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Girls have ‘big target’ on backs

(Dec. 5, 2014) Stephen Decatur girls’ basketball Coach Amy Fenzel-Mergott said at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season that it exceeded her expectations, and with nearly all of the Lady Seahawks returning this year, the squad is looking like a force to be reckoned with.

“We have a big target on our backs because we’ve basically made noise these last two years [and by] having good records,” said junior guard Dayona Godwin, a member of the varsity team since her freshman year.

She was named Bayside South Player of the Year and earned All-Conference First Team honors last season.

Godwin led the Seahawks in scoring last year with 589 points. In her two seasons playing for Decatur, she logged 891 points.

“I think we’ll be even better this year,” Godwin said. “We’re not a secret anymore and everyone’s looking for us to do something this year.”

Also back to compete from last season when the Seahawks went 21-4 – they lost in the MPSSAA 3A South Regional tournament finals 67-49 to Westlake – is senior captain, point guard Jillian Petito. Petito made headlines recently for being named the state winner in the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award. Students are judged on their academic achievements, community service, leadership and athletic accomplishments.

“I definitely think this year’s going to be a huge year for us since it’s basically the same team as last year, so we can definitely build a lot faster,” Petito said, “We’re basically just picking up where we left off. It’s really exciting because we already have our team chemistry all put together and we know each other.”

Senior forward/center Marina Jones (2013-14 Bayside Second Team) will share captain duties with Petito.

Seven of the nine players on Fenzel-Mergott’s roster are veterans.

“[We have] six returners with a lot of experience [and] five seniors who are an extremely motivated group of players and they want to win,” Fenzel-Mergott said. “We only have nine players. Everybody’s going to have an essential role on the team. In order for us to be successful, everybody’s going to have to do their part.”

The team’s strengths, she said, are players’ experience, versatility and size. “Rise to the occasion” is the Seahawks’ motto this year.

“The girls have been working hard [and they’re] committed to doing their best this season,” said the fifth-year coach. “Last season we were second in the Bayside and second in the region. We hope to improve on that.”

The Stephen Decatur girls’ basketball team is experienced as nearly all of the players competed last season.

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