The Kenmore East Lady Bulldogs Basketball team made big strides last year improving from nine wins in 2014 to 15 wins and an appearance in the Class A2 final in 2015.
Kenmore East’s 2015 campaign ended with a loss to eventual Class A champion Lake Shore by a score of 64-49.
“Last year was a wakeup call,” said junior captain Serena Sordetto. “We realized we are a good team and can make it far in the postseason.”
While the Bulldogs were happy with how far they went last year, they are by no means satisfied. So, fittingly, the theme of the first four weeks of the season has been to finish.
“We talk about finishing every day. Making good decisions and making good plays,” Head Coach Jack Blanch said.
Captain Kendall Mills says her team is a tight-knit group who plays for the girl next to them; that she believes is the Bulldogs’ biggest strength.
“We’re very close and we’re always there for each other. That is the best you can ask for,” Mills said.
The Lady Bulldogs started off with a big test Tuesday night hosting Class AA finalist Orchard Park. Kenmore East played strong and stayed with the Quakers until the final minute of the game, losing 47-42.
The Bulldogs were back in action on Friday night in the Eighth Annual Kenmore East Tip-off Tournament. Ken-East got back to their winning ways as they defeated the Hutch-Tech Engineers 63-27.
Blanch was pleased with what he saw from his team in the first two games of the season saying “Tuesday was a close game. We had a few opportunities but didn’t convert. We talked about cutting down on mistakes. I thought we did that (against Hutch-Tech).”
A young player new to the starting lineup this season is sophomore Carianne McCarthy. McCarthy was the Player of the Game Friday night with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lady Bulldogs play in the Niagara Frontier League (NFL) that includes strong Class AA teams in rival Kenmore West, Niagara Wheatfield and sectional semifinalist Lockport. The NFL also includes Class A1 semifinalist Grand Island.
Returning this year is captain Kendall Mills. Mills is entering her third year on varsity. The starting point guard lead the team last year averaging 12.5 points a game.
“She’s an extension of a coach on the court,” Blanch said. “I don’t worry when she has the ball or has two or three fouls.”
Mills had 17 points in the win over Hutch-Tech, putting her fifth on the All-time scoring list (932) at Kenmore East.
“I definitely try to be a leader the young girls can look up to.” Mills said. “I try to push my teammates and keep them focused.”
The Bulldogs also expect a huge impact from junior Serena Sordetto. Sordetto is a captain on the team who has strong presence in the front court. The junior averaged 11.8 points a game in 2015.
Blanch has high praises for the 5′ 10″ junior stating “(Sordetto) is a tough matchup being that tall and being able to handle the ball. She can shoot the lights out too”.
Lexi Lagattuta looks to have a bigger role in 2016. The junior is a physical player who is not afraid to take some hard fouls.
“(Lagattuta) is a tough kid who plays with a fullback/linebacker mentality,” Blanch said.
The Lady Bulldogs do have a big hole to fill as guard Kiaja O’Neil is now gone due to graduation. Blanch admitted “she’s a big part to replace.”
Kenmore East is also hoping for big play from senior Alyssa Ghosen and junior Sarah Burhans. Both are expected to have big minutes for the Bulldogs this season.
Rounding out the Lady Bulldogs roster are Kiara Smith, Jasmine Williams, Kaitia Weeks and Lyndsay O’Brien.
The Lady Bulldogs open up league play on Dec. 9 as they host NFL newcomers Charter School for Applied Technology at 7pm.
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