After a decade of Mike Olley at the helm, a new head coach has taken over the Liverpool girls basketball team, looking to help the Warriors return to the realm of Section III Class AA title contenders and threaten Cicero-North Syracuse’s long-held crown.
D.J. Hunter got the assignment to succeed Olley, who stepped down earlier this year before taking the varsity football coaching job at Skaneateles.
Months of work led to the Warriors’ season opener at Central Square last Tuesday night. Wasting no time, Liverpool gave Hunter his first victory, edging past the Red Hawks 49-45.
This was a tight game most of the way. Liverpool trailed, 11-10, after one period, but while Central Square’s offense continued to sputter, the Warriors found a small groove and grabbed a 24-20 lead going to the break.
In the pivotal third quarter, Liverpool outscored Central Square 15-6. As a result, it was able to absorb the Red Hawks’ furious late charge, led by Desdie Pledger, who had 16 points, and Schyler Lax, who added 10 points.
Showcasing a more diverse attack, the Warriors saw forward Rachael Windhausen lead the way as she picked up a game-high 17 points. Drew Dufrane and Nicole Carey both finished with nine points. Emily Flohr and Natalie Parkins had four points apiece.
Two nights later, Liverpool had its home opener against Henninger, and that proved much easier for the Warriors, who shut down the Black Knights and rolled to a 54-21 victory.
Most of Henninger’s points came in the first half, but that mostly disappeared in a flurry of Liverpool activity as the Warriors, strong on both sides of the ball, steadily made its way to a 30-15 halftime lead.
Even though Liverpool cooled down a bit in the second half, Henninger could not take advantage, only getting six total points in those last two periods.
Nine different Warriors managed field goals, including Windhausen, who got a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, plus four steals. Donyai Starling managed eight points, with Parkins sensational on the defensive end as she got eight steals to go with seven points. Emma Geyer contributed six points.
Liverpool has a shot at three in a row next Thursday night, when it visits a Baldwinsville team off to its own strong start.