(Dec. 6, 2013) The Stephen Decatur girls’ basketball program had its
most successful season last year since 2004, when the Lady Seahawks went 20-4 and won a regional title. Decatur finished the 2012-13 season 21-3, falling in the 3A East Regional semifinals, 67-33, to Howard High School.
The team lost three seniors to graduation–starters Monique Wise and Abbey Schorr, a two-time Bayside Conference First Team player who tallied just over 1,000 points in her career at Decatur, and Casey Ortiz.
Coach Amy Fenzel-Mergott, now in her fourth year at the helm, said this will be a rebuilding year.
“There’s a whole new vibe and it will take time for people to step up. We relied so much on Abbey (for scoring),” Fenzel-Mergott said.
The squad is young, Fenzel-Mergott said, with just one senior, captain Erin Florek, leading the Seahawks. Junior Marina Jones is also a captain.
Fenzel-Mergott said Florek has stepped up as a leader. Late last season, Florek tore her ACL and missed the remainder of the year.
“She had surgery almost right after and she looks strong this year. She has a knee brace, but it doesn’t seem to slow her down,” Fenzel-Mergott said. “I’m proud of her for her mental fortitude and how she handled her injury, her attitude and work ethic and coming back and being a great leader.”
Florek said she doesn’t feel pressure being the only senior, “but I definitely feel like it’s a leadership role that I’m ready to handle and ready to take on.”
“I’m going to try to bring everyone together and push everyone to try their best every game, every practice and make sure everyone’s working hard,” said Florek, a four-year player. “Most of us have been playing together for a while and we’ve been working well together, so far.”
Fenzel-Mergott’s roster consists of 11 players. Eight of the Seahawks are veterans.
Freshmen Lexi VanKirk and Rachel Florek, Erin’s sister, are new to the squad. Sophomore Elle Bargar competed for the JV team last year, but was moved up to varsity for the playoffs.
Fenzel-Mergott said she is optimistic for the 2013-14 season.
“The girls are working really hard. They’re very coachable, so I think anything can happen,” the coach said. “We’re looking for the team to be united. We want to be cohesive and get better every day.”
The team is strong at the guard position. Veterans Florek, junior point guard Jillian Petito and sophomore Dayona Godwin are experienced players and they are comfortable on the court together.
“We’re all excited for the season. I’ve just got to keep pumping them up and if they’re doing [well, let them know],” said Godwin, a two-year varsity player. “We would like to win Baysides this year. Last year we were close. It’s going to take a hard effort.”