(March 15, 2019) The Stephen Decatur girls’ basketball team battled a tough Chesapeake squad during the second round of the 3A East Region last Tuesday in Pasadena, but came up a bit short of advancing in the tournament.
“I think they got shell-shocked a bit,” Decatur Coach Scott Kurtz said. “It was 25-10 after the first, then we regrouped and played better in the second quarter.”
Decatur outscored Chesapeake, 14-13, in the second quarter, but the visiting Seahawks still had a large deficit to make up.
Unfortunately, Kurtz said the Lady Cougars came out on fire in the third quarter and began to put the game out of reach. Chesapeake won, 69-42.
“Our defense just couldn’t hold them,” he said. “We’re just not on the caliber of that team yet.”
Decatur sophomore Jessica Janney led the team with 12 points. Freshman Nadia Bullock and junior Sarah Engle both scored 10. Eight of Bullock’s points came in the second quarter.
The Seahawks finished the season with a 13-10 record.
“It took us a while to figure out our identity,” Kurtz said.
Kurtz joined the basketball program last season and this year took over as head coach of the varsity team. It took some time for both Kurtz and the players to get acclimated to everything and find a balance, he said, with new plays and a new system in place.
“It took awhile to find the right dynamic,” he said.
By the second half of the season, Kurtz said Decatur was a different team.
“I would say we were one of the more improved teams in the [Bayside] Conference in the second half of the season,” he said.
The squad will only graduate two players – captains Sofia Gordy and Grace Beres.
“We’ll bring a lot of offensive power back. We’ll have a solid 10 back,” Kurtz said. “We’ve got to get them working in the offseason. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off [in March] in November.”
Janney led the team this season, with 273 points and 205 rebounds.
Bullock, who injured her foot over the summer playing basketball, joined the team about five games into the season. She finished second in scoring, with 200 points, and third in rebounding (101).
Engle was third in points, with 134. Beres was second in rebounding, with 125, and fourth in points (107).
Bullock earned Bayside South Conference Honorable Mention accolades. Beres was named a senior all star.
Kurtz presented team awards to Janney (Offensive MVP), Beres (Defensive MVP), Engle (Coaches Award), Gordy (Sportsmanship) and junior Abby Yesko (Unsung Hero).
Kurtz said he enjoyed his first season as head coach and is already looking forward to next year.
“I can’t wait for next season,” he said. “The way the girls responded and their work ethic made it rewarding. The internal drive in them was infectious. They all want to do better.”