Sotiros hopes to bring back Hale's glory days in girls basketball
Coach tries to repeat success at youth levels with many returnees
West Allis - The long-term goal of first-year head coach George Sotiros is to restore the West Allis Hale girls basketball program to its former heights.
"Hale used to be a basketball factory in the days of Bob Kaczynski," Sotiros said. "We want to get back to that. We know we have to work hard to do it, and our first step is to get into the upper echelon of the Greater Metro Conference."
Sotiros has an idea of how best to accomplish that.
"We need to keep the younger girls together in groups, don't break them up," he said. "I'm not a big believer in bringing up one freshman to varsity. We need to settle down and have some continuity in the program. We want to keep the freshman group together."
Sotiros' own coaching background is in the West Allis Junior Huskies youth program, where he served as head coach for two different teams. Last season, he posted a 50-19 combined record as head coach of the eighth-grade and sixth-grade squads.
Now, he takes on the task of coaching this season's Huskies, who are coming off a 5-19 mark.
Hale returns several leaders from that team, including 5-foot, 7-inch senior point guard Rachel Seefeldt, 6-0 junior center Sarah Mueller and 5-9 senior guard Jenny Jender.
Both Seefeldt and Mueller enjoyed success with the Huskies' softball team last spring, and Sotiros is hoping that winning attitude can carry over to the basketball court.
"Rachel is a natural-born leader," he said, "and Sarah will give us strong play in the post."
Other seniors are 5-11 center Courtney Westhause, 5-5 guard Rachelle Candelent, 5-8 guard Kristen Folger, 5-11 center Katie Liban and 6-1 forward Rachel Milani.
Juniors are 5-5 guard Delaney Mielke, 5-8 forward Cortney Wery, 5-7 guard Adalia Sexton, 5-9 forward Kara Placzek and 5-5 guard Marissa Rechlicz. The lone sophomore is 5-3 guard Katie Swofford, who saw some varsity time late last season.
"The girls have been working hard, and there is a lot of work to be done," Sotiros said. "We have some new girls on the team and a new set of philosophies. Our defense should be much-improved, but we are short so far in ballhandlers.
"Post play should be a strength, and I like our heart, desire and dedication."
The Huskies open the season Tuesday against Whitefish Bay and visit St. Thomas More at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 28. The opening GMC contest is Dec. 7 at Divine Savior Holy Angels.
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