No stars, just wins at Williamstown
In a team sport driven largely by the individual accomplishments of its star players, the girls' basketball team at Williamstown certainly seems to cut across the grain.
You will not find any superstars in Karen Dilmore's program. You will find a bevy of talented players, all hungry for the same goal - winning championships.
And if things go according to plan this season, the Braves will own a third consecutive Tri-County Conference Royal Division crown and a high seed in the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs.
"All the hard work, we're hoping it pays off," said Dilmore, who is entering her 10th season. "Those seniors, they know it. They want to do very well."
The seniors - Christen Glutz, Ciera Moore and Denay Morrison - probably are the closest thing to stars this team has. Glutz, a 5-foot-9 guard, and Morrison, a 5-9 forward, were first-team all-conference picks last season. Moore, a 5-11 forward, earned honorable-mention honors for her work in the paint.
None of those Braves averaged in double figures. Morrison led the way at 8.2 points per game; Glutz averaged 7.7 points; and Moore scored 5.4 per contest.
"I've always been used to a more balanced atmosphere," Morrison said. "We just play off one another."
A stingy defense helps, too. Williamstown is athletic enough to play man-to-man in most situations, and big enough to create matchup problems inside for players who are quick off the dribble.
"We do have a lot of post players, and I think that's going to help us tremendously when the season starts," Morrison said.
Glutz's versatility is key to the Braves' game plan. Most 5-9 girls in the Tri-Co play forward. One, Wildwood star Latifah McNeal, mans the five-spot. Glutz plays 2-guard and also sticks to an opponent's best offensive player.
"I've always loved defense," Glutz said. "And that's what makes you a good defender."
Morrison is another strong defender, and Moore's frame makes her an ideal shot blocker.
Equally important to Williamstown's success will be junior point guard Devan Solari. Again, while Solari's numbers (5.1 ppg., 2.4 assists) are anything but eye-popping, her on-court demeanor is vital.
"It's going to be hard to take her off the floor," Dilmore said. "It's like having another coach out there. She's really into the team concept, really into the game of basketball."
Williamstown won't have it easy, however. Rival Clearview is deep. The Pioneers feature three all-conference returnees in Noelle Hogan, Allison Toczylowski and Melanie Mahan. The two squads match up Jan. 5 in what should be an indicator of which way the Royal crown is heading.
"It's going to be tough, like it's been every year," Glutz said of winning the title again. "But I'm very confident we'll win for the third straight time. We have a lot of good players, and we all work well together."