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Girls looking for revenge after last season’s early exit

Northampton head girls’ basketball coach Jeff Jacksits is comfortable and confident with his starting lineup this season, as all five starters are back.

Problem is, he will need to develop his bench.

“We lost our first two girls off the bench last season with one decided not to come out and another transferred,” said Jacksits. “We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.”

Senior guard/forward Morgan Sterner, who enters the year 196 points shy of the 1,000 mark for her career, averaged a little over 13 points per game last year. She will be joined by juniors Devyn Demchak at center and fellow junior guards Kylie Gilliard and Taylor Kranzley along with sophomore forward Grade Lesko.

Senior Kelly Tita and freshman Nicole Yellen are the emerging candidates a first off the bench.

The Kids will be looking for redemption after they were stunned by Pocono Mountain West in the opening round of districts. It was the unexpected end to a season that saw post an 18-6 record after the loss of 1,000-point-plus scores Victoria Keenan and Jenna Rogers.

However, the Kids and the rest of the East Penn Conference (EPC) schools were recently dealt a blow when the EPC decided to halt practice push back the start of their season until January 15 and play a 10-game schedule.

Sterner, who will need to average nearly 20 points per contest to achieve the 1,000-point plateau during the season, isn’t happy.

“It will be a challenge with 10 games,” she stressed about reaching her goal. “If I’m being honest, I’m really upset about our situation.

“Ever since losing our last district game, I have been so eager to come back and get redemption. Being my senior year, it has been heartbreaking to sit back and hope we can play.

“I’m thankful that I will be able to step out in my jersey a couple of more times before it’s all over.”

Jacksits planned to use the monthlong hiatus to fine tune his team, and he is also aware of their challenges ahead in the new Northampton County division with Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, and Nazareth.

“Maybe this will help us,” he said. “This will help us to get in shape. We have been doing a lot of fitness stuff, and we can work on some sets.

“We’re in a tough division and there aren’t any nights off. We’ll play a home and away each week. We’ll see how this works out.”

Grace Lesko is one of several key, returning players for the Northampton girls basketball team this season.