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Bellaire is small, but very quick

By SETH STASKEY

Times Leader Sports Editor

BELLAIRE — This just in from the not-so-breaking-news department … the Bellaire girls basketball team is undersized.

Because of their style and ability to guard in the full court, being smaller hasn’t been an issue since John Farrier took over the reins of the program.

The Lady Reds head coach hopes the experience and athleticism prove to be more than enough to cover up for the fact that no player on the 10-player roster stands taller than 5-8.

“The size is a battle we’re used to fighting,” Farrier said. “We plan to use our speed and athleticism to create problems for other teams. We will look to speed up other teams, but we must be able to slow ourselves down on offense, make the right decisions and take care of the ball.”

The latter part of that is where the experience factor comes into play. Bellaire returns all five of its starters from a team that finished 14-10 and advanced to the district tournament before bowing out to Fort Frye.

“Our goals are to continue with the success we’ve had and hopefully take it a step farther,” Farrier said.

The biggest issue Bellaire faces is depth. The Big Reds will play nary a jayvee game this season with just 10 players. And going beyond that, foul trouble and injuries are things that Farrier knows his club must avoid.

“Not fielding a jayvee team is disappointing for some of the girls,” Farrier said. “Hopefully, next year, we will gain a few more girls and be able to have both varsity and jayvee.”

While the Big Reds plan to create a lot of their offense with their defense, Farrier understands there is going to come a time when his team has to play in the half court. He believes that’s where the “little things” come into play.

“If we are going to be successful, it’s those little things that we’ll need to do,” Farrier said. “Things like boxing out, talking on defense and taking care of the ball.”

Leading the list of returnees for the Big Reds is sophomore Zara Harveth, who turned in a strong freshman season in which she averaged 10.9 points a game. She was also Bellaire’s leading rebounder.

“Zara brings a lot to the table,” Farrier said. “She has improved her outside shooting and can score in a lot of different ways. She can play any position on the court and will be a major weapon for us.”

Junior Allie Ault is back in search of her third letter. She is an adept 3-point shooter after hitting 23 bonus goals a season ago.

“I believe Allie will be one of the premier shooters in the valley this year,” Farrier said. “She has really invested time in her shooting. She’s also a relentless defender and always maintains a positive attitude that coaches love.”

Senior Lizzie McAninch has been a model of consistency for the Big Reds during her career. She’ll be back in the starting lineup once again and Farrier looks forward to her physicality on the defensive end as well as her leadership.

“Though hard work, Lizzie has developed herself into quite a player,” Farrier said.

Sophomore Eliana Mason will be one to keep an eye on this season as a versatile player on both ends.

“Eliana is like the Energizer Bunny and never stops,” Farrier said. “She keeps an even keel and has worked at improving her game.”

Sophomore Rhyan O’Grady is another impressive 3-point shooter for the Big Reds. She knocked down a team-high 28 from behind the arc last winter.

“Rhyan is a dual-threat for us offensively,” Farrier said. “She can really shoot it from the outside, but she’s also quite adept at slashing to the hole. She’s working hard on the defensive end and will be a menace to other teams.”

Junior Sidney Rowson will be the Big Reds top sub off the bench. Senior Abby Craig will also come off the bench for the Big Reds.

The balance of the roster includes sophomore Kendyl Sorge, freshmen Aubriel Dodds and Savannah Kanyuch.

“Our girls have had a good offseason preparing themselves,” Farrier said. “Some of the girls have really committed themselves to becoming better players. We have a great group of student-athletes who are great girls.”

Farrier is once again being assisted by Hutch McFeely.

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