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The Albany Capitals have a strong core that has grown together in recent years, and that unity should serve them well this summer.
“This is probably the best team that we have had, and we’ve had some good ones,” said Coach Steve Lombard. “We may not have the type of players who will play for a Top 10 Division I team, but we have Division I talent, and they have played together for three, four, five years. We have some great young players, and they are working hard. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish.”
One of the first steps on that road will be the 2014 Deep South Classic, which will be played in on April 25-27 in Raleigh, NC. Now in its 17th year, the Deep South Classic annually hosts many of the nation’s elite travel teams in a field that will eclipse 200 squads, and hundreds of collegiate coaches will be on hand searching for talent. The 2014 event will mark the second year that the Deep South Classic has been held at the Raleigh Convention Center. The venue was a tremendous success in its debut last year, with all games played at one site on 18 courts, and it is in a convenient central location.
When the Capitals hit the courts in the capital of North Carolina, they will be relying heavily on sisters Gabby and Jenna Giacone. Gabby is a 6-1 forward from the Class of 2015, while Jenna is a 5-11 combo guard from the Class of 2016.
“Gabby is a very, very skilled player,” Lombard said. “She is along athlete, and she is a relentless effort player. She handles the ball well, she can get to the rim, and she has a strong basketball IQ. Jenna has a lot of the same qualities, but she is more of a finesse perimeter player.”
Bret McCormick, the analyst for the All Star Girls Report, is also high on the Giacone sisters.
“These are two quality players,” McCormick said. “Gabby has an inside-outside game. She has good shooting range, she can put the ball on the floor, and she can post you up. Jenna could play any of the guard positions. She does a good job of elevating on her jump shot, she shoots the deep three, and she knows the game.”
The Capitals will also get important contributions from Madison Purcell (2015, 5-10, W), Carly Borland (2016, 5-10, CG) and Leah Dollard (2016, 6-0, F).
“Madison has good size on the perimeter, and she is a streaky three-point shooter,” Lombard said. “She knows how to get to the rim, and she really understands the game and how to attack a defense. She does a great job with the ball, and without the ball. Carly is a very, very smooth player who could play just about anywhere on the perimeter. She is one of those athletes that is so smooth, so wonder if she is exerting a enough effort, and she is. Leah is a new player for us. She is a lanky, athletic power forward.”
“Purcell is an athletic, intelligent player who can attack the rim or hit the three on you,” McCormick said. “Boland is an athletic, multi-positional player who has great skills, and she knows the game. Dollard is a good athlete who scores inside and delivers the blue collar things for her team.”