SCARSDALE, N.Y. – The Scarsdale High School girls basketball team, which opened its season with a matchup against Gorton on Friday night, is young and smaller than a year ago, but is still poised for a successful season.
The two teams met in the opening round of the 2012 Maroon and White Kari Pizzitola Holiday Basketball Tournament.
Head coach Michael Blanco is in his second year as head coach of the Raiders. Blanco leads a relatively young squad that includes five freshmen and two sophomores, one of whom is on the varsity team for the first time.
Scarsdale returns just one starter for the 2012-13 season.
“We’re starting from scratch,” Blanco said.
The Raiders will be a smaller, quicker team this season. The offense will likely be predicated on the fast break, so Blanco zeroed in on one particular aspect of the game.
“The key for us is going to be rebounding,” Blanco said. “If we rebound, we’re going to get out and run. We’re going to try to run and get as many shots at the basket as possible.”
Two of the team captains will help on the boards. Senior forwards Shelby Zucker and Rachel Spiro co-captain the team. Zucker’s twin sister, Nicole, plays guard and is the third co-captain.
The Raiders are not a particularly tall team, though, and Blanco already knows the types of opponents that will give Scarsdale trouble this season.
“Teams with size,” Blanco said. “It’s going to definitely be a problem for us, but we work on rebounding every day. If we continue to get better at boxing out and blocking out and understanding how important that is to our success, I think we could have a pretty good season.”
Despite its size disadvantage, Scarsdale does have a few aces up its sleeve. Shelby Zucker has already committed to play at Emory University and will likely emerge as the main threat on the Raiders’ roster this year.
“She’s one of the top players in our section,” Blanco said. “So that’s obviously our strength.”