With just one returning starter and a new coach, the Brooklyn Hurricanes have some work to do to prepare for their season opener later this month.
The Hurricanes, who finished 15-8 overall and 6-4 in league play last winter, plan to have something to say about how the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division plays out this winter.
“We are not where I want us to be at this point, but the team is putting in the work,” said first-year head coach Bryce Brown. “I feel that at the end of the year, we will be right there competing for the CVC Metro crown.”
Brown already has been impressed with his team’s effort on the defensive end and he’ll focus his game plan on that team strength.
By the time the conference season rolls around, he’ll expect his younger players to have settled into their new roles and he’s confident the Hurricanes will play at a high level this season.
“We will lean heavily on our defense early,” Brown said. “Being led defensively by the best on-ball defender in the CVC will help us to start the season off correctly. We have a young bench as far as varsity experience, we will push our players all the same so that by the end of the season they will be key contributors.”
Junior point guard Rayanna Cogburn will set the tone for her teammates this season, especially on the defensive end of the court.
“From day one, I’ve said Rayanna is the best on-ball defender in the conference and I stand tall by that,” Brown said.
Senior shooting guard Alice Pham is the team’s lone returning starter. She earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a junior.
“Alice is a true leader and one of our captains,” Brown said. “She outworks and out-hustles everyone on both ends of the floor.”
Brooklyn’s projected starting lineup also includes senior small forward Ashlyn Dyson, senior forward Amerie Williams, and senior center Olivia Callahan.
Dyson is just 455 points away from the 1,000-point mark for her career.
“Ashlyn is the first in and last to leave every day. She is our other captain and I expect her to be at the top when it comes to votes for MVP for the CVC Metro this year,” Brown said. “Amerie plays so well below the rim. I feel she has the ability to really thrive in her role this year. Olivia is going to be our heartbeat on defense protecting the rim. She can go inside or outside on the other end. I feel really good about her progress.”
Senior guard/forward Natalie Nieves will provide quality depth for the Hurricanes.
“Natalie’s role will consist of coming in and giving us offensive punch,” Brown said. “When she hits shots early and gets that confidence, look out.”
Brooklyn’s goals include chasing down the Metro Division title and making a deep run into the postseason.
To do that, the Hurricanes need to play consistently on defense and share the ball on offense to create better shots.
“We will need to lean on our defense and not become complacent on offense waiting for hero ball,” Brown said.