from yesterday's Waukesha Freeman -
Dejewski takes over CMH
2007 grad was assistant for four years
WAUKESHA – Therese Dejewski has begun a new crusade.
Dejewski, a 2007 Catholic Memorial High School graduate who played four years of basketball for the Crusaders, started her first season as the program’s head coach when practice opened Nov. 18.
Dejewski, who spent the past five seasons as a CMH assistant coach, believes her connection to the program will help the Crusaders stay ahead of the learning curve.
“The continuity helps a lot,” Dejewski said. “I’ve known all of our seniors since their freshman year and the juniors since they were eighth-graders.
“Our players are playing similar roles to the ones they played last year, but we will have a lot of different philosophies and different looks than our players have seen in the past, so there will be some transition going on.”
The Crusaders return seven letterwinners from last season’s team, which finished eighth in the Classic 8 Conference at 1-13 and wound up 5-19 overall.
The veteran nucleus consists of 6-foot senior center Bridget Farley, 5-6 senior guard Bailey Finnegan, 5-8 senior forward Tori Hodorowski, 5-6 junior guard Nicole Piette, 5-8 junior forward Cassidy Lentz, 6-0 sophomore forward Dena Dryer and 5-7 sophomore guard Tori North.
“Farley, Finnegan, Hodorowski and North have worked hard during the offseason and in practice to set a good example for the rest of our players,” Dejewski said. “We relied on them heavily during the summer.”
Farley is the Crusaders’ top returning scorer, having averaged 7.3 points per game as a junior.
“Bridget is the anchor of our defense – a strong kid,” Dejewski said. “She covered up a lot of mistakes we made on the perimeter. She’s a good rebounder and she has improved offensively. We want her to be more assertive on offense.”
CMH will depend heavily on its other veterans, too.
“Tori North is only a sophomore, but she has stepped into a leadership role and gained the respect of her teammates as our floor general,” Dejewski said. “She’s rock steady and confident as our point guard and is a great defender and good scorer.
“Tori Hodorowski is very athletic and has the ability to change the game defensively and run the floor. Nicole Piette has a very nice shot and may be the fastest girl I’ve seen in my life in-person.
“Dena Dryer is going to play a big role. She’s a natural scorer who has great court awareness, and she’s long and can rebound.” Completing the roster are 5-8 senior guard/forward Maddie Davis, 5-6 junior guard Meghan Mueller, 5-7 junior forward Alyssa Lincoln and 6-0 senior forward Cari Bodus, who played varsity ball as a sophomore, but did not play last season.
“Cari is a physical player who has a lot of skills for a post,” Dejewski said. “We’ll be reliant on her to play strong inside and knock down shots.”
Dejewski hopes the Crusaders can play to their strengths.
“With our quickness, we can be good defensively, and we want to be more aggressive there than we’ve been in previous years,” the coach said. “We want to look to run in transition, but we’ve got to have good decision-making in the halfcourt. We also need to build more chemistry.”
Dejewski expects a competitive Classic 8 race.
“I would think Arrowhead, Mukwonago and Kettle Moraine are the favorites,” she said. “Arrowhead got so much better as last season went on and made a state run. They have a solid core of players back.
“Mukwonago lost some players and has a new coach, but they reload and they’ve got an equation there that works. Kettle Moraine will be good, and Waukesha North, which the Kelliher sisters (Jessica and Elizabeth) back, will be a handful.
“A lot of teams will compete. I hope we can be in that mix. We’ve got to play at a high level every night.”
Photo credits - Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
Top: Catholic Memorial girls basketball coach Therese Dejewski works with the team during practice Thursday.
Bottom: Dena Dryer looks to pass the ball during practice Thursday at Catholic Memorial.