Lady Elker basketball teams honored with banquet

The varsity Ridgway girls basketball team was honored with a banquet Thursday night at The Royal Inn. Ridgway’s lone senior, Nicole Breier, was named as the team’s MVP, scholar-athlete and Offensive Player of the Year. “She had a really great season this year,” Ridgway varsity head coach Glenn Schauer said. “She’s one of the best forwards in D-9. She’s an AML All-Star. She’s a rebounding machine, she had 301 rebounds and averaged 13.7 rebounds this season. She’s our leading scorer again with 208 points. She had nine double doubles. She’s a great defensive player with 26 steals and 28 blocked shots. She had a lot of good games. The best game of her career was against Harmony where she had 27 points and 20 rebounds.”Schauer went into more of her career accomplishments. “(She was a) 2-time AML All-Star. She played all four years on varsity. She had 603 points and 927 rebounds for her career,” coach Schauer said. “She’s been a pleasure to work with. This program is going to greatly miss her. I just want to personally thank you for all the hard work you did.”Junior Katie Oknefski was named as the Defensive Player of the Year. “She is one of our captains. She shared point guard duties with Jenni (Thomas),” coach Schauer said. “She was our defensive specialist. We put her on their best player. She did an awesome job on defense. She led the team in steals with 35. She also led the team in assists with 41 and was third in scoring with 77 points. Eight points, eight assists and five steals against Harmony. She’s going to be really good next year.”Taylor Roseto was named as the Most Improved player. “Toward the middle of the season, she picked it up and drove the ball well,” coach Schauer said. “She finished second in scoring with 86 points and third with 93 rebounds. Her best game was against Sheffield with 11 points and 10 rebounds.”Christine Schauer won the Lady Elker of the Year award. “She’s one of our three captains. She had a very solid season,” coach Schauer said. “Toward the middle and end of the season, she played well. She had 151 rebounds, second on the team. Six points and 15 rebounds against Harmony. Christine always has a positive attitude. She’s a good example for the younger players.” Ridgway sophomore Jenni Thomas was the team’s point guard. “She’s our point guard. She’s very, very talented. I see it, Josh (Shirey) sees it, we all see it,” coach Schauer said. “She can handle the ball as well as anybody, she can shoot the ball as well as anybody. She just needs the confidence to take the shot and drive the wing. She always has a positive attitude.” Dani Shirey was recognized for being a part of the team even though she was unable to play due to health issues this season. Coach Schauer introduced the junior varsity players who saw times at the varsity level this season. He said Angela DeAngelo was a defensive specialist. “Angela came in when we needed somebody really good defensively,” coach Schauer said. “She is an awesome defender, she goes all out. She’s non-stop, it’s hustle, it’s going 100 percent all the time. She did a great job this year.”Ridgway freshman Amanda Shilk also saw time as a guard. “Amanda was a freshman this year,” coach Schauer said. “When she came in, she wasn’t going to play varsity but she played so well we had to bring her up. She did an awesome job this year.”Coach Schauer said Savanna Nelson was someone he looked to for outside shooting. “When we needed a 3-pointer, we put Savanna in,” coach Schauer said. “She scored nine points, all three on 3-pointers.”Coach Schauer said Sierra Kos was a player who ran the court well in transition. “She came in and played great,” coach Schauer said. “Sierra scored 13 points and had 30 rebounds. She runs the court well, she’s always ahead of everybody else.”Ellen Toncich had 19 rebounds and coach Schauer said that was a strong part of her game. Coach Schauer said Kiki Woodford is the best shooter on the team. “Kiki is probably our best pure shooter on the team out of everybody,” coach Schauer said. “She’s got a real nice shot.”Coach Schauer said Tracey Ecklund played well on the defensive end. “She played awesome, she played good defense,” coach Schauer said. “She’s going to play well next year.”Coach Schauer spoke about the team’s adjustment on defense. “We went from a zone defense team to a man defense team,” coach Schauer said. “We knew we would struggle a bit but we did OK at the end of the year playing defense. We had one senior, two juniors and two sophomores. We’re bringing most back, we’re bringing four of the five starters back.” Coach Schauer also spoke about the season and the slow start. Ridgway won its only game in the home finale against Harmony. “The season was frustrating, it was very rewarding,” coach Schauer said. “The varsity wasn’t very good when we started. The first three games we scored nine, 19 and nine points. By the middle of the season we started limiting our turnovers and getting the ball where we could score. We went from scoring 19 points a game to 29 points a game. It was a big improvement.”He said the rebounding advantage was a strong point. “We dominated in rebounding,” coach Schauer said. “Between Christine and Nicole, we had 450 rebounds. That’s a huge amount of rebounds. We got better and that’s a team effort. You could see the progress and that’s rewarding.” Coach Schauer expressed appreciation to the boosters, assistant coaches Dina Fullem, Stacy Kifer and Josh Shirey along with the administration at the Ridgway Area School District.