For the early part of the season, we’re going to be doing posts focusing on different schools in our continuous effort to fill your girls basketball appetite. In the spotlight: Ardsley.
The Ardsley basketball team doesn’t like to look ahead in the grand scheme of things. The team’s motto is a simple one…never look past practice and the game at hand, taking it just one game at a time. The team has a nice mix of experience and youth this season.
How the season ended last year: Ardsley finished last season 14-6 and lost to Rye in the sectional quarterfinals.
Top player lost to graduation: Captain and four-year varsity member Nicole Abbate.
Top returners: There’s no doubting the importance of junior point guard Toni Pilla to the Ardsley roster. She has averaged 15 points per game in her three years as a varsity starter and has shown the ability to get to the basket and also torch her opponents from the outside. Pilla is also a strong distributor with the ball, getting her teammates involved. She recently reached the 1,000 point plateau in her varsity career on Saturday with a 19 point performance, sinking a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left in the championship game of the Ardsley tournament.
Freshman Casey Foley will also continue to play a key role for Ardsley on both sides of the glass with her physical play. She has the ability to score in different ways and is one of the teams top defenders, while senior Hannah Smith also gives the team a big boost on the defensive side of the ball by holding down the center position. She has a strong view of the game and high basketball IQ.
Biggest strength this season: Coach Michael Pollio highlights the team’s intangibles that the players bring to each and every game as their strength.
Biggest concern: With the rotation off the bench unsettled, coach Pollio figures it will take some time to find out the perfect combination of help off the bench and it will develop through the course of the season.
Rivals: Edgemont and Dobbs Ferry.
Host tournament: In Ardsley’s first annual Hank Roth Classic that took place this past weekend, the Panthers lost by three points to Somers in the championship game of the tournament.