Hamilton West girls staying positive and keep fighting despite tough start

Gabbie Fonollosa hamilton west basketball
Hamilton’s Gabbie Fonollosa lets one fly against Hopewell in the 2019 John Molinelli Holiday Tournament. Photo by Michael A. Sabo.

By Rich Fisher

Dec. 30: Things weren’t going well for the Hamilton West girls basketball team in its first-round game of the John Molinelli Holiday Tournament, but coach Joe Radice was coaching the game as if every position counted.

It didn’t matter that Hamilton lost by a wide margin to eventual tournament champ Hopewell. Radice is preaching positivity; and wants his team to continue fighting no matter what the score.

“You have to keep a positive mindset,” he said. “I love the energy they’ll keep playing with. It’s that first part of handling the adversity earlier that we’re working on, that they gotta keep their heads up and not give up too early. They’ll still play hard but they don’t have that confidence where, if something goes wrong, you should be playing harder. Kicking it into that second gear is what we’re working on.”

Hamilton gave an improved effort in the consolation game, dropping a 35-31 decision to Lawrence behind 12 points by Cierra Acevedo, who was named to the All-Tournament team.

“Obviously you want to see the ball bounce your way at times early in the year,” Radice said. “We’d like to get a couple of wins to keep their confidence up. If we keep working we have the ability that by the end of the year we can be a lot better than where we are now, which is a lot better than where we were last year already.”

Gabbie Fonollosa returns as a proven scorer for the Hornets, and Radice is hoping to get points from other areas as well.

“Our team is pretty spread out as far as where the points can come from,” the coach said. “I’m looking to see Tina Fedor step up to do some more scoring. Cierra Acevedo will be able to drive to the basket when she creates space and we have shooters on the outside with Arianna Venceller and Gabbie.”  

About The Author

Rich Fisher has been around the Hamilton Township sports scene for so long that he actually got Rich Giallella’s autograph when Giallella was still a player! Proud product of Hamilton YMCA and Lou Gehrig baseball leagues and former teammate of Jim Maher on a very average Barton & Cooney rec basketball team, Fish graduated from Nottingham Junior High and Steinert High school and has covered township sports since 1980. His goal in life is to convince Maria Prato that Jersey tomatoes are at least 100 times better than California tomatoes.