By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
TIOGA CENTER — Tioga narrowly missed the postseason last year. If they hope to rebound and qualify for the 2019-20 Section IV, Class C playoffs, longtime coach Joe Robinson believes the key will be getting on the boards.
(Tioga opens the 2019-20 season tonight at home against O-M.)
“Depending on who we have on the floor, we’re kind of quick.
“And, we have some good shooters with Eve (Wood) and Liv (Ayres), but we’re going to need to rebound, and get the ball up the court for some easy baskets before the opposing defense can get set up,” said Robinson.
“We’re not real big. I think 5-10 is our biggest, otherwise we’re guard-size — 5-6 or 5-7,” noted Robinson. “We need to get on the boards, it has to be a team effort on the boards.”
Juniors Eve Wood and Olivia Ayres, and senior Chloe Bellis will start at guards, and senior Giovanna Rossi and junior Ari Manwaring will get the starting nod at forward.
Sophomore Julia Bellis will likely be the first player off the bench at guard or forward, while senior Bri Rossi will see time at guard. Senior Hannah Fox will also vie for time at guard, and senior Addy Whitmore will vie for time at forward.
Robinson said the Lady Tigers will lean on Wood and Ayres to carry the scoring load.
“I think I have a little more confidence in their ability to score than I had last year.
“It was Liv’s first year up, so I didn’t know what to expect, but as the year went on last year, she got better and better with shot selection, and stuff like that,” said Robinson.
“They are my best two shooters,” he added. “They are going to have to score for us to compete.”
Robinson will also look to use his team’s athleticism to create scoring opportunities.
“We’ll try to put some pressure on some teams,” he said. “There are some teams, like the Waverlys of the world, that can handle the ball, and you just can’t pressure them, but some of the other teams we’ll try to pressure to create easy baskets.
“We tend to turn the ball over a little bit, so we need to create come easy baskets by playing good defense and rebounding to get the ball out and run it,” he added.
AROUND THE IAC SOUTH SMALL SCHOOL: “I think Newfield might be head-and-shoulders above everybody in our division,” said Robinson. “They are very good. They have everybody back from a team that’s been to the (IAC Small School) championship game the last couple years.
“After that, I think O-M is a little down from where they’ve been the last couple years, but I still expect them to be very competitive.
“Candor is full of athletes, and S-VE should be competitive,” added Robinson.
IN PHOTO: Tioga’s Eve Wood.
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