Radnor’s Massimino making nickname for herself

RADNOR — Radnor basketball coach Mark Jordan has an endearing nickname for sophomore forward Nicole Massimino.

“We call her Baby Kelyn,’ he said. “She doesn’t like it too much.’

Jordan is referring to former three-sport Radnor star and 2009 Daily Times Athlete of the Year, Kelyn Freedman, who played one season of basketball and four seasons of lacrosse at Georgetown and currently is on the Niagara basketball team where she is fulfilling her final year of athletic eligibility.

Jordan is just having a little fun with Massimino, who is the granddaughter of Villanova coaching legend, Rollie, and has committed to Notre Dame for lacrosse, which is her best sport. But it’s hard not to see the similarities. Massimino has similar size and athletic ability and this season, she has shown flashes of her potential on the hardwood.

“She’s a freakish athlete and just attacks the rim,’ Jordan said. “She has great court sense and she always understands what’s going on.’

Massimino led a balanced effort by the Raiders in Friday night’s 49-30 Central League decision over Springfield. She netted a game-high 13 points and had four steals and scored seven of her points in the third quarter. Sophomore forward Allison Lanzone (11 points, four rebounds) and junior forward Kristen Hamill — Radnor’s twin towers on the low post — also contributed nicely for Radnor (13-6, 9-5), which had lost four its previous five contests.

“We worked together to get those defensive traps going early,’ said Massimino, who helped create 16 Springfield turnovers. “It builds up and everybody gets excited over it. That really got us going, I think.’

Applying a stifling full-court press, Radnor shut out Springfield in the second quarter, 11-0. The Raiders had leads as large as 28-5 and 32-9 in the third period.

“It was fun to watch,’ Jordan said. “It was probably the best defense we played all year. We played good defense last game against Haverford, which we ended up losing by one point (34-33). That’s fine. If we end up playing like that, we can play with a lot of teams. The offense will come when it comes, and that offense usually feeds off the defense, which is what happened tonight.

Jordan is preparing his players for a potential berth in the District One Class AAAA tourney, one season after catching fire and winning the District One Class AAA title.

“We have three games left, so if we can get to 15 or so wins, that’s better than I thought coming into the season,’ he said. “I was thinking maybe 12-10 or 13-11, but we’re in a good spot.’

First-year coach Ky McNichol and the Cougars (2-15, 2-11), led by Madison D’Ambrosio (nine points, six rebounds) and Amanda Hopkins (eight points), played much better after halftime.

“We have competed in every game, but we didn’t compete tonight,’ said McNichol, a former Academy of Notre Dame and Neumann player. “We still don’t know how to react to those 1-3-1 and trap defenses. It’s a learning experience for everyone.’

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