Niagara Gazette — As the smallest school in the Niagara Frontier League, Lewiston-Porter faces an uphill battle in almost every sport.
This year, the L-P girls basketball team faces an even tougher climb, returning almost no varsity experience while preparing for this year’s NFL, which could be one of the toughest leagues in Western New York.
The Lancers return two players that saw very limited minutes on last year’s varsity team in Hannah Olds and Emily Muller, surrounding them with seven members of last year’s junior varsity team. Head coach Tom Penale said it’s going to take some time for his players to adjust to the higher level.
“It’s basically a brand new team,” he said. “The core is made up of last year’s JV team. Last year, (the JV team) started slow but won five of its last seven. It took them a little while to to figure out how to play together, and I’m anticipating the same type of thing.
“Varsity is a little bigger jump, and it’s going to take some time. But I see a similar pattern, and we hope that as the season goes along we’ll be able to play up to the level we need to win some games.”
Tayler Anderson and Chelsea Raber led the Lancers last season but graduated in the spring. Penale said he’s still looking for this season’s difference makers.
Muller has been L-P’s top scorer early on, averaging 12.5 points per game in losses to Newfane and Kenmore East. Olds is more of a do-it-all hustle player than a scorer, and Penale said the two — both senior captains — will see plenty of playing time on a roster of only nine players.
“I anticipate them playing a full game every night as long as they’re not in foul trouble,” Penale said.
Sophomore Amber Custodi and juniors Victoria Waugaman join Olds and Muller in the starting lineup. The last spot has been shared between juniors Jaspreet Kaur and Alicia Hughes.
Making up the bench are sophomore Bailey Stayner, junior Taylor Aversa and senior Julia Whitney.
The Lancers will look for their first win Friday when they play at Niagara-Wheatfield.
Follow Niagara-Gazette sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.