Looking at the Chargers 2012 – 13 line-up it would be reasonable to call this season a rebuilding year. The team lost several key players from last season’s squad, and only one senior is on the current roster, star point-guard Lea Jones. Yet head coach Claudette Charney has always found a way to win and there is no doubt that she has high expectations for a young but energetic and upstart squad. With a number of upper classmen who could emerge as some of the best hoopers in the GLIAC, a conference championship is within reach for this year’s squad.
Key losses: Hillsdale’s 2011-12 team bowed out early, losing to Tiffin 68 – 58 in the GLIAC Quarterfinals. That loss to Tiffin was the final game for a number of Charney’s best players. Several key veteran players graduated or ran out of eligibility including stand-out guard Chelsea Harrison, and forwards Katie Bildner and Liz Branncik. Harrison was the fifth all-time leading scorer in program history, a two-time member of the All-GLIAC team, and the team’s leader. Bildner and Brannick also had great careers. The Chargers will miss Brannick’s size and rebounding as well as Bildner’s defense, and long range shooting. Bildner returns this year as a student-coach.
Backcourt: Three-year starter and point-guard Lea Jones will have her hands full as the lone senior on the team. Like, Harrison before her, Jones will rarely rest. Jones’ scrappy defense, excellent ball handling, experience, and 3-point range can jumpstart the young Charger team. Joining her in the backcourt will be junior Marrisa Demott. In the teams first exhibition game Charney gave the nod to freshman Ashlyn Landherr as the third guard. Demott is the x-factor on this young team. In 2011 she was an offensive force, especially from behind the arc, before she suffered a season-ending injury in February. If Demott can stay healthy, she and Jones could form one of the most potent 1 – 2 combinations in the GLIAC. A number of freshman and sophomore guards will see time as Charney looks to develop her bench.
Center and forwards: Junior Angel Bisarro started in about half the Charger’s games last season and at times she had a huge impact. With consistent play in 2012, she will become the Charger’s go-to post player. Bisarro along with sophomore Megan Fogt must take to the boards in order to fill the void left by Brannick. Both players made significant impacts on last season’s team and this year they will see the court a whole lot more as right now they are Charney’s starting 4 – 5. Junior Alyson Loyd saw playing time each of the past two seasons. She will bring experience to the Charger’s off the bench.
Recruits: The Chargers are young with seven freshman joining the team. Freshman guard Sydney Delp has already gotten a taste of Div. II competition as she was named an honorable mention on the All-GLIAC team. 6’ freshman Sarah Theut was Michigan’s Class D player of the year at Cardinal Mooney.
Coaching: With Charney only three wins away from 500, she will be looking to continue to building an already stellar legacy. This year Jon Mock joins the Chargers as assistant coach.
Prediction: The Chargers are up against a loaded GLIAC conference this year. On paper the team looks under-sized and under-experienced but with one of the best point guards in the GLIAC lead the squad and emerging juniors stepping up it will be a competitive season for the Chargers. The team was picked to finish fourth in a preseason poll but look for the team to finish in the top three in the south division as Charney has a knack for consistently guiding her team into the top tier of the conference.