Lady Hornets Look to Build on Last Year's Strong Second Half

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 11/30/2012 - 01:43


Last year, after a difficult start to the season, the Saline girls’ varsity basketball team got a taste of winning. Second-year coach Jeff Waltz said the Lady Hornets are ready to pick up where they left off.

“I think we started with a 2-and-8 record last year and then finished by going 8-and-4, winning two playoff games and being three points down going into the fourth quarter against Bedford in the district final,” Waltz said. “We didn’t win every game, but we made a run at the end. It was a lot of fun and these girls saw that. They want to emulate that.”

The Lady Hornets will begin the season Friday night at home to Lutheran North Mustangs with 15 girls on the roster, including six seniors.

Leading the way are Caitlin Ellis, who earned all-league honorable mention last season as a junior, Emily Reyst, a guard who was junior captain last year, and athletic guard Melissa Needham.

Waltz is counting on Reyst, who’ll start at point guard, to be a leader.

“She’s going to have even more of a leadership role. We all know she’s a bulldog and tough as nails,” Waltz said. “What makes her so good is that nobody has higher expectations for her than she does.”

The Lady Hornets are going to have to try to replace the offense that graduated with Britten Clark last year. Waltz isn’t counting on any single player to step into that role. But he expects that some combination of Ellis, Needham and sophomore Amanda Zylstra will fill the void.

“Caitlin Ellis should be able to build on what she did last year. Melissa Needham is very athletic and fearless. And Amanda Zylstra has a great outside shot,” Waltz said. “If they take on the extra load, we should be fine.”

The Hornets don't have the tallest team in the league, so the team will have work to do under the hoop. Ellis will help. Senior Tori MacNeil played in that role as a junior. If healthy, senior Randi Bennett will see lots of work. Sophomore Jessica Barnes is also pushing for work in the paint, as is 6-foot Aussie Sarah Noonan.

“We don’t have quite the rebounding edge we had last year, so we might run with three guards to get some speed out there,” Waltz said.

Besides Reyst and Needham, one guard who’ll help the cause is junior Samantha Coon, who has transferred from Milan. Coon, who will be eligible for play in January, was a starter on Milan’s varsity team as a freshman.

Waltz said the Hornets will be moved around and pressed to play in new positions as the coaching staff finds the right mix.

“I think all the pieces are there. We have lots of leadership. We have juniors ready to take the next step. And we have sophomores to provide some energy,” Waltz said. “The coaching staff has to blend the young talent we have with the senior leadership, and I think we’ll be pretty successful. I’m excited about the season.”

Senior Melanie Moeller, juniors Sam Blovitz and Amelia Wittig, and sophomores Samantha Bruley and Taylor Mulder round out the roster.

2012-13 Saline Hornets Roster


10 Emily Reyst 12
15 Alana Hollis 11
20 Amanda Zylstra 10
22 Samantha  Coon 11
24 Taylor Mulder 10
25 Melissa Needham 12
30 Caitlin Ellis 12
33 Samantha  Bruley 10
35 Randi Bennett 12
40 Amelia Wittig 11
41 Jessica Barnes 10
44 Tori MacNeil 12
45 Melanie Moeller 12
50 Sam  Blovits 11
55 Sarah Noonan 11

Head coach Jeff Waltz

Assistant coach Brian Puffer



11.30.12  7:00pm Lutheran High North
12.04.12  7:00pm @ Canton High School
12.06.12  7:00pm @ Adrian High School
12.11.12  7:00pm Milan High School
12.14.12  7:00pm @ St Mary Catholic Central H S
12.18.12  7:00pm Bedford Public Schools
12.21.12  7:00pm @ Ypsilanti High School
01.04.13  tba Multiple Opponents Dexter @ EMU
01.12.13  5:30pm Ann Arbor Huron High School
01.15.13  7:00pm @ Ann Arbor Pioneer
01.18.13  7:00pm @ Skyline High School
01.22.13  7:00pm @ Manchester High School
01.25.13  7:00pm @ Monroe High School
01.29.13  7:00pm @ Bedford Public Schools
02.01.13  7:00pm Ann Arbor Pioneer
02.05.13  7:00pm Lincoln High School
02.08.13  5:30pm Skyline High School
02.15.13  5:30pm @ Ann Arbor Huron High School
02.19.13  7:00pm Monroe High School


Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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