Viera girls basketball hopes to surprise doubters


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Transfer Kaylyn Magee (with ball) has had a big impact on the Hawks this season after transferring in from Missouri.

photo by Carl Kotala

How do you replace two players who went on to sign Division I scholarships?

Well, if you’re Viera High girls basketball coach Jamie Risberg, the answer is simple. 

“What else do you do, but keep playing ball,” she said. “It’s a good team full of girls. They work hard. They’re usually good shooters.”

Life after the departures of Dee Anderson and Ro Hayes hasn’t been as bad as some might have expected. Viera was off to a 5-4 start with one of those wins — a 62-27 victory against Space Coast — representing a big milestone for Risberg.

It was her 400th coaching victory.

Led by senior forward Kelsey Muller, junior guard Alyssa Laudato, senior guard Jessika Wojciechowski and senior transfer Kaylyn Magee, the Hawks are proving to be a tough challenge for anybody they face.

“We’re doing pretty good. I’m surprised. I was worried about how we would work together and blend because we had Kaylyn, the new transfer from Missouri, and we weren’t sure how she would play.

“She’s definitely helped us a lot. She rebounds, she hustles every day of the week. We definitely know how we click more this year. We’re doing a lot better than expected. Most people doubted us because we lost our two very good seniors. But we’re definitely pulling through and doing really good. I’m proud of us.”

While the Hawks figure to get better as the season goes along, there is one area in which they will always struggle.

Muller is the team’s tallest player at 5-foot-8, which means the Hawks will be at a distinct height disadvantage against certain teams.

“Nothing we can do about that, just do the best you can, try to play collectively as a unit and hang in there,” Risberg said.

Viera will have to wade through a Class 7A, District 12 group that includes Martin County, Melbourne and Sebastian River.

While making a deep playoff run is no longer a given, the Hawks feel like they have the talent to surprise this season. The district tournament, hosted by Martin County, begins at the end of this month.

“I think we’ll definitely go far,” Muller said. “A lot of people don’t think we’ll get past districts, but I think we have a good chance. We lost Dee, which was our height, and Ro, who was our ball-handler, but we have Alyssa, who’s a great ball-handler. We have me and Kaylyn rebounding and Jessika is a major shot opportunity for us.

“Then we have our sixth, seventh and eighth people on the bench who just have the heart I’ve never seen a player have before. It’s just amazing. That helps us out a lot. It keeps us positive.”