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Published: February 28, 2009 12:59 am   

GIRLS BASKETBALL: GI’s Banker passes credit to teammates

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

She’s only a freshman, but ask any opposing coach who they’re most afraid of on the Grand Island girls basketball roster and the answer is easy: Kallie Banker.

And not just because she leads the Vikings in scoring, can hit the 3 with regularity, pull up at any time and drive to the hole on almost anyone. More important than all that, Banker drops seven to eight dimes a night.

“She makes that entire team better,” Niagara-Wheatfield coach Diane Fegatilli said earlier this season.

Banker, always modest, said most of the credit for her nearly 4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio goes to her teammates.

“The passing is the easy part, it’s everyone else putting in the effort to get open that’s the hard part,” she said. “I trust my teammates a lot. They always seem to find openings in the defense.”

GI coach Jenepher Banker, Kallie’s mother, agreed with her daughter’s assessment.

“She’s always looking for the open player because she knows a lot of kids on this team can score and step up when called upon,” the coach said. “She sees the floor very well.”

The younger Banker believes her increased assist totals are also a result of her putting in extra work on the finer parts of her game this past summer.

“Instead of just shooting all the time, I worked on my all-around game, like coming off picks, rebounding, bounce passes — little things” she said.

And it’s those little things that have helped Banker and GI reach the Class A-1 semifinals. GI, seeded fourth, will play top-seeded Williamsville East for an opportunity to make a second consecutive appearance in the sectional title game.

“We’re excited,” Kallie Banker said. “We just need to be focused and work together and we’ll be fine.”

“The focus for us is always on good pressure defense and this game will be no different,” Jenepher Banker added.