Norwood Girls Basketball Starts Off Strong

Christopher Tremblay
Issue Date: 
February, 2019
Article Body: 

After going 8-12 last season and failing to make the tournament last season, Norwood girls basketball coach Amy Lepley knew that this year was going to be tough. Having lost five seniors from the eight-win team and only returning another five to this year’s squad, the Mustang Coach was pessimistic. The Mustangs, however, have gotten off to a good start winning its first three contests in their new division (Tri Valley), foes Medway, Holliston and Medfield.
“All three teams advanced into the tournament last fall,” the coach said. “We may have surprised some teams with our play so far, but we cannot take it for granted. We need to prove ourselves every single night, there are no easy games in the TVL.”
The five returning athletes with playing time are, juniors Aly Giambanco and Emma Maturo, in addition to sophomores Kate Earle, Taylor Brincklow and Syndey Waitekus. Giambanco, a 2-point guard, was moved up to the 2-guard position and through the early parts of the season has seemed to flourish. Moving her to the 2-guard allows Norwood to run the ball and being a very athletic individual Giambanco gets into that role.
Maturo is a guard and can basically play and do anything that is asked of her by the Norwood coaching staff; she has worked hard on her shot and is an important player in Norwood’s defensive play. Waitekus is a forward who shoots very well from the outside and Brinckow, who saw a lot of time last year, is primarily the team’s sixth player off the bench.
“I can use Taylor in the starting lineup but she has so much more potential coming off the bench, Lepley said. “She brings a lot of energy to the court as well as giving me more options in how to use her.”
Earle is the team’s center at 5’10” but has found it is tough going against the centers in the TVL who average 6’2”. She may be undersized, but she has been playing big through the early stages of the season. According to Lepley, Earle is a big factor in the middle for the Mustangs.
Offensively, Norwood doesn’t rely on one particular individual to do their scoring. Lepley sees her team as a rather balanced scoring attack. With that said, she has been given a surprise in freshman Megan Olbrys, a forward who has averaged 19 points per game thus far.
“I knew that she was coming up and that she was an athlete,” the coach said. “I just didn’t think that she’d be this good this soon. She listens to everything her coaches say and loves to get better.”
In addition to Olbrys, the Mustangs have three other freshman who are making a name for themselves: Erin Reen, a point guard who plays like a senior and knows this game of basketball; Sam Reen, a shooter who also knows the game well, and Ally Steeves, another shooter who Lepley is looking to be the back-up point guard off the bench.
Going into the season, Norwood developed the motto “Wipe the Slate.” The coaching staff expected this young team to battle at the beginning of the season and continues to see the team struggling at times throughout, but never in a million years did they expect to be undefeated.
“The girls seemed to gel quickly and didn’t want to lose,” the coach said. “I never expected to be 3-0 this early, I figured we’d be lucky with one win before Christmas.”
Lepley finds playing in the TVL every game to be a struggle. Having not known much about the other teams, she’s not sure how things will continue on, but she does know that they girls need to play well every night if they want to continue to have success.