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Knights' juniors lead the charge

December 15, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

No seniors? No problem.

The members of the Middletown girls basketball team do not look at the noticeable lack of 12th-graders as a setback. In fact, the Knights say their junior-laden lineup could work to their advantage.

"Having no seniors doesn't really hurt us at all," said Kristin Waeber following Middletown's 80-15 victory over South Hagerstown on Tuesday night, in which she had a game-high 30 points. "The juniors on this team don't play like juniors, we're all very mature. Some teams may overlook us because we're all juniors, and that's fine with us.

"We've all been playing together since the sixth grade. From the first day in practice, everything clicked."

"Most people, when they come into a season with only juniors and sophomores, they think it's a rebuilding year," said Knights coach Billy Miskell. "We don't really think rebuild, we think reload."

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Middletown (3-0) lost four starters from last year's team, which went 20-5 and reached the Class 2A West final. Waeber, a forward, is the only starter back - though she's not your average starter. Waeber has been a dominant player since her first day in a Knights uniform, making The Herald-Mail All-Area First Team in each of her first two seasons.

"Kristin has a tremendous desire to excel at whatever she does," Miskell said. "She flies a plane, she's an honor-roll student, she has tremendous discipline and desire. All these kids have that desire."

Jill Holian (14 points against South), Amanda Kinna (10 points) and Whitney Boyer (nine points) all were bumped up to the varsity as sophomores last year and are being asked to provide support for Waeber.

"I brought up that crew last year and plugged them in with Kristin," Miskell said. "They've really excelled and become a good unit."

Holian in particular has become a valuable part of the Knights' puzzle with her all-around play. A scrappy guard, Holian can play tenacious defense, find open teammates with the pass and is capable of making the outside shot.

"Jill is one of the most versatile players," Waeber said. "She's the type of player who can do it all, and that's what we look for her to do. She's a wonderful player to play with."

Ashley Frank, a reserve forward, had 10 points Tuesday, while Eva Amerise - one of two sophomores on the Knights' varsity, along with Elle Vandegrift - added five.

"We try to bring up one or two (sophomores) every year," Miskell said.

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