Lockport’s girls basketball team finished 5-22 last season and post player Nora Polaski said she was “a little shaky” about what to expect for the 2012-13 campaign since the Porters lost six seniors to graduation.
The senior-to-be is feeling a little better about things now.
The Porters are using their allotted June time to get to know each other in practice and in games and they recently participated in the 32-team Morris Shootout.
Despite three pool-play losses in Morris, Polaski said she’s encouraged by what she has seen. Aside from some players stepping up from last year’s varsity and sophomore teams, the Porters are welcoming two new faces to the program.
Juniors Naomi Mayes and Anna Novak joined the Porters this summer. Mayes is a 5-foot-5 point guard who played at Joliet Catholic last season. She scored 18 points in a 49-28 Class 2A regional win over Chicago Christian.
The 6-foot Novak was a steady varsity player for Providence last season. She finished as the Celtics’ second-leading scorer in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
“So far in the summer, we’ve performed well and have meshed together,” Polaski said. “We know how to work the ball around. All of us really love the sport and we really want to play. I think we’ll have a good year.”
Krista Peterson, who is in her 10th season as the Porters’ coach, said the limited contact time coaches have with players in June has become important this year because of the new faces.
“We have to put in as much time as we can,” Peterson said. “We hope to get as much time with the players as we can during our contact days and we hope that motivates the players to put in as many hours as they can individually to improve their skills. We want to see where we are at and what we need to work on.’’
Other Porters players with varsity experience include seniors Paige Kooi and Shannon Pedone, juniors Jessica Sullivan and Morgan Van Kuiken and sophomore Allison Howard.
“Our overall athleticism is a strength and we have some depth that will help us out tremendously,” Peterson said. “We have to make sure we’re working on the little things.”
Polaski, who averaged 6.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists last year, was brought up to varsity as a sophomore two years ago. The Porters had a 16-11 campaign that season.
Last year didn’t go nearly as well.
“It was a hard year,” Polaski said. “We never gave up in any of our games. But with teams like (state and national powers) Homewood-Flossmoor and Bolingbrook, there were some games we didn’t perform very well in. But a lot of games we came very close. We had some games when we had the lead and in the end we ended up losing.”
With the new players aboard, Polaski and the rest of the Porters are hoping for a turnaround.