The Kutztown girls' basketball team has had a memorable season.
After winning only one game out of 51 over a four-year span, the team finished second in the Berks Division IV with a 8-5 league record, 13-9 overall and earning the team a spot at districts for the first time in 15 years.
'We have a good shot of winning a first round game in Berks. I feel we can play anyone when we play well,' said assistant head coach Barry Shultz. 'One goal is to make it into the state tournament after districts.'
During the last game of the regular season against Holy Name, the Cougars outscored the Blue Jays 15-8 in the third and cruised to a 52-39 win and the second win over Holy Name this season. Senior Megan Greiss led Kutztown with 19 points during their win.
According to Shultz, some of the team's success is due to the new coaching staff with great teaching skills and a positive attitude.
'The coaches taught the girls how to play outstanding defense and team basketball,' said Shultz.
Last year, the Cougars finished their season with only five wins in their division, but won six of their last eight games before losing in the second round of Districts. The Cougars lost six games last season by five points or less and they hope to finish those nail biting games with a win this season.
'Last year was magical turning the program around. This year, they came in knowing how good they could be and worked even harder,' said Shultz.
Midway through the season, the Cougars held Lehigh Valley's top scorer Caitlin Hrebik to just 12 points during the Cougars win over Salisbury, nine points less than her average for the season.
'Every day, we teach fundamental skills and the girls now understand ever part of the game,' said Shultz. 'They are a group of outstanding young athletes who like the challenge of playing the better programs. They are excited about the chance to show how well they can play.'
During the game against Salisbury, four Kutztown players scored in the double digits in the 62-33 win. Seniors Michele Reimert scored 13 points while Greiss, Janelle Geist and junior Britney Meitzler each scored 12.
'We have several key players led by senior Jannelle Geist, Megan Greiss and Sara Godwik. All played when the team was bad and wanted very much to turn the program around,' said Shultz.
'Junior Kelsey Mucelli is an outstanding point guard and [junior] Britney Meitzler can play any position on the court. The rest of the squad has improved that we now have nine solid basketball players.'
On Feb. 13, the Cougars fell 40-27 against the 17-5 Muhlenberg Muhls in the first round of the playoffs. The Muhls led the Cougars 24-20 at the start of the fourth quarter and outscored them 16-7 in the fourth for the win.