Two things have noticeably changed since the Colonie girls basketball team last took the court at the state class AA tournament back in March.
The first noticeable change is all the new players up from last year's junior varsity team that are replacing the nine seniors that graduated in June.
The other noticeable change is the person who's coaching the team as Heather Fiore takes over the reins from longtime varsity coach Karen Bonitatibus, who is taking a sabbatical.
I'm just looking forward to continuing the winning tradition at Colonie, said Fiore. "She (Bonitatibus) established a great program here."
Fiore knows the new varsity players well, though. She guided them through a 15-5 junior varsity season last year.
"It's different for Colonie right now," said Fiore. "It's exciting " the changes are exciting."
The one thing Fiore won't change is Colonie's full-court press, one of the stingiest in the Suburban Council. Fiore promises that her team will continue to harass anybody in a non garnet-and-gold jersey that has the basketball.
"My philosophy has always been about running and pressing, and that's what we'll continue to do," said Fiore. "That's the system they (the kids) want to play."
However, the players who will be doing the pressing are different. Gone are stalwarts such as Logan Pintka, Ola Shajuyigbe, Jessica Coles and Taylor Amarando who helped Colonie win two Section II, Class AA titles over the last three years. In their place is a group that includes only three players with any varsity experience, and it's limited at best.
"We're definitely inexperienced, but I don't think that matters too much," said Fiore. "They're working hard, and they're gaining confidence."
Early on, Colonie will be relying on its trio of varsity veteran guards " Shea Madden, Kay Deso and Emily Martoccio.
"Those three are looking forward to the challenge, and we're looking to them for leadership and scoring," said Fiore.