Sometimes a first impression is spot on.
Other times, not so much.
The latter was certainly the case for Millersville University women’s basketball player Jordyn Kloster in regards to her rival-turned-teammate Alayah Hall.
Kloster, a freshman from Northeastern High School, and Hall, a junior who played at Dover High, didn’t have much love for one another during the two years they competed against each other in high school. Now that they're together playing for the Marauders, however, the difference is like night and day.
“So in high school I actually did not like her at all,” Kloster said with a laugh. “I was usually the one that was guarding her. But now that I’m here, she’s actually one of my best friends on the team. We get along really well. In high school she was just one of those players that you hated to play against, but now that you’re on her team you welcome it. She’s pretty soft-spoken, but she leads by example.”
Learning the ropes: Both Kloster and former Red Lion standout Courtney Dimoff are both learning the ropes during their first seasons at the college level. Like Kloster, Dimoff has had no difficulties fitting in.
“Personally I think I transitioned pretty well,” Dimoff said. “I get along with my teammates really well and I think we all are pretty close.”
Both freshmen have made contributions so far this season for Millersville (9-13 overall, 7-10 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division). Dimoff is averaging 5.2 points a game while leading the Marauders in 3-pointers made (28). Kloster, who has experienced limited playing time as a backup behind several upperclassmen, averages 1.1 points a game but has proven a quick learner to the faster tempo of the college game.
“I’m happy with what’s going on,” Dimoff said. “I’m just trying to give the team what they need when they need it.”
Adjusting to speed of game: According to both Dimoff and Kloster, the speed of the game has been the hardest part about transitioning from high school to the NCAA Division II level. That comes both offensively as well as on defense, which is the part that Kloster noted as a bigger change.
“We don’t slide on defense,” Kloster said. “So we have to stop and sprint, and that’s been hard for us to learn because we’re used to sliding in high school. And coach (Mary Fleig) catches us and says ‘no, no sprint.’ So that’s different.”
Having someone like Hall around is definitely a big help. The all-time leading girls’ basketball scorer at Dover, Hall has stepped up her game this year, moving to the point. She’s averaging 12.1 points a game, which is second-best on the team. She leads the team in free throws attempted (104) and made (79) as well as assists (57).
“I think she’s really added to her game,” Kloster said. “She now makes jump shots, which she didn’t really do in high school. She can make threes from anywhere, and she was just not like that in high school.”
“She can do a little bit of everything,” Dimoff added. “We look to her as our point guard after our actual point guard went down (with an injury). She’s stepped into this role and has filled it pretty well.”
Coach Dimoff: Another person who has made some changes since his days as a high school coach at Red Lion is Millersville assistant coach Don Dimoff. Known for being vocal while on the sidelines during his 20-plus-year run as a high school coach, Dimoff, who is also Courtney’s father, has been more subdued while helping Fleig on the offensive side of the ball.
“When he gives input it’s really good input,” Kloster said. “He’s more of our offensive coach. He puts in a lot of our offenses, our out-of-bounds plays and sideline plays.”
While the season hasn’t unfolded the way that anyone on the team would have liked — Millersville is 2½ games behind West Chester with five games left for the final playoff berth in the PSAC East — there is a sense of optimism that the Marauders could be a force to be reckoned with next season.
Courtney Dimoff sounded quite excited about what the future could hold for the team.
“It’s been a lot of fun playing with Jordyn and Alayah this season,” she said. “It’s been great. We still have (five) games left this season and I can’t wait to play with Alayah and Jordyn again next year. Just looking forward to it.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.