Pearl River Girls Basketball Opens with New Coach, Young Lineup

New Pearl River girls basketball Head Coach Dan Lauture knows the challenge he faces.

He isn't just taking over for Lorraine Moylan, Rockland County's all-time victories leader, who stepped down earlier this year after leading the Pirates for 20 seasons. He is doing it with a young team that facing losses to graduation and injury after reaching the Section 1 Class A semifinals a year ago.

"I've been saying our motto is to take it day by day, quarter by quarter, game by game," Lauture said. "We have our own expectations and mindset for how we would like to play and compete, but I don't want to set the bar too high. We expect to compete and work hard and play the right way. I expect us to get better (later) in the season.

"I'm excited where we are right now. I did not expect to be this far along. You can attribute that to girls coming in and working ahrd and putting in time outside practice."

Lauture said Moylan, who is still with the program, has eased the transition. So has junior varsity coach Kaitlin Page. He said that both have helped him get to know the players, but Moylan has also given him room to put his own stamp on the program. 

"I walked into a unique situation," Lauture said. "It is not often in a coaching turnover where you can take over a program and have that experience around you. It's a wealth of knowledge. I feel fortunate."

There is less experience on the court, where senior guard Sam Alicandri is the lone full-time starter returning from last season, though junior forward Emma Daly started some games. Sophomore guard Jenna Scanlon became a starter early in her freshman season and showed she can be a dangerous shooter, but she is recovering from a shoulder injury and still has not been cleared for contact. 

"She should be cleared and ready to go by the end of the month," Lauture said. "I have big hopes for her. She is one of those kids, once she's back, I expect her to make an immediate impact."

Alicandri and Daly will open the season as starters along with senior Jessie Neugebauer, senior Maura Sullivan and sophomore Kari Portington. 

"Outside of Jenna, Sam and Emma, there hasn't been a whole lot of experience," Lauture said. "A lot of them will be asked to do things they were not asked to do last year. They have got to step up and be ready to contribute major minutes. Role players from last year, I'm leaning on them heavily to do a lot of things."

Alicandri, who played mostly as a shooting guard last season, will take over at the point for Missy Scognamiglio, who graduated. 

"Sam has been great, with her leadership ability," Lauture said. "She is the first one in the gym. She will grab a ball and start working on skills. I will say having a kid like that has been really helpful. I've made it a point for Sam to be an extension of me."

Lauture said all of the players have to adjust to the new system. He said sometimes it can be a challenge for seniors to make that kind of transition, but Alicandri has handled it well.

Lauture said one thing he likes about his lineup is something Pearl River usually is not known for, the players' height.

"One thing about us I like is between the back court and front line,  excluding Sullivan, we have really good length," Lauture said. "We'll pressure teams a lot (with that). We will be able to get hands in passing lanes and bother people."

He said he also expects to build on the intensity instilled in the players under Moylan.

"Teams will see the intensity instilled in them from past years," Lauture said. "We want to be as intense as possible from the opening tip until 10 minutes after the game is over,. to make sure we play 32 minutes of basketball."

The Pirates open their season 4:30 p.m. Thursday against Maria Regina in the first round of the Bobcat Winter Classic Tournament at Byram Hills, then play again Saturday in the finals or consolation game. Lauture connect with the community as well as the team, but he knows the results on the court will play a big role.

"I have to win to be embraced by the community," Lauture said, showing he knows exactly what kind of challenge he faces.  

2013-14 Pearl River Girls Basketball Roster

  • Sam Alicandri
  • Erin Woods
  • Jessie Neugebauer
  • Maura Sullivan
  • Emma Daly
  • Annie McBride
  • Kari Portington
  • Lauren Gallagher
  • Rita Mcvedigh
  • Jenna Scanlon
  • Julie Marsico
  • Margaret Buhrmeister
  • Kelli Scanlon


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