JOHNSONBURG – The Johnsonburg Ramettes were honored with a banquet to celebrate the season Monday night at Johnsonburg Area High School.
Senior Danie Jo Dwyer was named as the Defensive MVP. She had 72 points and 17 3-pointers this season.
“She has great court awareness,” Johnsonburg varsity head coach Mike Zilkofski said. “For seven years, she listened to everything we said and everything we taught here. She’ll be missed next year.”
Ramette senior Kiana Myers has been coached by Zilkofski for seven years. She had 141 points, 90 rebounds and 14 3-pointers.
“I coached her for seven years,” Zilkofski said. “She rebounded well with a young team. She’s a great leader. She will definitely be missed, it’s been great coaching her for seven years.”
Brittany Watts won the MVP Award for Offense. She had 283 points and 124 defensive rebounds.
“She had an outstanding year,” Zilkofski said. “With the core coming back, she should have another good year next year.”
Chelsea Benson won the award for going to the foul line the most. She had 116 free throw attempts. She had 234 points with 98 steals and 42 assists.
“She started every game for us as a sophomore,” Zilkofski said. “She’s excellent in rebounding and taking it up the court. She got the rebound and took it up the court. She did an excellent job at that. She sees a one-on-one opportunity, she took it to the basket. She has great anticipation. She watches the passes and got a lot of steals from that.”
Rhianon Fowler was the team’s point guard for Johnsonburg and had 167 points with 81 rebounds and 83 steals.
“When she saw the opportunity, she took the ball to the basket,” Zilkofski said. “She shot the ball well from the outside and played great defense. It’s great to have a leader like that back for her senior season.”
Zilkofski spoke about the season and the team’s 13-10 record. One of his goals before the season was to have them play at Clarion University and although the Ramettes didn’t get to do that, Johnsonburg accomplished other feats during the season.
“We started the season with a win at St. Marys, the first time in six years we started the season with a win. We beat them twice,” Zilkofski said. “We haven’t beat Kane in three years, we beat them once. It was a great game down here. Our only nemesis was Elk County Catholic. Once we get over that hurdle, then we go on from there. DCC, we beat them twice. We beat the teams we should have beat.”
Zilkofski emphasized fundamentals at the varsity and junior varsity levels, noting close losses early in the year that could have cost the Ramettes a chance to host a playoff game. Johnsonburg opened on the road and lost its first playoff game to East Forest.
“East Forest had five seniors and they played a good game,” Zilkofski said. “We’re looking for bigger and better things next year.”
Zilkofski spoke about the younger players on the team and talked about Taylor Wolfe and her defensive prowess.
“She’s a great defensive player and all you have to do is frustrate that point guard and she did that,” Zilkofski said. “You take that point guard out of the game and someone else has to take over.”
Zilkofski is hoping to get more aggressiveness in Brianna Cardoni.
“We’ll get her a little more aggressive, get her going to the basket,” Zilkofski said. “We’re looking for good things from her next year.”
McKenna Rowles ran the point in limited duty at the varsity level.
“She’s a good point guard. She ran the offense well for the JV team,” Zilkofski said. “All she has to do is take the ball to the basket.”
Zilkofski said Ashley Imbrogno is a player with potential.
“She’s got a nice shot and is very aggressive,” Zilkofski said. “She gets to the basket and hustles on defense.”
Zilkofski spoke about Kathryn Polaski and her role as the off guard next season.
“She got a lot of varsity rebounds. She’s a great defensive player and is the next one in line to step into Danie’s spot,” Zilkofski said. “She’s proven it the last couple years. She takes it to the basket well and she is ready for the next level. That soft shot in the paint, she did that well this year. After watching her do that, we started working on that in practice with everybody.”
Kassa Kocjancic is a player who Zilkofski said did a nice job with hustling.
“She played in quite a few games this year, she had great hustle,” Zilkofski said.
Zilkofski spoke about the boost Lydia Hefright provided to the team. She had 35 rebounds and 13 points.
“She gave us quality minutes off the bench,” Zilkofski said. “She was a great rebounder and kept the morale up.”
With the younger players, Zilkofski said he is looking for aspects other than winning and losing at the junior varsity level.
“Are they taking it to the basket? Are they making their free throws? Are they playing good defense? In my eyes, that’s what I’m looking at,” Zilkofski said. “When you come up to the JV level, that’s what I’m looking at as a head coach. That’s what’s going to get you to the varsity level and that’s what’s going to get you on the floor at the varsity level.”
Zilkofski expressed his appreciation to his wife for letting him coach.
“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here,” Zilkofski said. “I like coaching, that’s why I’m here.”
He also expressed his appreciation to assistant coaches Melissa Myers, Sue Grumley, Becca Myers and Becky Boylan. Boylan was appreciative for the opportunity to come back to this team for her first coaching chance.
“This is my first coaching experience and I’m happy to be around these girls,” Boylan said. “I’m glad we did well this season and this is the team I got because I plan on coaching in the future.”
Zilkofski also spoke about Domtar and getting the time needed to coach.
“If it wasn’t for them, I can’t get the trades,” Zilkofski said. “I wouldn’t be able to do it.”