Trojan girls take aim at increased win total

Let’s be honest — the Chambersburg girls basketball program has struggled in recent years to find much success. The last two seasons have produced one win and three wins total.

But there is hope on the horizon.

Coach Barry Purvis returns four of his five starters for the 2017-18 season, and said he expects the Trojans to do better in the win column. He also said that there is some talent in the younger grades that should translate into more success down the road.

Chambersburg kicks off the season Friday at 4 p.m. against Waynesboro in the Franklin County Tip-Off Tournament at Greencastle-Antrim.

“We should do better than we have been; we’re expecting a better year,” Purvis said. “We definitely need to improve on the number of wins we get.”

The top returners are senior Taylor Vrabel, a 6-foot-1 center, and point guard Gabby Lecuona, a 5-5 junior. Lecuona is is quick enough to get around her defenders — if more of her shots drop she will increase her 9.9 scoring average from a year ago. Vrabel is a solid inside presence that teams will have to account for.

Both will be key to any improvement the team will have.

Purvis said, “We’re trying to be more up-tempo than we have been in the past. We’re hoping to get the ball up the court and get it inside, because we’re big inside.”

Ashley Adams (jr., 5-9) and Ariana Burke (sr., 5-8) are the starting forwards for Chambersburg, while senior Amanda Abbott (5-5) will take over the guard spot of Lauren Ocker, who opted to concentrate on soccer this year.

Purvis said his main substitutes include Sydney Schmus (so., G, 5-7), Bre’ya Clopper (so., G, 5-5) and Alyssa Wenger (jr., F, 5-7), while Robyn Stepler (fr., G, 5-6) and Katie Parker (fr., F, 5-8) will be floaters between the varsity and JV teams.

“I feel the girls are starting to understand what I need from them,” Purvis said. “They’re more confident in their ability and they’re anxious to get started and see how we do.

“They have all improved some over the offseason. We played in two summer leagues and had open gyms in the spring and fall, so they’ve been able to play a lot of basketball.”

In addition to the tip-off, Chambersburg will play in the Hanover Tournament Dec. 28-29, and face South Western, Greencastle-Antrim, Spring Grove and Camp Hill in non-league games.

Purvis said Central Dauphin is “loaded” and is the favorite in the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division, with Harrisburg and Cumberland Valley are the top contenders.

“We’ve got some athletes, but we can be streaky with our shooting,” Purvis said. “Because of that, we’ll need to play good defense to stay in a lot of these games.”