Four years ago, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School girls basketball coach Tom Splaine labeled then incoming freshmen Lindsey Spann and Amanda Fioravanti as impact players. The pair has done little to dampen that description in three seasons since.
In fact, Spann, a 5-foot-7 point guard, and Fioravanti, a 6-foot-2 forward, combined with current University of Virginia guard Faith Randolph, The Gazette's 2012 Player of the Year, to lead the Falcons to the program's fifth Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title last winter.
“They are two of the hardest workers I've ever had,” said Splaine, whose team begins regular season play Dec. 2 against Baltimore's McDonogh in the WCAC-IAAM Challenge. “They are two of the top five, six, seven players in the area and they made themselves into those types of players. They'll work on their foot work endlessly. It's the little things and the attention to detail and extra hours at practice … that's what makes them so good.”
Spann averaged 15 points and 6.1 assists per game a year ago, showing an adept ability to score from the point guard position as well as set up others for easy baskets. She will have to do both in perhaps greater numbers this winter due to the graduation of Randolph (16.6 ppg, 2.5 steals per game).
“Faith will definitely be missed [but] if we can keep working the way we are, we'll be there,” Fioravanti said. “We'll be pretty good. Lindsey, she's my best friend. We know each other in and out. We know where each other is going to be on the floor. Her IQ on the basketball floor is just great and her shot [range] has increased amazingly.”
While Spann and Randolph were patrolling the perimeter, Fioravanti controlled the paint on both ends of the court, supplying the Falcons with 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game to earn All-Gazette first team honors along with Spann.
“Amanda's great offensively and defensively,” Spann said. “If the opposing team's guards are pressuring our guards, I know I can get inside and depend on her to get an easy basket. She'll find the space to get open inside. Her inside presence is a big help to our team.”
So what can Spann, Fioravanti and the rest of the Falcons do for an encore? Well, they could become only the second Good Counsel team to win back-to-back WCAC crowns. The inside-outside combination of Kaili McLaren and Briana McFadden did so during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.
“We're looking forward to the season because we know that since we won last year, everyone wants to get us,” said Fioravanti, who plans to join Randolph at the University of Virginia next season. “We have the biggest target on us so we've just been pushing ourselves to the maximum, trying to win it again.”
Last year's squad not only captured the WCAC crown, but it went 21-0 in league play. Counting the team's three league tournament victories, it finished with a 30-5 overall mark.
“We've been working hard from day one,” said Spann, who plans to play for Penn State next season. “It's a goal we've had. We reached that goal once and we want to do it again. Myself, Amanda and Jordan Light, the other captain, are looking forward to leading the team to another championship.”
With numerous players returning from last year's squad, plus the return to health of promising post player Nicole Enabosi, Good Counsel looks to be in the championship mix once again.
“If we stay healthy, we're going to be a deep team; possibly deeper than last year,” Splaine said.