By: John Raffel
Hemlock girls continue to impress
Hemlock’s girls basketball team has fired out to a 10-0 start under coach Joe Rodriguez.
“Defense has been the key so far,” he said.
Huskies were 21-5 last season.
Seven players return from that team and there are two newcomers.
Among the standouts are Natalie Hoffman, who is averaging 12 points a game, and is a senior captain.
“She’s been our defensive specialist,” Rodriguez said. “She guards the best player from every team.”
Morgan Mulvaney is a senior, “who has been contributing off the bench,” Rodriguez said. “She’s our second leading scorer and averages around three steals a game.”
Sophomore Sydney Peake is the team’s leading rebounder, and is averaging 10 points a game.
Junior Katy Snyder is 6-foot tall and has been the third leading scorer and another top rebounder.
There are big tests coming up, including against perennial state power Freeland.
“I was the JV coach over there last year,” Rodriguez said. “This is my first year at Hemlock. They’re ranked in the state. That will be one of our biggest challenges.”
The key in that game will be “defense, whomever can stop each other,” Rodriguez said. “Both teams can shoot, both teams can score. The best defense is going to win, I believe.”
As a first-year coach “the girls picked up my plans, systems, everything, right away,” Rodriguez said. “They had a foundation when I came here. All I’m, doing is adding to that foundation, and they picked it up.
“We were ranked No. 5 by the Associated Press. That’s the highest ranking we’ve had here in years.”