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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Lady Lions Ready to Roar

Karen Catalano is entering her 4th season as the head coach of the Lockport Lady Lions Girls Varsity Basketball Team. The expectations continue to stay the same. Contend for the league and sectional title. Catalano’s teams have always been competitive, tough and above all else consistent. A true reflection of their Coach. Catalano has been building successful programs for six seasons.

She began coaching girl’s varsity hoops back in 2010 at Lancaster. She took the Redskins (now known as the Legends) to the ECIC league title in 2011-12. She left Lancaster after the 2012-13 campaign to take the same job with the Lady Lions. It was a difficult decision but made sense considering she is a guidance counselor at Lockport High School.

Last season the Lady Lions were NFL co-champs with Kenmore West, finishing with a 14-7 league record and losing to Orchard Park in the semis. She took over the Lady Lions from Bill Shaw (now at Will North).  Catalano knew she had big shoes to fill when Shaw left. She’s reminded every time she walks through the gym and see’s the school banner that lists the 13 sectional championship seasons they won in his 23 years there.

The sectional title has eluded her but the gap between winning sectionals and league titles is starting too thin out. Catalano has been a winner her whole life, graduating from Kenmore West she won numerous individual awards for both basketball and softball. She also graduated from Niagara University where she won the Kevin Mulkern award. An accolade that has been handed out in memory of former Niagara assistant swim coach Kevin Mulkern. Since 1976, the Mulkern Award has been given annually to the senior athlete who has the highest ideals of sportsmanship, competition and fair play in the spirit of Niagara University, Catalano received the prestigious honor in 1996 when she played both volleyball and softball.

With a resume such as Catalano’s you could see why her players continue to succeed both on and off the court. The Lady Lions will lean on a couple four-year starters in Carissa DiTullio and Kathryn Krchniak who Catalano referred to as hard-working, dedicated players that train year round. DiTulio (PG) has not joined the team as of yet because she is still in contention for a state title in cross-country. She’s heading to Poughkeepsie, NY on Saturday for the finals and get this, it’s her first year competing. Kat Krchniak is returning from reconstructive ACL surgery. Along with DiTullio and Krchniak the Lady Lions welcome Kalia Cruz a junior transfer from McKinley. Rounding out the core are Jasmine Doxey, Kourtney Krchniak (Kat’s sister), Liz Mullane, Miracle Douglas and Sarah Kurbs (who is also competing for states with DiTullio).

Catalano receives plenty of help from her assistant and younger brother Joe. “Joe and I co-coach, we meet and decide what to install both offensively and defensively. When we break off into groups, he primarily works with the guards” the elder Catalano said. Joe is no stranger to varsity competition and has his own list of accomplishments including quarterbacking the Kenmore West Blue Devils for a stretch.

Still, there is a lot expected out of this group in 2016-17. “We need to play together, believe in each other and just get better every day,” Coach Catalano said. “I’ll just try to prepare my best and put the team in the best position to win.”

The Lady Lions have a non-league game on December 3rd against East Aurora up at Wilson. They will host Kenmore West on Friday December 9th, which will be their first league game. The Lady Lions are in Class AA of the Niagara Frontier League (NFL).

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