Coley Ricci is always asking herself what she can do to make her team better.
Whether it is a quick move to the basket, the patented pull-up jumper she's worked so hard to perfect, or a steal on the defensive end that leads to transition points, the senior guard for Garnet Valley has always evaluated her role in helping to "get the team to where we need to be."
And they "need to be" on top of the Central League at the end of the season. So far, Ricci is doing her part to make sure that happens.
In the first five games of the season, Garnet Valley is 4-1, winning three Central League games in the process. Ricci has scored in double figures the last four games, with a season-high 27 points against Marple Newtown. She is also helping out her teammates with 10 assists combined in three games as well as having an impact on the defensive end.
"The opportunity comes, and I take [the shot]. But I trust everyone on my team with the ball," Ricci said, acknowledging that what separates this team from past teams is its confidence level.
Ricci has been on varsity since her freshman year, using her speed and hustle to become one of the top players for the Jaguars. Last season, she averaged 16 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals a game.
"I've always wanted to be an impact player," she said.
Since her freshman year, the Jaguars have gotten to the first round of the District 1 playoffs and lost. Last year was especially tough, Ricci said, as the Jags had three seniors in their starting five and ended up losing to Central Bucks West, 80-48.
"It definitely is our goal to make an immediate impact on the league," said Ricci, who scored 24 points in the loss. "[We want] to grow as a team as we go along. That loss to C.B. West, a heartbreaker, was tough for us."
Her favorite move off the dribble is a pull-up jumper. But if the shot is contested, Ricci isn't afraid to throw a quick pass, especially with the way her teammates have been playing this season.
Next up for Ricci and the Jaguars is hosting their annual Christmas tournament, featuring West Chester Henderson, Episcopal Academy, and Archmere (Del.). Last year, Garnet Valley lost in the tournament's championship game, something the Jaguars hope they can change this time around.
"This is the time where you see what you are made of," Ricci said. "We are prepping for the long run in January."
To start off the new year, the Jaguars will play nine Central League games in a row, including a big matchup against Lower Merion. But Ricci is most excited about facing off against the Jaguars' rival, Upper Darby, a team Garnet Valley has traditionally been "back and forth with," she said. The squads were originally slated to meet Dec. 21, but the game was rescheduled to a date yet to be determined.
The Inquirer TOP 10
Last week's rankings in parentheses.
1. Spring-Ford (1) 7-1
2. Notre Dame (3) 7-0
3. Episcopal (2) 7-1
4. North Penn (4) 6-0
5. Prep Charter (5) 4-1
6. Villa Maria (6) 4-2
7. Arch. Carroll (8) 4-1
8. Arch. Wood (7) 2-2
9. Cardinal O'Hara (9) 1-2
10. Mount St. Joseph (NR) 6-1
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Central Bucks West (5-1), Downingtown West (5-2), Methacton (7-1).
- Kate Harman