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Girls basketball: Young Panthers continue to grow

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Katie Catalano and Carolyn Sipprell both can see the big picture ahead for the Quakertown girls basketball team.

The freshmen duo has paced the Panthers’ scoring and rebounding as an effective backcourt and frontcourt presence, but they also understand how the foundation is being built for their young squad.

It isn’t all about their 4-14 record – 10 straight losses and winless since Jan. 4 – but it is about moving forward as a unit led by the quickly developing freshmen tandem.

Sipprell has been averaging just over eight points a game, while Catalano has been just above seven.

“I feel like this season we had a lot of young players, but we improved a lot from the beginning of the season,” said Catalano. “We also had really bright moments. Our defense is key for us and that has been getting better and better as time progresses. I feel like our team mostly just needs to get more consistent and that comes with some time.”

Catalano, who runs the point, has cherished the court chemistry and overall friendship with Sipprell, a 6-footer who patrols the middle.

“It’s also really nice having a fellow freshman like Carolyn Sipprell,” stated Catalano. “I just always know where she is going to be on the court, which takes off some pressure. It’s really nice to have a best bud out there with you through it all.

“I think both of us are becoming more consistent and making less rookie errors. We are both improving a lot and learning how to score. I know that I have been trying to learn from my mistakes, and I feel more confident every game.”

Sipprell readily has returned the appreciation.

“I feel most comfortable when a player like Katie Catalano is running the point because I know she can handle the ball very well,” said Sipprell.” I think this season has gotten better as we have gone along. We are learning to play as a young team. I have always enjoyed playing basketball. It has been great getting to learn alongside other new players.

“As a freshman I’ve been trying to adapt my game to play at a higher level. I see our team forming a tighter bond over the next few years. I believe our level of play will improve as we get more experience playing with each other. Even though our record isn’t what I hoped it to be right now, I think we can end the season strong.”

Head coach Brittany Bamford can deal with her team’s growing pains as she remains patient with her developing squad.

“You can see the improvement,” said Bamford. “But over time, we are learning the pace of the high school game.

“We have been in a number of games, but we still can’t finish them. The girls are fighting hard until the end.”

Bamford anticipates the continued growth of Sipprell and Catalano as a key to future success.

“Carolyn Sipprell is a skilled athlete who brings offense and defense to the table,” said Bamford. “She always brings her game and has the potential to be a 20-point scorer. She can post and also is a threat around the basket.

“Katie Catalano plays a lot bigger than she is,” added Bamford about her diminutive floor general. “She is a tenacious defender who will go after anybody. She is a pass first guard which is great, but we also want her to be a scoring threat.”


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