The best kept secret in Section II basketball this off-season was at Troy High. Most of us didn't know about it until tonight.
Troy athletic director Paul Reinisch quietly overhauled the women's basketball coaching staff. Paul Bearup, after 13 seasons, decided to concentrate on his day-to-day duties as a physical education teacher. Ryan Meikel was named head coach, with Sarah Fullmer the only assistant. I think I can figure out what happened here. After a 6-15 campaign last season, Reinisch reasoned that the girls were hearing too many voices, which led to the team lacking cohesion and/or direction. The idea here is that with just two coaches instead of three or four, a system both the boys & girls teams have had (and the boys still do), it will make things a little easier for a women's team that still lacks senior leadership. They have just two seniors on this season's 11 player roster.
It helps the new coaching staff that they got what amounted to a gimme right away.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake has been a second division club since the Suburban Council was split into two divisions three years ago. Headed into tonight's league opener, the Lady Spartans hadn't beaten Troy in three tries. Coach Colleen Froschauer has a talented roster, but she, too, also lacks seniors, with just one----Erin Pahl---on her roster, countered with two freshmen and an 8th grader.
Troy took the lead early, and never gave it up. Sophomore forward Jenalyse Alarcon, one of Troy's leading scorers last season, led all scorers with 18 points before fouling out in the 4th quarter. Alaina Holmes added 11, and survived a minor injury scare in the 3rd quarter when she tweaked either her knee or her ankle. Kelly Anderson led Burnt Hills with 11, and Troy rolled to a 60-36 victory.
However, the road doesn't get easier for Troy. While there's one fewer team in the division after Mohonasen departed for the Colonial Council, Troy has three home & home series on the docket this season, as they'll visit Burnt Hills for the rematch on January 29 after mid-term week. The other home & homes are with, as usual, Albany (starting Tuesday) & Schenectady. In the long term, however, it would make more sense, due to geography, to have that 3rd home & home series be with Averill Park or Columbia, both close territorial rivals.
After visiting Albany Tuesday afternoon, the Lady Horses return home next Friday to play Ballston Spa, then get a week off before traveling to Guilderland. The boys, under 2nd year head coach Greg Davis, begin their season Tuesday at home vs. Albany.