It was the first day of practice this offseason and there was not much teaching that needed to be done for Burrell girls basketball coach Meghan Ziemianski.
That is what happens when you return all of your starters from a 24-win team that reached the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals.
"It is kind of crazy, it's the first day of practice and the girls know most of the offensive and defensive sets," Ziemianski said. "It is different. You get so spoiled having what we have."
The Buccaneers (6-0, 1-0) have a talented, experienced team. Burrell opened the season by winning the Seneca Valley tipoff tournament title, knocking off Class AAAA programs Fox Chapel and Seneca Valley. They also posted non-section wins against perennial power Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Indiana and Valley before winning their first section game against Leechburg, 64-14.
With a team loaded with experience that won the Class AA Section 1 title last season, the Buccaneers would seem to have lofty expectations. Ziemianski said her team is not looking past anyone.
"We try not to jump ahead," Ziemianski said. "I don't even know if we have any goals set. We go in with confidence to play anyone.
"With their experience, they walk in and they are not afraid of any team."
Burrell has played against one of the top players in the state, Fox Chapel's 6-foot-3 senior forward Erin Mathias, a Duke University recruit. The Buccaneers defense held her to two field goals and one free throw.
"We had somebody fronting her and stayed behind her and we pressure the guards," Ziemianski said.
The difficult competition early in the season was by design and the Buccaneers still have remaining non-section games against Keystone Oaks and Greensburg Salem along with participating in the State College Tournament beginning Dec. 27.
"I think after all the work that we put it in during the summer, it was nice to start off with games like those," Ziemianski said. "It was nice to see competition, otherwise I think we would get kind of sluggish to be honest. We played tough competition all offseason. In the fall league we were playing tough teams."
Burrell's returning starting lineup consists of senior guards Jaila Manga and Kelsey Oddis, senior forward Jessica Cercone, junior point guard Sydney Bordonaro and sophomore guard/forward Natalie Myers. Junior guard/forward Erika Finn also sees starting time.
"We say we start six," Ziemianski said. "I have six starters -- you never know who is going to start."
Myers had a double-double against Indiana scoring 16 points and collecting 15 rebounds. Myers also had 15 rebounds against Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.
"She is just an all-around player," Ziemianski said. "It is not unlike her to get a rebound and take it the whole way down and start and run the play. We run her at almost every position. I think the experience from last year helped her mature drastically. She is much more of a threat this year."
Burrell will play at State College tonight in the State College holiday tournament. They resume section play next Friday against Apollo-Ridge.