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Friday, January 19 News

Storm still raging in New Canaan

NEW CANAAN—The St. Luke’s girls basketball team may have graduated the best player in program history last season, but early on, you’d never know it.

Sydney Lowery is off at Boston College already making her mark for the Golden Eagles, but the Storm, who won the FAA title and made it to the NEPSAC Class C semifinals a year ago, haven’t missed a beat, winning the Miss Hall’s Tip Off Classic for the second-straight year.

“Without Sydney, we spent the last few weeks figuring out what we’re going to be both offensively and defensively,” second-year coach Matt Ward said. “And what I’ve seen is everyone has stepped up more from what they’ve done in the past. I wasn’t sure what we would get from some kids, but everybody stepped up.”

Lowery scored well over 2,000 points in her career at St. Luke’s, but Ward wasn’t as worried about replacing her offensive production as he was about her intangibles.

“You can’t replace her, there’s no sense in even trying to figure that out,” Ward said. “She did way too much on both sides of the ball. What you don’t realize is her impacting others in terms of her leadership ability and preparation that a lot on the outside didn’t see, and I think the girls have realized that what it takes to be successful. I think they’ve learned from her and been able to step up.”

Two girls that have embodied that are Maya Klein and McKenna Frank.

Both girls were stars last year in their auxiliary roles, and now have stepped up to become leaders on the court and in the locker room.

In the semifinals of the tournament, Frank led the team with 21 points while Klein added 17.

“Both scored a bunch last year,” Ward said. “I think Maya understands her role offensively as a shooter is to get shots and be at 15-20 points per game and that’s what she’s done. She knows she has to get better at the defensive end if she wants to play DI and that showed in the tournament.”

Frank excels as a two-way player, and knows she must not only maintain her output from a year ago, but surpass it to make up for the loss of Lowery.

“McKenna is a different player, she does so many things well,” Ward said. “She averaged about 15 points and seven rebounds, six assists and a few steals during the tournament. She’s had to play down low a little depending who we play, she’s stepping into that role that Sydney had.”

Even with the season in its infancy, the early returns have been promising.

“We’re asking all of them to do more,” Ward said. “And they have stepped up.”

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP

Anthony E. Parelli|Sports Writer, Sports Editor

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