Valley in the Somerville game with eight points. Losch thought that Katie Kolombatovich played especially well.
   "I thought Kate had her best game of the year," Losch said. "She got to every possible loose ball. She got her confidence up in the Somerville game, and it carried over."
   Losch said that the eight-day break between games has allowed the team to settle into its new approach. He said he would probably use the game starters.
   "I think that watching the game develop, seeing it slow down a bit will help Tammy and Eileen," Losch said. "You get to watch it better."