Ocean City Today
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Coates expecting another successful season

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Dec 07, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli “It truly just feels like we’re picking up from last March and that’s exciting,” said Stephen Decatur girls’ basketball Coach Kate Coates. “I think it will be another successful season for us.”

(Dec. 8, 2017) With seven veterans on the Stephen Decatur girls’ basketball team this season, the Lady Seahawks look like they haven’t lost a step on the court.

“We’re just picking right up from where we left off last season. We lost Lexie [VanKirk], we lost Savannah [Schultz], we lost Madison [Jones], but the five newcomers that we gained can fill those positions,” Decatur Coach Kate Coates said. “It truly just feels like we’re picking up from last March and that’s exciting. I think it will be another successful season for us.”

Decatur finished the 2016-17 season with a 22-3 record. The team went 19-0 in Bayside Conference play. The Seahawks season came to an end with a 58-22 loss to Atholton in the 3A East Regional tournament Section II finals.

Coates has 12 players on her roster this year, led by senior captains Amya Mumford and Chloe Sass.

“Chloe and Amya will be great captains and leaders for our team,” Coates said. “They have four years of varsity experience and … these two girls have never not played in a Bayside Conference championship game (won twice) or regional championship, which is pretty awesome.”

Mumford earned Bayside South Conference First Team honors for her performance last season.

“I think I’ll be a big part of the team. Being a leader mainly is the key for me this year,” Mumford said.

Some ways she hopes to be a leader is by “helping the [new players], giving them keys and tips on something they need help with or anything on the court that I see.”

“We still have things to work on, but I think as we continue to practice and progress we’ll be pretty good,” she added.

Both Mumford and Sass have been members of the team since they were freshmen.

“We’re a team of 12 and we’ve never had a team that big before, and with five newcomers, it’s really beneficial Amya and I having four years experience because we do have a lot of knowledge,” Sass said. “We’ve had different coaching experiences and we get to share our knowledge of all of our previous coaching tips.”

Sass said all of the girls go hard during practice and push each other.

“We’re really improving so that’s nice to see. Everything is coming together,” Sass said. “All the girls, we’re family. I love playing with them. We should be a pretty big Bayside threat this year.”

Coates said juniors Grace Beres and Sofia Gordy have stepped up as leaders as well at the start of the season along with sophomore Sarah Engle.

“Sarah Engle got a ton of experience last year so we’ll look for her to set a good example for our guards,” Coates said. “The expectation is that everyone is a leader. We have 12 leaders out there on and off the court.”

Senior Savannah Walton came to Decatur from Pennsylvania and Coates said she will be an asset to the team. She has also seen good things from freshman Jessica Janney.

Coates said all of the new girls are picking up the plays quickly.

One thing Coates – the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Bayside South Coach of the Year – has noticed early in the season is the Seahawks’ aggressive play.

“[It] is something that we usually are lacking because we’re a little bit too nice or we’re a little too timid, but these girls going against each other in practice have actually been very physical with one another,” she said. “So far, the team chemistry has seemed great. They get along like a group of sisters. I think that’s going to help us on the court as well.”

Coates, now in her third season as head coach, said she has several players who can run the point guard position.

“All of our guards are capable of handling the ball, so we just kind of had the motto, ‘you get the outlet you get it to one of our guards’ because we have confidence whoever is bringing it up can do a fine job,” she said.

Coates said team defense will be the key to success this season.

“I want us to continue to improve our defense with every single game and every single practice so that by the time playoffs come around and we’re faced with challenges with other 3A schools that are super competitive, I want us to be able to play them as tough as they’ve been played all year,” she said. “In the playoffs, a lot of times people think, ‘Oh, we’re coming to the Eastern Shore, that will be easy for us’ and so defense is definitely what I want us to take pride in. That’s really what’s going to win us games because when we play tenacious defense we can easily generate offense from that.”

Decatur won its season opener, 60-49, over the North Caroline Bulldogs on Tuesday in Ridgely.

Walton led the Seahawks with 19 points. Mumford added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Beres chipped in eight points. Janney had five points and seven rebounds.

Decatur outscored North Caroline 13-7 in the first quarter. At halftime, the Berlin squad led 28-14. After three quarters, the Seahawks were ahead 48-30.

“The girls came out strong. They played very well in the first half, but that faded away in the second half. We made too many turnovers that allows the other team to get back in the game,” Coates said. “It was our first game so we saw some good things and then obviously lots that we still want to improve on.”

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