Clarence girls hoops turns around season with O.P. Tourney title
Up against a talented tournament field, not many people would have figured Clarence had much of a chance of winning the championship.
But that's when things turned around. The Red Devils finally got into the win column with by beating East Aurora on Dec. 27 and the next night, Clarence stunned previously undefeated Hamburg to win the tournament title.
"Winning the Orchard Park Tournament was big for us," Clarence coach Erin Booker said. "To go into the tournament at 0-4 and then beat a 5-0 team, that was a big confidence booster."
And they haven't looked back. The Red Devils got back to .500 with a four-game winning streak that also included wins over Sweet Home and West Seneca West.
"We play really hard as a team and we're really coming together," junior tri-captain Blair Budzinski, the lone returning starter from last year's team. "We're on a winning streak, so I hope we keep it up."
Defense has been key to the streak. After allowing 52.5 points per game in the 0-4 start, Clarence has allowed just 32.3 points per game in the winning streak.
And on both ends of the floor, Clarence has gotten contributions from up and down the roster.
"We're playing really good defense, we've really stepped it up," sophomore forward Gabbi Pacatte said. "I feel like we're just hustling a lot more and everyone has really stepped up."
Entering the season, the Red Devils had to find a way to replace all-star guard Torri Nappo, who scored 16.7 points per game last year as a senior, and they've done so by committee.
Pacatte leads a balanced Clarence attack in scoring as she averages 9.4 points per game, while sophomore Lauren Moore has scored 7.6 ppg in five games, sophomore Sydney Cerza has averaged 7 points per contest and junior Blair Budzinski has added 5.6 points per contest.
'Really there's no one person they can key on, everybody contributes," Booker said. "The girls all really work well together."