Coach Tobitsch happy Trumbull's Emma Gentry back to play girls basketball

Trumbull's Emma Gentry is back after for her junior year after missing time because of surgery.

Trumbull's Emma Gentry is back after for her junior year after missing time because of surgery.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

Trumbull girls’ basketball player Emma Gentry missed the last three weeks of the regular season after surgery on her appendix. Now a junior she believes her team will continue to have success.

“We have a lot of experience on the court coming back,” said Gentry, a 5-foot-6 guard who helped coach Steve Tobitsch’s Eagles go 16-4 and advance to the FCIAC semifinals and Class LL quarterfinals. “We lost a great senior teammate in Maeve Hampford to graduation, but we have Cassi Barbato, Julia Lindwall, Grace Lesko and Amanda Ruchalski back as captains.”

Trumbull players have been at work prior to practice sessions beginning on Jan. 19.

“All of us were looking forward to this, we were all conditioning making ourselves prepared. Once we stepped on the court we had great energy and were happy to be together again,” Gentry said. “Basketball at Trumbull is a family environment. I missed competing, but not being able to work with my teammates and to socialize was just as important.”

Tobitsch pointed to Gentry’s ability to defend a variety of positions as one of the keys to the upcoming season.

“Her defense really helps solidify our backcourt. When she was out it was a huge loss,” he said “Emma is aggressive on offense and does a good job getting to the rim. From the time she was a freshman until now has been tremendous. She is looking forward to play at the next level. She is a terrific student in the classroom and leader on the basketball court. This is an important year for her and I’m glad she is getting some semblance of a junior year.”

Trumbull will play a 12-game FCIAC schedule that won’t be finalized until the first week of February.

“We have players with length but having a post presence is not a strength of ours,” Tobitsch said. “What is a strength of ours in that we have players that can dribble pass and shoot.”

Trumbull players work on their skills in the offseason.

Tobitsch said: “When they come back, we try to use those strengths to the best advantage we can. We do have size at the guard/forward position, but not a post player by any means. We preach versatile basketball players.”

Trumbull worked in cohorts with masks intermixed the first four days of practice. They went over 1-and-1 and 2-on-3 situations. The first game-like action came on Saturday.

“We had a 48-hour window between Saturday morning and when we practice Monday night so we let them go a little bit and scrimmage,” said Tobitsch, who is assisted by Jack Kelly (varsity), Victoria Discala (JV), Kelly Coughlin and Nicole Trommelen (freshman). “This team hustles and there was a lot of energy. We make up for lack of size with heart and determination. I’m excited to see these girls get on the court.”

COMES AT YOU IN WAVES

“I told them especially this year with masks on the shifts in the game are going to be shorter,” said Tobitsch, who likes to run as many players into a game early as possible to keep the tempo up. “Circumstances are different this year. We want to keep kids fresh and give kids opportunities to have success in the preseason and show what they can do. We are looking to get more kids in the game and go deeper than usual. But all that playing time and all those roles will be determined the next two weeks.”

TRYOUTS

Trumbull didn’t make any cuts after tryouts stopped on Friday.

We want kids to be involved in something. There are no cuts which I think is a good thing. Everybody should have an opportunity to participate. Get out of the house for two hours for practice,” Tobitsch said.

“I think our athletic department has been doing a fantastic job of keeping kids safe. They are well organized with their protocols that are in place. The kids have been responsible following those protocols as have all the coaches.

We keep saying the choices we make don’t just impact us as individuals but impact us as a group. To think that the actions of one impact all of us.

That is a lot of responsibility for a high school kid freshman, sophomore, junior and senior.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354