Riverview girls adjust to life without Sam Dorn

Hank Minckiewicz

Coaching at the high school level is like sitting outside a revolving door. The door swings open and brings you some players who you might coach for two, three, or perhaps four years. Then the door swings again and they are gone.

In and out, come and go. It is the life of a high school coach.

The door at Riverview Community High School swung last June and out went Sam Dorn, one of the top scorers, rebounders and all-around great players in school history.

But when the door swung again this year, it brought a new crop of players and some with impressive credentials. Five-foot-ten Elyssa Kincaid and 5-foot-6 Cadence Kaminske are a pair of freshman, who will both play on Coach Rob Sauter’s varsity. Kincaid will start and Kaminske will be one of the first players off the bench.

The two ninth-graders were stars at Seitz, where they helped lead their team to unbeaten seasons during both their seventh-and eighth-grade years.

And while neither players is Samantha Dorn – yet – Sauter said he is excited to see how they develop. 

Sauter said both of the newcomers have “very high basketball IQs,” and added that Kincaid has few holes in her game. Sauter said he expects her to score rebound and help out with ball-handling, if necessary.

But it’s not as if the two freshmen have to come in and rescue the program. The Bucs played well last season and a good number of those players are back.

Sauter said he expects all his returners to “step up” and fill the holes left by the graduated Dorn.

Riverview will start two seniors, Shannon McAlinden and Elizabeth Dalton; a junior, Isabelle Sawicki; a sophomore, Rayah Kolbusz; and Kincaid.

Junior Kylie Skidmore, who “has improved dramatically,” according to Sauter, will be one o the first ones off the bench, along with classmates Julia Klug and Tylee Hunter as well at Kaminske.

The squad is rounded out by Grace Godlewski, Mari Puga and Maelyn Sorenson. Emma Flaishan and Anastasia Stergiadis also figure into the mix, but both are coming off knee injuries and their return timeline is unknown.

Kolbusz came on the scene as a freshman last year and made an impression. She is a long-range shooting zone buster and Sauter said he expects teams to try and take her away as an offensive option for the Bucs. It therefore becomes critical for others to step up and handle the scoring when called upon.

“We’ve looked good in our preseason scrimmages,” Sauter said. “The girls are working hard and we hope to keep up the good vibes from last year.” 

Sauter said his team will play at the same breakneck pace it did last year. That means wholesale switches and lots of playing time for lots of players.

“We are very deep,” Sauter said. “We play a lot of kids and we favor a fast-break offense and pressure defense.”

The Huron League will be a difficult place to play again this season. Carleton Airport was unbeaten last year and they return all but one player. Flat Rock, too, returns a nearly intact team and the Bucs lost both times to both the Rams and the Jets a season ago.

Riverview opens the season with non-league games against defending Downriver League champ Allen Park and Dearborn Fordson before kicking off the league season against Flat Rock.

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