By Jim Riggs
The Jamestown Community College women's basketball team suffered five key graduation losses from last season's team that was 18-12 and lost in the regional championship game. They were Kari Barmore, Taylor Lubi, Sierra Finch, Katherine Scharf and Elizabeth Bongiovanni.
The Jamestown Community College women’s basketball team opens its season on Sunday at home against Niagara College from Welland, Ontario. In front, from left, are Skylar Carlson, Katie Lemon, Lindey Alday, Jenny Bojanowksi, Kay York, Brittany White and Diana Depane. In back are Alicia Stebbins, Beth Gribble, Kayla Crosby, Rachel Ottaway, Meaghan Rowland, Ashley Judd, Taylor Bankoski and Hannah Reynolds.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
But that doesn't concern coach Keith Martin.
''Every year you're going to lose players,'' he said. ''We try to keep that balance of five to seven coming back. The difference is this year we're adding sophomore transfers.''
What the Jayhawks are adding are three sophomore transfers and one has freshman eligibility.
''We're going to have 10 new faces,'' Martin said. ''That's the most we've had.''
The returning sophomores are Skylar Carlson, Katie Lemon, Brittany White, Kayla Crosby and Meaghan Rowland and the freshmen are Lindsey Alday, Alicia Stebbins, Beth Gribble, Rachel Ottaway, Ashley Judd, Taylor Bankosi and Hannah Reynolds. But joining the freshmen as new faces on the team are sophomore transfers Kay York, who transferred from Houghton College, Diana Depane, who transferred from Notre Dame College in Ohio, and Jenny Bojanowski, who transferred from Penn State Behrend, where she didn't play basketball, so she's a freshman in eligibility.
York and Depane are special new faces because ''They bring that (college) game experience which is good.''
And two of the transfers will reunite with a returning sophomore.
See JCC WOMEN, Page C-4
''We have three kids from the same high school who came to us in different ways,'' Martin said about Crosby, Bojanowski and York who played basketball while in elementary and middle school at Eisenhower. ''They're back together again, which is great for us. Things happen for a reason.''
York ended up playing high school basketball at Frewsburg Central School.
A change this season among the returning sophomores will involve Carlson.
''We're moving her inside,'' Martin said about the 5-foot-8 Falconer graduate who was a guard last season.
And why the change?
''We saw how many guards we had coming in,'' Martin said. ''She loves posting up and we figured she could do it. I think she can be a real asset for us.''
Carlson completes a ''hat trick'' for Martin of moving a guard to the post as previously it was successfully done with Angela Pucciarelli and Lubi.
''Always a three-point threat,'' Martin said about Lemon. ''Anyone who plays zone against us, she can kill them.''
He added about the Frewsburg graduate, ''I've been very impressed with her intensity on the defensive side.''
About Dunkirk's White, Martin said, ''She started off good and trailed off at the end of the year. She's going to get minutes with toughness.''
According to the coach, Falconer graduate Rowland is ''One of the best athletes we have on the floor. She might be slight, but she can jump out of the gym. She just continues to get better.''
Last season, Crosby got a late start because of mononucleosis.
''It will be nice to have her right from the beginning,'' Martin said. ''She's improved her quickness and strength. She'll do a good job at the the point.''
And Crosby will be joined by a former teammate, York.
''It wasn't the right time for her to come here and now it is,'' Martin said about York. ''We're fortunate to have her come back. We can help each other.''
Depane is a transfer very familiar with the Jayhawks because she practiced with the team during the second semester last season.
''She has to get back into that game speed,'' he said about the Jamestown graduate who hasn't played since high school. ''Another kid we recruited out of high school and it wasn't the right time.''
Among the freshmen is a talented group from Sherman, which lost in the Class D state championship game in March.
''We recruited three off a team that was 30 seconds away from winning a state championship,'' Martin said about Alday, Gribble and Ottaway.
About Alday, Martin said, ''She has to understand her role. She's going to have to stick the shot and she can do that.''
As for Gribble, ''The tougher the competition, the tougher she plays. A hard-nosed kid that can develop into a very good player. One of the best players there was coming out of high school.''
And he said Gribble, ''Gives is a post presence we haven't had. But it doesn't end there; she can shoot the three.''
Stebbins comes from Olean and Martin said, ''The future is bright. If she can reach her potential, she could be the athlete we haven't had in a long time. If she gets confident in the post, she can be a real threat.''
Another freshman with state tournament experience is Judd from Ripley.
''She's a hard-nosed kid that works her tail off,'' Martin said. ''She played on a state tourney team two years ago; another kid that has been in big games.''
Bojanowski was being recruited by Martin out of Eisenhower two or three years ago.
''She's grown up and matured into a wonderful young person,'' he said about Bojanowski, whose maiden name was Schwab. ''She's compared to Ivy Neal, the toughest player I ever coached.''
Reynolds is a member of the JCC women's volleyball team, so she hasn't practiced.
''She won't be ready for a while,'' he said about the Salamanca graduate. ''She's at the point Kari (Barmore, another volleyball player) was as a freshman.''
Barmore didn't get into basketball shape until January of her freshman season.
''Everything is going to be brand new to Hannah,'' Martin said. And when Reynolds is ready, Martin noted, ''She brings a college-sized body into the post.''
Once again, it will take a while for the 10 new faces and the five returnees to get on the same page.
''We may not be the best team in November, but in March we could be,'' Martin said. ''On paper it's a very quality lineup, but they have to do it on the floor.''
He referred to a quote by UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma: "You can have all the ingredients sitting on the table, but if you don't know how to mix them, you are not going to like what you're cooking.''
Martin said, ''They have to figure it out and if they do, we'll like what we're cooking. You have a lot of strong-minded young people who have to mold together.''
And cooking in March is the most important time because that's when the NJCAA Region 3 Division III Tournament will be held and it's at JCC this season.
''We stressed it recruiting-wise,'' Martin said about the regionals. ''These kids are going to play at home for a chance to get to a national championship.''
And maybe playing at home will help the Jayhawks to get over the hump in the championship game. For the past three seasons, JCC played Genesee in the title game and lost all three by scores of 72-40, 67-55 and 64-47.
''Now it's an expectation (to reach the title game) and one of these years we'll win it,'' Martin said.
Genesee returned to the nationals where it had a 2-2 record. Martin noted that the Lady Cougars will be smaller this year in numbers and size and there are new coaches at Niagara County CC and at Mercyhurst North East.
''I think its very balanced and similar to volleyball,'' he said about Region 3 Division III. ''It's anybody's chance to go (to nationals) this year.''
And the quest to get there begins Sunday at 1 p.m. when the Jayhawks play host to Niagara College from Welland, Ontario, at 1 p.m.
The Niagara and JCC men's teams will play at 3 p.m.
JCC 2009-10 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Nov. 1 - Niagara College, 1 p.m.
Nov. 4 - Pitt-Titusvulle, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 7 - CC of Allegheny County-South, 1 p.m.
Nov. 8 - Tompkins-Cortland, 1 p.m.
Nov. 14 - Cuyahoga CC, 1 p.m.
Nov. 19-20 - at Durham College Tournament
Dec. 2 - at Pitt-Titusville, 5 p.m.
Dec. 4 - Promo Specialties Holiday Tournament: Kirtland CC vs. JCC, 6 p.m.; Columbus vs. West moreland County CC 8 p.m
Dec. 5 - Promo Specialties Holiday Tournament: Consolation, noon.; championship, 2 p.m.
Dec. 9 - at Niagara College, 6 p.m.
Dec. 12 - at Quinsigamond CC, noon
Dec. 13 - at Orange CC, noon
Dec. 18 - at Lorain County CC, 4 p.m.
Dec. 19 - at Columbus State CC, 1 p.m.
Jan. 5 - at Broward CC, 2 p.m.
Jan. 6 - at Indian River CC, 4 p.m.
Jan. 8 - at Palm Beach College, noon
Jan. 14 - Erie CC, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 16 - Mercyhurst North East, 1 p.m.
Jan. 21 - at Genesee CC, 6 p.m.
Jan. 23 - Alfred State College, 1 p.m.
Jan. 26 - at Niagara County CC, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 - Monroe CC, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 6 - Genesee CC, 1 p.m.
Feb. 9 - at Alfred State College, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 - Niagara County CC, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 13 - at Erie CC, 1 p.m.
Feb. 16 - at Mercyhurst North East, 5 p.m.
Feb. 19 - at Monroe CC, 5 p.m.