Skyline girls look to replace trio of star graduates

December 3, 2013

By Neil Pierson

Greg Bruns has developed a culture of high expectations for his Skyline High School girls basketball program, and that could spell the difference for the Spartans as they try to minimize the loss of three star graduates.

Last season’s top three scorers — Haley Smith, Lacey Nicholson and Rachel Shim — are now playing college basketball. It’ll be a tough task to create new leaders, but the program has done it before, said Bruns, the Spartans’ sixth-year head coach.

By Neil Pierson Skyline High School seniors (from left) Bryn deVita, Alex Daugherty and Shelby Kassuba form the core of what the Spartans hope will be another state-tournament qualifying team.

By Neil Pierson
Skyline High School seniors (from left) Bryn deVita, Alex Daugherty and Shelby Kassuba form the core of what the Spartans hope will be another state-tournament qualifying team.

“It’s going to be incredibly difficult to replace them, but somehow, some way, somebody steps up and finds a way to fill the void,” Bruns said.

Skyline will look to pile up victories with a new senior trio. Forward Bryn deVita, wing Shelby Kassuba and guard Alex Daugherty form the team’s veteran core.

Size may be the Spartans’ biggest asset. Freshmen Promise Taylor (6-foot-2) and Kailey Kassuba (5-10) figure to see playing time immediately, Bruns said. Shelby Kassuba (5-10), deVita (6-1) and sophomore Taylor McKerlich (5-10) all present match-up problems for opponents.

Skyline likes to use full-court defensive pressure, but may have to adjust because of new rule changes that limit contact.

“I know that there will definitely be some fouls in there, but we’ll be able to work on it,” Shelby Kassuba said. “Coach is very good with working with us on defense, so I think we’ll be fine.”

The Spartans will try to reach the Class 4A state tournament for the third time in four seasons.

“They’ve tasted some level of success, and so hopefully that can kind of be part of their makeup going forward, and something to really be hungry for,” Bruns said.

 

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