by Tom Utescher
This winter, the girls of Germantown Academy will have a tough act to follow on the basketball court – themselves. Last season, the Patriots captured both the Inter-Ac League title and the Pennsylvania Independent Schools championship, and the only loss during their 30-1 season came against a Florida squad ranked in the top five in the nation. It was the second year in a row GA had made a 12-0 run through the Inter-Ac.
Talented shooting guard Rachel Balzer has moved on to play for George Mason University, but that was the only graduation loss for GA. The members of this year's senior class have been making their mark on the Patriots' program since their freshman season. The tri-captains are Jaye Haynes, who is heading to La Salle University, Elle Stauffer, who will play for Harvard, and Maddie Vizza (a fourth-year starter at point guard), who has chosen Northeastern University. Another senior, Norwood-Fontbonne Academy graduate Maddie Burns, has signed with the University of Michigan to play lacrosse, and a fifth senior, Sarah DiLello, has decided to play softball for Ursinus College.
Another senior, forward Caitlyn Priore, is returning to action after knee surgery sidelined her last winter, and classmate Molly Oeth, also a front court player, has come back to the gym after not playing since her freshman year.
Becca Booth, a 6'2" returning starter, represents the current junior class, along with versatile forward Jessica Moore and guard Charlotte DiLello (who, like her sister Sarah, is a product of Lafayette Hill's St. Philip Neri School). Additional depth is added to the guard position by sophomores Lilly Funk and Bri O'Hara, while 10th grader Alex Goodridge can play guard or small forward. A new GA student, 6'3" freshman Kendall Bennett, will see varsity action as a post player.
Joining mentor Sherri Retif for her 23rd season at the helm of the Patriots is a seasoned coaching staff that includes Andre Strothers, Misha Horsey and Dia Veneziano.
The talented and deep Germantown team will head out of town for tournaments before and after Christmas, in addition to hosting GA's annual Make-A-Wish event the weekend before the holiday. The Pats will take on Philadelphia Catholic League power Neumann-Goretti High School in the annual Play-by-Play Showcase at Jefferson University in late January.