New coach gives Holy Trinity girls reason for optimism


Senior Alisha Pound is the leading scorer on this year's Holy Trinity girls basketball team. Photo by Carl Kotala

New coach Jay Castillo appears to have the Holy Trinity girls basketball program heading in the right direction.

“We’re getting there,” Castillo said after a win over Cocoa last month. “We’re beginning to gel. For me, we’ve got to get better at finishing. We give ourselves some good opportunities. We need to put the ball in the basket.

“We’re solid defenders. I think they enjoy playing defense. That’s where we want to be. They play well as a team.”

The Tigers, who haven’t had a winning record since the 2011-12 season, have not only picked it up defensively, they are also committed to rebounding, both of which are traits that should help them down the road.

Which is, of course, exactly what Castillo is hoping for as he tries to establish his own philosophy.

“I’m trying to put in my own culture,” he said. “And for me, it’s defensive-minded and pushing [the ball] and having fun and [playing as a] team. I don’t have one scorer. I have a group of girls.”

Though they are led by a senior group that includes guards Alisha Pound and Victoria Salvatore, the Tigers also feature a number of younger players they are counting on to fill significant roles, including junior guard Sadie Girard, junior forward Natalia Walcott and sophomore forward Kate Starkey.

Pound said the Tigers have been practicing harder under Castillo than in recent years and that the team chemistry and ability to connect with each other is much improved.

“This year, the players are closer together,” Pound said. “Last year, we were kind of separated. It was the older group vs. the younger group.”

With so many young players filling those important roles, Pound believes the Tigers have a chance to get better as the years goes on and those young players get more experience and confidence.

“I think, because we do have a younger group, we’re going to be really good later on because we’ll evolve together,” she said.

Seeing the potential the Tigers have this season and beyond has certainly brought a lot of optimism to the program.

“Yeah, because here we’ve never really had that chance, because we weren’t as strong,” Pound said. “But this year, we’re a lot stronger and we can see ourselves advancing to regionals and further, if we can get that far. It’s exciting.”