By TONY EIERDAM
SANTO – In the 2011-12 season, the Santo Ladycats fell in the area round to Windthorst, and vowed to be back in the 2012-13 campaign.
The Ladycats, coach by Tony Raffaele, were extremely young and used the loss as experienced gained while also using it for motivation for this season.
Not only did the Ladycats extract revenge by beating Windthorst in the playoffs, but Santo also went an extra round in the playoffs this season and will return plenty of talent for the 2013-14 season, a season that could be special for the Santo ladies.
In fact, it was a great year for all of Santo’s girls’ basketball teams in 2012-13.
All teams either won a district championship or were co-champions.
The seventh grade went 9-4 and were co-district champs; the eighth grade ladies went 12-2 and are undefeated district champs for the second year in a row; the junior varsity finished 19-2 and were undefeated district champs; and varsity went 28-5 and were co-district champions.
“Not too many programs can do that year after year,” Raffelle said.”These kids, and parents, work hard for that every year.
“Work ethic, work ethic, work ethic – that’s still the only way to get ahead.
“I am a pretty intense person and do not apologized for that.
“The kids always say they like it when I get that glassy-eyed look. They tell me it makes them play harder. I know I am not the smartest, but passion and heart can overcome a lot of short comings for anyone who wants it bad enough.”
The varsity Ladycats will return District 11-A Sixth Man of the Year award winner Courtney Flanagan, as well as all-district, first team guards Breeana Raffaele (Tony’s daughter) and Payton Billue.
Second-team choice Taylor Nemeth also will return. All four ladies will be seniors next year, adding to the experience and leadership this team will posses next season.
Tony Raffaele said it will be hard to lose his seniors, particularly District 11-A Most Valuable Player Sarah Van Remmen. He will also lose District 11-A Defensive Player of the Year Alyssa McKennon, and Kristy Trammell, who earned an honorable mention.
“Sarah Van Remmen, Alyssa McKennon and Kristy Trammell will be missed,” Tony Raffaele said. “Their leadership will be sorely missed, and these three are great kids.
“The common thing about these three is that they have great parents, and they were always in it for the team and not just for themselves.”
Tony Raffaele expects his team to work hard in the offseason, knowing what next year can bring to the talented and experienced group.
For the rest of the team, it will be select basketball in the Metroplex and summer shootouts around the area,” he said. “Several will also developing more skills through individual training from former Santo basketball players, their parents and private trainers.
“We must stay ahead of the competition.”
By TONY EIERDAM
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