Rhinebeck girls varsity head coach Marc Burg has his work cut out for him. His Lady Hawks basketball team is going through some seismic changes coming into 2013-14, and it may take some elbow grease to get things humming as Rhinebeck suits up to compete in Section 9, Class D, a conference dominated by John A. Coleman, which went 12-0 in divisional play last season.
Of all the local teams, it’s likely the Lady Hawks who have taken the biggest personnel hit moving into their new season. Samantha Cassata, their No. 1 scoring threat and offensive lynchpin last year, and forward-center Meredith Mimoso have both graduated. Mimoso provided a little paint-presence for the Hawks, and without the Cassata-Mimoso connection, it is unclear how the Lady Hawks will reorient themselves.
The good news is that the squad will be returning three starters in Rachel Tigges, Rebecca Gauspohl, and Sydney Spencer.
Natalie Hutchins, Lizzy Kroll, and Morgan Rakow round out the slate of returning players. Burg is going deep to round out the team, pulling up Camil Mikiej, Alex Dunn, and Jacque Miller from the junior varsity side, as well as mod-squad players Dani Amidon and Mikaela Holt.
Burg told the Observer the team will likely “have to form their own team identity and chemistry,” a process that he says will take time.
“We likely won’t be playing our best basketball till the end of the second half of our season,” he added.
Things, by and large, are uncertain for the Lady Hawks as the preseason winds down. So far, the team has not cemented a starting five, and will likely not adhere to a strict rotation on the season.
“I expect returning players to take leadership roles in games,” said Burg. “We will probably have many starting line-ups throughout the season.”
The goals for Rhinebeck, this season, are understandably modest. “We hope to improve throughout the season and, if we are lucky enough to make sectionals, to advance as far as we can throughout the sectional tournament,” said Burg.
Rhinebeck opens at home against Pine Plains on Dec. 16 at 5:45pm.