Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Team of the Week: Rochester Rams
The TribLive High School Sports Network’s Girls Basketball Team of the Week is alone in first place in Section 1-1A, the Rochester Rams.
To say that Rochester is on a roll is like saying the New England Patriots have done OK this century.
Since starting the season 2-3, the Rams have ripped off a dozen consecutive victories while building a two-game lead atop Section 1.
“After the loss to OLSH, we as a staff changed some things internally regarding what we wanted from our players for the remainder of the season,” said C.J. Iannini, now in his second year as the Rams’ head coach. “Since that point, the girls have really responded to their roles and have come together collectively as a strong team who truly believes in one another. I give all the credit to these girls.”
On Tuesday, Rochester visited Sewickley Academy in a pivotal section contest that would either give the Rams a comfortable lead on top or would tighten up the race between the Rams, Panthers and Quigley Catholic.
Rochester prevailed 49-48.
“The win on Tuesday was critical for us to keep our hopes alive for our first section crown since 2010 (shared with Quigley) and 2003 (outright),” Iannini said.
Two days after the narrow road win, the Rams traveled to Union and routed the Scotties, 65-18, with another balanced attack.
“The multiple-player contribution has been very important to us thus far in the season,” Iannini said. “We feel very confident that at any point we can rotate up to 10 players in the lineup and still be effective on offense and defense. Having good depth is crucial for any team trying to be successful during a long season.”
While there is still work to be done in the section with two weeks left, Iannini feels his team is in a good place because of a deep section and strong nonsection schedule.
“I’ve preached to our girls since Game 1 that we need to have a one-game-at-a-time mentality and focus to achieve our goals that we set forth this season,” Iannini said. “I feel our section has been a gauntlet this year. I worked hard to get us a very challenging nonconference schedule that has included Erie McDowell, Seneca Valley, Lincoln Park, Central Valley, New Castle, OLSH and we still have to play perennial powers Mars and Blackhawk.”
Rochester, along with fellow Class A section leaders West Greene and Greensburg Central Catholic, will lead a wide open postseason field that has many, including Iannini, excited about the upcoming playoffs.
“I think Class 1A is going to be a battle come playoff time,” Iannini said. “The teams that have set themselves up in a good position to make the playoffs bring a lot of experience and good players to the table. Hopefully, our team has great postseason success, and we get the opportunity to play any of these good teams in the final at the Pete.”
Don Rebel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Don at [email protected] or via Twitter @TheDonRebel.