Warrior girls are showing progress under new coach

BY MIKE WHITE Staff Writer

Staff Writer

PLUMSTED – As a first-year coach of a program that has struggled for success in the past couple of years, Matt Brogan wanted to set realistic goals for his players.

Be competitive, practice and play hard, and improve with each passing game are the sentiments he is passing along to members of the New Egypt High School girls basketball team.

“This program has struggled for a while and I just want to get the girls to buy into the program and work hard,” Brogan said. “If they do that, sooner or later the victories are going to come. So far this season, I’m real pleased with what I have seen. The girls are having fun and playing hard.”

The Lady Warriors are off to a respectable 5-6 overall mark. New Egypt is 3-1 in the Freedom Division. New Egypt has registered victories over St. Mary’s the Hall, Burlington City, Medford Tech, Maple Shade and Robbinsville.

“We’re playing well,” Brogan said. “It’s been very exciting for the girls so far. We still have a long way to go, but the girls are beginning to notice the improvement. We’re now going into games against team we normally felt we had no chance and the girls are optimistic. We feel that we can be competitive with a lot of teams out there.”

In a recent loss to Allentown High School, senior forward Kelly Cameron paced the Lady Warriors with 11 points. Senior guard Cindy Murray chipped in with 10 points, while junior Emily Straniero added five.

“Allentown was a very good team,” Brogan said. “Still, we did some nice things at both ends of the floor in that game. We need to stay patient and keep working hard. Squaring off against a team like that is only going to help us. They are a quality opponent.”

The win over Maple Shade earlier in the season was the first in four years for New Egypt, Brogan said.

It’s games like that which have inspired his squad to continue to develop and maintain a positive attitude.

“That was a very good win for us,” Brogan said. “It showed the girls that all the hard work is paying off. That was a team that we struggled to beat for a lot of years. We need to get a couple of more wins like that one.”

The team is led in scoring by sophomore Stephanie Partyka, who is averaging 12 points per game. At 5 feet 8, Partyka can play effectively in the post and has a soft shooting touch from the perimeter.

“She is very tough when she gets the ball down low,” Brogan said. “She has done a good job of finishing around the basket. She can also shoot the jumper. She understands what her role is on this team and is making a lot of contributions.”

Straniero is the lead guard and makes the offense go. Her ball handling and passing skills are essential if the Lady Warriors are going to score.

“She makes us go,” Brogan said. “We need to get the ball in her hands and then she can make things happen. She has done an outstanding job so far.”

Murray provides the Lady Warriors with a scoring spark off the bench. As a sixth man, Murray can score quickly, giving the offense a much needed lift at times.

“She has the ability to put points up quickly for us,” Brogan said. “She is a solid perimeter shooter.”

Brogan cited the improvement in junior forward Kristie Martino as one of the keys to New Egypt’s solid start.

“She has really come on in the last five games,” Brogan said. “I see a big improvement in her overall game. She is scoring inside and draining shots from the perimeter. I can see her confidence growing with each game.”