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Surging Homestead girls will build around youth this season

Freshmen highlight rout of Madison East

Nov. 27, 2012

Mequon - After years of struggle, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Homestead girls basketball team, as a young but talented Highlanders team opened up its new season with a 63-37 rout of Madison East on Saturday.

"It's been a fabulous start," fourth-year coach Matt Heuser said. "We had 40 kids try out and we're keeping 13 on varsity, 11 on the JV and 10 on the freshmen. The kids are engaged and excited and there just seems to be a different atmosphere and culture right now.

"The kids are ready to go."

Homestead, which finished at 4-19 last season, has two returning starters in 5-7 sophomore Marciarae Harmon and 5-8 senior Karley Marotta. Others in the starting lineup include 5-9 junior Olivia Covill and a pair of freshmen, 6-1 Taira Cottingham and 5-10 starting point guard Taylor McIlwraith.

Coming off the bench is another freshman, 5-8 point guard Christal Hearn, while others looking to contribute include 5-10 junior Danielle Neilson, 5-10 senior Jenna Burns and 5-8 senior Jourdnae Moore.

"The kids have been really ready to go," Heuser said. "They worked hard over the summer and have come in with a real focus. I feel that this is our most talented team in some time. I really feel than we can be competitive this season."

Heuser will try to get the Highlanders out on the break and get them some transition baskets. They will have an abundance of guards and that will be a strength, he said. Marotta has moved over to the two guard spot and Heuser feels that she will flourish there.

The Highlanders open North Shore play at home Friday against defending tri-champ Nicolet.

"That'll be a big game for us," Heuser said. "It'll give us a chance to make a statement."

McIlwraith scored 21 points, including three, 3-pointers in her debut against East as the Highlanders took a 22-11 first quarter lead and outscored East in every period. Harmon added 14 and Marotta seven.

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