Red Devils look to build upon win versus West
By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY – One win.
That one win for the Green Bay East girls’ basketball team was important to achieve at a school where double-digit losses are the norm.
“The victory was big,” East Head Coach Dwight Hancock said. “It was a huge team booster, and it sparked a fire. They’re learning what it takes to get over the hump. We have to keep taking steps forward and now try to achieve the middle of the pack in the (Bay) conference.”
The Red Devils had not won a game since the 2016-17 season when they defeated Menasha and Wausau East.
Hancock, in his third season at the reins of the East program, said he hopes to see progress off the floor, too.
“The most important thing for me is having these girls keep their grades up in the classroom,” he said. “Basketball is an extension and a privilege to play. I want to see them in the weight room getting bigger, faster and stronger. We must get the girls to get more reps in practice with shooting the ball and making it count. It’s a sport to get them through life.”
East loses do-everything forward/center Nia Weathersby who accounted for 12 points per game last season and Mercedes Castro, who graduated early.
“(Weathersby) provided leadership to our team the past few years,” Hancock said. “Whenever something needed to be said, she was the vocal voice who took over.”
The Red Devils return Bailey Tlachac and Nadia Reyes Martinez who saw the floor as freshmen.
Juniors Azalyah Douangmala and Judit Munoz Lopez also return.
“(Tlachac) was one of our starters as a freshman,” Hancock said. “She gained valuable experience. It was her first time playing any type of team ball. She was always willing to learn, watch and do what was expected.”
Offensively, Hancock plans to run a 4-1 or 5-out offense and play a pressing style of defense.
“Losing our big (Weathersby) from last year hurts,” Hancock said. “We will be small, so I want to be pesty and press most of the game. We have to be scrappy and tough. Menasha, Xavier and West De Pere have height, so we have to limit those interior passes and makes around the basket.”
Hancock said the coaching staff also wants to build chemistry and team bonding beyond the hardwood.
“I know the girls have a Snapchat site where they communicate,” he said. “In addition, we have a bowling activity and some community outreach that involves raking leaves and shoveling snow for the elderly.”
The Red Devils roster lists about 18 players in their program overall, with about half being freshmen.
“Jamaya Mariner has a chance to see the floor this winter,” Hancock said. “She played football under coach Levi Nelson. She’s a great asset and pickup for our program. She’s ready to go. It’s been a long time since East has had this many freshmen sign up to play basketball. I’m excited to see these girls grow as individuals and players.”
Sports editor’s note: To read the preview for the Ashwaubenon girls’ basketball team, CLICK HERE.
To read the Bay Port girls’ preview, CLICK HERE.
To read the De Pere girls’ preview, CLICK HERE.
2021-22 Green Bay East girls’ basketball regular-season schedule
11/19 – Appleton West (L, 76-6)
11/27 – @ Fond du Lac – 7:30 p.m.
11/30 – Manitowoc Lincoln
12/3 – Shawano
12/4 – @ Wausau East – 5:30 p.m.
12/7 – @ Menasha
12/10 – @ Seymour
12/13 – @ Oconto
12/20 – @ Algoma – 7:30 p.m.
12/23 – @ Xavier
12/30 – @ Sheboygan South
1/4 – @ Menominee Indian
1/7 – New London
1/11 – @ West De Pere
1/13 – @ Sturgeon Bay
1/18 – @ Shawano
1/21 – Menasha
1/25 – @ Oshkosh North – 7:15
1/27 – Seymour
1/29 – @ Green Bay West – 2 p.m.
2/8 – Xavier
2/10 – @ New London
2/17 – West De Pere
Sports editor’s note: All games begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.