By John Hartsock
The Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School Lady Marauders will enjoy the best of both worlds tonight and Saturday when the Marguerite Frederick Memorial Lady Marauders Basketball Classic unfolds at the Pleasant Valley gymnasium.
Mirror file photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Bishop Guilfoyle’s Halee Adams is back to 100 percent for her senior season.
Over the past two seasons, BG guards Halee Adams and Kayla Bates have been recognized with the Altoona Mirror's Girls Basketball Player of the Year award. Adams won the honor in 2011, while Bates was cited last season.
Both will play Division I college basketball next year - Adams at Sienna and Bates at Mount St. Mary's.
A year ago, Adams missed most of the season with a knee injury. She returned in time for the Class A state playoffs, but BG missed advancing to the state championship game for the fourth straight season, losing to Fort Cherry of District 7 in the second round of the state playoffs.
BG will start the 2012-13 season this weekend with the services of both Adams, a four-year starter, and Bates, a three-year starter, as well as four-year starting forward Alyssa Ehredt and two-year starting forward Devin Stessney.
Having Adams back 100 percent is a big plus for veteran BG coach Mark Moschella.
"She's fully rehabbed now,'' Moschella said. "I think the key to this year for us is that everybody stays healthy. Hopefully, our entire team will stay healthy this year and we'll have a successful season.''
BG faces Central Mountain tonight at 7:30 after Hollidaysburg and Bishop McCort tip off the tournament at 6. Saturday's consolation game tips at 3 p.m., with the tournament championship game set for 5.
BG topped Hollidaysburg, 52-39 in last season's tournament championship game. The Lady Tigers return three senior starters - Morgan Griffith, Hannah Mercer and Sue Ellis - from last year's team that made it to the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
"Over the last few years, they've been very, very good, and this year, I think they're going to be one of the area's top teams,'' Moschella said of the Lady Tigers, who also added several new transfer players in the offseason.
BG's hopeful matchup with Hollidaysburg in the championship game would be a good early-season measuring stick for both schools.
"It's always good to play good competition,'' said Hollidaysburg coach Deanna Jubeck. "And we don't have to travel a long distance. Bishop Guilfoyle is right down the road from us.''
Bates was named last year's Lady Marauders Classic Most Valuable Player after scoring 12 points against Hollidaysburg in the championship game.
"We've always tried to play the best competition when we play outside our Laurel Highlands Conference,'' Moschella said. "That prepares us for the playoffs.''
The Lady Marauders Classic highlights the opening weekend of the basketball season, but several other interesting tournaments and games are also on the ledger.
Headlining this weekend's boys basketball schedule is Altoona's involvement in the Peters Township Tournament tonight and Saturday, and Hollidaysburg's participation in the Indiana Tournament the same two nights.
Reggie Nevins begins his second tenure as the Central High School boys basketball coach when the Scarlet Dragons host the Central MTS Tipoff Tournament with guest teams Williamsburg, Juniata Valley and Penns Valley tonight and Saturday. Nevins - the area's all-time winningest high school boys basketball coach with 351 victories entering this season - directed the Central program for 20 years from 1984 through 2004.
"We don't have a whole lot of size, and we're starting all underclassmen,'' Nevins said. "I think it's going to be an interesting season. This group is a hard-working group of guys who I also coached when they were in junior high school. They play the way I like to see a team play. They'll be fun to coach, and they should be very competitive.''
The Altoona Lady Lions kick off their 2012-13 season tonight and Saturday in the North Allegheny Tournament in Wexford, while the Portage girls basketball squad hosts the annual Art Burkett Memorial Tournament tonight and Saturday with Penn Cambria among the field of entries.
In a season-opening girls basketball game Saturday night, Bellwood-Antis hosts arch-rival Tyrone.