Coach Lauren Galvani has engineered a resurgence and renewed interest in Independence girls’ basketball.
Last season the team won a game against Providence. The Patriots had a long losing streak of 62 games when Galvani took over the team. The program did not have enough players to field a junior varsity squad.
Fortunes have changed this season, and the Patriots can now put together a team of 12 varsity players and have a full JV team to groom for the future. Also, the loss of their best athlete from last season, an all-conference selection who transferred to First Assembly has actually inspired the seniors in particular to improve dramatically.
The senior girls are now taking charge and pushing themselves more to improve their skills and make a significant contribution. The seniors have shown a real commitment, Galvani said. With the seniors fully on-board and the addition of some solid newcomers the future suddenly looks much brighter at Indy.
The starting seniors are Tiffany Reed, athletic, quick and versatile, Ashley Wilson shooting guard, Olivia Pauldin, a strong rebounding presence, junior Brianna McManus, the second guard and sophomore Sharonda Smith at point guard.
The remaining seniors Raven Harden, Monika Thomas and Brooklyn Blake are expected to make important contributions. Freshman Ayanna Anderson who has excellent AAU experience will make an impact and the coach has high expectations for her.
Other team members include junior Kelsey Esquivel, who will make a positive contribution when called upon, and the two remaining freshman, Ahlex DeLoache and Laura Flynn will obtain some playing time at the varsity level.
Galvani, with assistant coaches Quay Barrino and Brandi Campbell, are using more skill drills and are applying practice techniques they learned from their collegiate playing days to provide additional structure.
The girls have teamed up with the Indy boys program in the Panthers fundraiser, working concession stands at home games to raise funds to purchase a Vertimax and shooting machine, which is designed to improve rebounding and shooting skills.The players must make two free throws in a row or they take a few wind sprints, said Coach Galvani.
The Lady Patriots are expected to play with 3 guards and 2 post positions this season, which will mean their speed and quickness will be used to full advantage. It has already showed up in a recent scrimmage at the Cox Mill Girls Jamboree, where the team won two games out of three played.
This team appears to be poised to experience some success on the hardcourt. Indy will play their home opener against A.L. Brown on November 11th.