Sports

McClancy Girls Hoops Team ‘Trusts the Process’

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During this first half of the 2010s decade, the Philadelphia 76ers have adopted the motto of “Trust the Process.”

The team has been among the bottom-feeders of the NBA’s Eastern Conference for the past several years, meaning each year they receive a high-level draft pick.

However, it’s been difficult to “trust the process” when the process continues to lead to losing seasons and those draft picks have trouble establishing themselves in the league.

So instead, a local high school basketball team is putting its own spin on the “trust the process” motto: to build off an unprecedented string of success for a still-growing program.

The Msgr. McClancy H.S., East Elmhurst, girls’ varsity basketball team enters the 2016-2017 hoops campaign as the defending GCHSAA Division II state champions. The team accomplished the feat in just its fourth season in program history and its first-ever season with seniors on the roster.

While the history the Lady Crusaders achieved last year won’t soon be forgotten, the team already has its sights set on the upcoming season, which opens in early December.

“We’re building off each other,” said Dewey Hopkins, McClancy’s head varsity girls’ coach. “The leadership from last year will trickle down to the leadership of this year. The girls that are going to be leaders this year, they know what their roles are in getting the girls ready for next year’s leadership roles. We keep moving along in terms of team chemistry because when all these girls get along, great things can happen.”

Leadership will be key this year, as McClancy lost seven seniors, five of whom are now playing college basketball, including Taylor Aybar and Kenia Garcia at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Utica, N.Y.; Melissa Perez and Ashley Martin at the College of New Rochelle, N.Y.; and Gina Hopkins at St. Joseph’s College Brooklyn.

Hopkins said he is looking for senior forward and four-year varsity player Kaitlyn Stenz as well as junior forward Kristina Krslovic and junior guard Rhona McCaughey to be this year’s leaders. Krslovic and McCaughey played on varsity as sophomores last year to mold them into a leadership role.

“We are going to try to take what we learned from the seniors last year and use it to help lead the team,” said Krslovic. “We’re focusing not on defending our title but just getting it again.”

“We all have to step up and work together and focus on one game at a time,” McCaughey said. “We’re good at communicating, but since we haven’t played with the younger girls who are moving up, we have to focus on bonding and creating chemistry like last year.”

The team is well aware as the season begins that it has a target on its back and everyone will be out to upset the defending state champs. Beating the mighty McClancy could be the sole highlight of another team’s entire season.

“I think the other teams want revenge and want to beat us because we are the state champions, but I don’t think that means we should let up,” Stenz said. “I think that means we have to work even harder to defend it.”

And what exactly will it take to do so? Trusting the process, of course. The conditioning, hard work and dedication the players exhibit now will undoubtedly pay off come playoff time.

“They understand that it’s going to be a process,” Hopkins said. “We’ll be competitive in the beginning, but in the end if they trust the process, we should be where we need to be. It’s a long season, so they need to trust the process.”

So don’t be confused by the 76ers’ version of “Trust the Process” when comparing it to the Lady Crusaders.

Because unlike the NBA team, the McClancy girls are trusting a process of stuff that has already worked.


Contact Jim Mancari via email at jmmanc@gmail.com.

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