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Gillis Hoping for Breakthrough

November 27, 2012
By SHAWN RINE , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

McMECHEN - Bishop Donahue girls' coach Donnie Gillis believes this season's team might just have what it takes to make some noise. That's because the Bishops welcome back every player from a 2011 squad that finished 5-17 and lost in the sectional to arch rival Cameron.

''This year we are hoping for a breakout year,'' Gillis said. ''In order for us to do it we will need to get better with the turnovers (19 per game) and putting the ball in the basket.''

The Bishops certainly hope they improve on their shooting percentages. They hit 23 percent of their two-pointers, 21 percent of their 3s and 43 percent of their free throws.

''We definitely did not light up the scoreboard,'' Gillis joked.

The Bishops have five seniors on the roster, led by leading scorer Selena Ghaphery who pumped in 13 points and pulled down four rebounds.

''She's an awesome player who has come out this year to set the tone at practices,'' Gillis said. ''She is a leader on and off the floor.

''We will be looking her way a lot.''

Ghaphery is joined by Morgan Carroll (four ppg.), a good rebounder and strong defender according to Gillis, as well as Ali Bauer (four ppg.), Jenny Hull, who works hard and hustles, and Elizabeth Potts in the senior class.

Back to run the show is junior Kelsey Shau who scored nine points a game.

''She's a good point guard and she has gotten better with her shot,'' Gillis said. ''She's also an excellent defensive player.''

Renee Kudla battled through injuries most of last season but averaged five points during the five games in which she saw action. The Bishops hope to have her for an entire season because Gillis said the team plays better when its inside presence is in the game.

Shannon Barrows is the tallest member of the team but has been beset by injuries the last two seasons. She and Elaysia Hill, who didn't play last season, round out the junior class.

Speaking of injuries, sophomore Ekaterina Polinski played three games before going down with a torn ACL. Gillis said she has lots of potential and her minutes will increase as her knee gets stronger.

Kenedee Kleeh is a good rebounder and Tess Fallova is learning more every day, according to their coach. Jocelyn Little is a second-year player who is improving, while Taylor Koontz is perhaps the most improved sophomore on the club.

''Our defense will have to pick up the tempo and get some steals so we can get some easy buckets,'' Gillis said.

Freshman Samantha Zimla is said to be a good one. She'll see a lot of playing time, possibly even starting. Mackenzie Coffield is the only other freshman on the team and Gillis said she's been working extremely hard.

Assisting Gillis are Mike Taylor, Diane Bauer and Bob Kleeh.

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