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Polanco, Catasauqua girls look to get back on track this season

Lailey Polanco figured it was time.

“Confidence was the biggest hurdle for me to overcome,” said the Catasauqua sophomore. “I felt like I was always nervous and scared when I was on the court. I was thinking about everything too much.

“I decided to let loose in the summer leagues. I just went out there and played and wasn’t going to be nervous. There wasn’t any reason for me to hold back.”

This season, Polanco hasn’t. She has been among the team’s leading scorers and rebounders.

“She is playing with a lot of confidence,” said Rough Riders’ head coach Mark Seremula. “Lailey is doing what she wants to do on the court.

“We know she can score. But she also is playing both ends of the floor.”

Polanco has been playing the game since she was very young. However, she finally joined a team in sixth grade behind the guidance of her parents, Marcos and Charnell.

“I used to just go to the park and shoot around and play games,” she noted. “Then my dad told me I should join the team. He said that I was good at what I was doing, and I should do something about it.

“My dad put a ball in my hand when I was young, and he taught me everything that I know.”

Polanco also began playing for the Huskies’ AAU team at Allentown’s East Side Youth Center, and moved on to another AAU team.

“When I first started playing, I felt like I could hold my own,” she recalled. “I started working out to get stronger. The girls were stronger, and it was a challenge for me.

“But I worked hard, and I could see my game improve. I knew I had to keep playing, and I would get better for the high school team. I just kept working on my shooting as much as I could. I still am always shooting when I can. I also gained much more confidence.”

Polanco is part of a starting sophomore core that has already shaped the program. Beginning this week, the Roughies had a 3-6 record with Wilson, Moravian Academy, and Notre Dame on the schedule this week. They had lost three straight.

In spite of a recent slump, Polanco sees her team in the hunt.

“If we can keep playing defense well, we’ll stay in games,” said Polanco. “I think we can take some long strides in the second half of the season. We all work well together, and we have to keep our composure.”

Press photo by Linda Rothrock Lailey Polanco and the girls are looking to get back on track this season and make a push to the playoffs.