Revamped roster won’t stop Hawks from being district title contenders

Freshman guard Phantasia Lauriston is having a big impact for the Hawks this season, averaging nine points a game.

 

The Viera High School girls basketball team has never shied away from hard work under coach Josh Carmer.

And with a revamped roster this season, the Hawks have been putting in the time to make sure all the pieces fit just right.

“We faced a lot of adversity with (five) girls (graduating) and we had to kind of rebuild what we have and try to find our strengths and work on that; weaknesses, obviously, work on that, too,” senior center Jacquelin Castro said. “… We’re working every day.”

For junior guard/forward Tricia Carmer, getting used to playing with new teammates has been an adjustment, but all that hard work has helped the Hawks get better with every game they have played.

“We’re a very young team, so we had to get that wisdom and experience to flow together,” she said. “We’ve been doing some team bonding things to kind of get it together.”

Viera was off to a 6-4 start and riding a three-game winning streak heading into the winter break. The Hawks were scheduled to play Riverview and Gibbs at a tournament being held Dec. 30 to Jan. 1 before returning to action again on Jan. 7 at home against Titusville.

While Castro, Carmer and sophomore center Lauren Bell head the list of key returners for the Hawks, the newcomers include a pair of players who moved to Florida from California — senior guard Sariah Aquino Seppelt and junior guard Nyianni Mathis. They have both made big contributions with their defense, ball handling and shooting.

Freshman guard Phantasia Lauriston has also had an impact, averaging nine points a game, which is third on the team behind Castro (12.1) and Bell (9.9).

Other key players for Viera include junior Brielle Basham, sophomore Haley Power and sophomore Ciara Holmes.

Josh Carmer likes the way the new players and the veterans have been able to come together.

“It’s matching up and coming to the same basketball understanding on the court,” he said. “The way we do things here, they picked that up quick. They know the priorities of team unity and the desire to compete.

“Those are my two priorities and that’s all in a person’s control. Your team unity is controlled by your attitude and your desire to compete is controlled by your effort. That’s what they’ve picked up quickly. The girls have really taken it to heart.”

Having lost so many players from a team that went 13-6, the Hawks have heard the talk that they’re not supposed to be as competitive as they were last season.

Well, Viera has other plans.

“We’re definitely headed to districts,” Tricia Carmer said. “Our goal is definitely that championship and as far beyond it as we can go.”