The future looks bright for the South Hunterdon Regional girls basketball team.
But right now, there are some growing pains, and they are very aware of that.
The host Eagles fell to non-league opponent Hopewell Valley, 66-37, on Saturday.
“We played Hopewell in one of our first scrimmages and this game was a lot better,” South Hunterdon junior Kadie Fleming said. “You can see the improvement in our team from then to now and that’s encouraging.
“I think it’s good for us to play bigger schools like them. When you play really good teams, it really helps you improve your skills and really makes you work hard.”
The Eagles have just two seniors on the squad; Brianna Garcia and Kaitlyn Srivastava.
“We’re very young,’ said Fleming, who plays guard and forward and is also a goalie on the soccer team and plays flag football. “We have three juniors and two sophomores starting, so this is definitely a building year for us.”
Fleming led the Eagles with 19 points. She also had four rebounds, one assist, four blocks and two steals for the day.
South Hunterdon junior guard Sophie Hinman scored seven points, had seven rebounds, one block and one steal.
“We still have work to do,” said Hinman, who also runs distance events for the track team. “There are a lot of things we need to improve. I think our passing is getting better but we need to stop turning the ball over and we need to grab the rebounds.
“We’re just giving the other team more chances and we need to stop doing that. They were really hitting a lot of 3-pointers so we need to work on playing better on defense.
“But we get better all the time and I’m really looking forward to next season. I think we have a lot of potential.”
Lucy Spreen poured in five points, Erin O’Rourke scored four and Reagan Morris chipped in two points for South Hunterdon.
“I definitely think we’re going to be good next year,” said Spreen, a sophomore guard who also plays soccer and flag football. “I know I’m working hard to improve. In this game I’m glad I started going to the basket more.”
She is one of two sophomore starters, along with Jiondae Dewald.
“Last year I barely played any varsity so I do feel the pressure of starting this year,” she said. “I went right into starting and it was a lot. In the beginning of the season it was hard, but now we’ve got a groove going so hopefully next year we’ll really dominate.
“Kadie and Sophie have been playing together for a few years but I didn’t get to play with them that much until now. We’re all still getting to know each other because a lot of the starting people haven’t played together before and Tierney (Rzasa), this is her first year of playing basketball and she’s starting, too, so there’s a lot building that has to be done.
“I think we can all work well together and if we improve on some things, that will be great. I’m really excited to play with Sophie and Kadie for another year before they graduate. I’m glad I met them. Kadie is definitely going to be on our 1,000-point banner next year with her mother.”
Fleming is the daughter of former South Hunterdon standout Tuesdee Sneddon, who scored 1,248 points in a career that went from 1988-91.