When Morgan Genovese was an eighth grader, Fredonia girls high school basketball coach Carol Zirkle put Genovese on the varsity level based on her athleticism alone.
Now a junior, Genovese has turned into a true basketball player and the leader of a Fredonia squad which has turned some heads with a 5-0 start.
"She came as an eighth grader because of her athleticism and now she is a true player," Zirkle said. "She understands the game and how to get open. Before it was just off talent. Now she knows screen and roll and timing. Her defense is better than it was in eighth grade. She has grown. One of the biggest areas she has grown is she is mentally tougher and able to control her emotions. She doesn't get as frustrated. She is able to roll with those tough games."
Fredonia’s Morgan?Genovese has been a member of the varsity basketball team for four years now.?The junior has turned into a true basketball player and has guided the Lady Hillbillies to a 5-0 record.
While Genovese has become an exceptional basketball player, she is also turning into a leader on the court.
"Morgan has been the person we look to for scoring the last couple years," Zirkle said. "She has stepped up and been the person we count on. When we need a bucket, we look to her. She is a natural scorer. She is very competitive and she has really stepped up her leadership. She understands the game, follows it and knows who is scoring on other teams in western New York. She has a great knowledge of basketball in (Section 6)."
Though Genovese is the team's leading scorer this season, she is also getting contributions from several other players such as Alicia Deering, Hannah Cybart, Caitlyn Cybart and Frankie Sysol.
"This year, we have had many different players step up, which has taken pressure off of her," Zirkle said. "A lot of times people weren't looking to shoot last year and it put a lot of pressure on her. This year, I think she will grow more and be more confident she has teammates able to step up. She can relax a lot more. She doesn't feel like the whole team is looking at her."
Before Genovese made it to the varsity level, she was showing off her basketball skills from the free throw line as she earned a trip to West Point after winning a Knights of Columbus competition. But she is proving she can do more than just hit shots from the charity stripe. And a lot of her success this season has been aided by her successful season on the soccer field.
"She is a great soccer player and it's the conditioning that helps her in basketball," Zirkle continued. "That footwork there helps out in basketball. They had a successful season and when you have a successful season before, it carries over into basketball. We have a few soccer players here. To bring that success from different seasons here helps in close games."
And with Genovese playing under Zirkle for four years now, Zirkle has a coach on the floor as well.
"She has been around so long that she knows what I'm thinking before I call it because we have been together. When we need her, she steps up and comes through. She is able to hit that key shot."