hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


February 8, 2012

First-year Whittier girls bolster hoop team


In high school basketball, they are rarely seen. They sit on the bench with their warm-ups suits on and are generally more suited for the junior varsity team.

For the Whittier girls basketball team, that's all different. The Wildcats are leaning on four freshmen to be key cogs in the rotation, and the results have been superb.

Whittier has a 15-3 record as of last Thursday — second in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference. They have relied on freshmen Michaela Martin, Kayla Riley, Andrea Terranova and Sammie Vonleh to play big roles.

"We've stopped looking at them as freshmen," said Whittier head coach Kevin Bradley.

Bradley knew he would have to rely on the freshmen after losing four seniors to graduation a year ago and not having much depth in the program. Bradley knew that the freshmen would have to play key minutes for his squad during the pre-season to see if he could count on them during the regular season. That came as a big surprise to the girls, however.

"We weren't expecting to have a big impact at all," Terranova said.

Martin has been the biggest surprise so far, and is following in the footsteps of her sister Danielle. The older Martin was a three time Eagle-Tribune All-Star before graduating last spring and Michaela has essentially replaced Danielle on the roster. Although she missed out on playing with her by one year, Michaela still learns lots of valuable lessons from her older sister.

"She taught me a lot about how she balanced school and basketball," Martin said. "She kept her grades up while also playing basketball."

Bradley also commended Martin on her passing, but would like her to keep the ball more and try to score more points. She has scored in double figures in just one game this season and Bradley thinks she has more offense in her arsenal.

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