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Sophomore Bitzy Klomp is proving a crucial component of the Valley girls’ basketball team’s pressure defense this season. In addition to playing basketball, Bitzy also competes for the soccer and outdoor track squads at Valley. (Photo courtesy of Bitzy Klomp )
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Bitzy Klomp keeps herself busy throughout the school year as a three-sport athlete at Valley Regional. Bitzy, a sophomore, plays basketball in the winter, runs track in the spring, and competes for the girls’ soccer squad during the fall. Bitzy has played basketball the longest, and she’s become a key part of the Warriors’ defense with her aggressive play in the passing lanes and on traps this season. The future looks bright for both Bitzy and her young Valley club.
Bitzy’s biggest contributions on the court typically come by way of her defensive presence. The Warriors run several presses to pressure opposing players in an effort to force bad passes and get easy steals. Bitzy is almost always involved in those situations.
“Whenever I’m involved in a trap, I just kind of wait for them to make a move,” Bitzy says. “[Head Coach Jaimie Toto] is always telling me it’s like you’re a tiger waiting to pounce. Just be aggressive and try to get them to make bad decisions.”
While Bitzy feels most comfortable on defense, she also provides the Warriors with offensive options. This is especially true when Bitzy’s hawkishness on defense turns into easy offense.
“I’ve never felt that offense in basketball was my strongest quality. I’ve always been better on defense. It came more natural to me,” says Bitzy, who also plays for the CT Storm AAU basketball team in the spring. “If I get a steal, the main goal is to just sprint down and make a breakaway layup. If we run an offense, I’m looking for a shot or to make a pass to the post or to another shooter for an easy shot.”
Bitzy has also picked up some minutes playing closer to the post due to the Warriors missing a player with injury. It’s been a bit of an adjustment for Bitzy when she plays down low, although that just adds to her versatility.
“We kind of run a different offense. Coach doesn’t try to get me with my back to the basket when I’m down in the post, so it’s not all that different to me. I’m still more of a shooting forward,” Bitzy says. “I’ve been working on my shooting more and getting my percentages up. I take my threes when I have the open shot.”
Bitzy has already enjoyed some success in her career as a member of the Valley Regional girls’ outdoor track team. Last year, Bitzy got a chance to compete at the Class M State Championship as part of the Warriors’ 4x800-meter relay. It was a little intimidating for Bitzy to compete on that big stage at such a young age, but Bitzy takes pride in her accomplishment.
“I’m pretty proud of making it to states with the 4x800 team in track. As a freshman, it was just kind of unreal,” says Bitzy, an Ivoryton resident. “I just felt like I didn’t fit in there at the meet with all those older kids, but I’m glad I made it.”
As a multi-sport athlete, Bitzy spends a lot of time conditioning and working on the physical aspects of her game. Bitzy has noticed that there are significant differences in the way she has to approach each of her sports.
“Honestly, soccer and track are more longer-distance running and endurance. Basketball feels more like sprinting,” Bitzy says. “I was thinking about trying a sprinting event. I’ve gotten used to the sprinting on the floor in basketball, and I want to push myself to be faster at practices with running and sprinting.”
All that conditioning has become a way of life for Bitzy, who loves to compete day in and day out.
“I just to be really active. It’s just become my lifestyle,” says Bitzy. “I can’t imagine going through a season and not doing a sport.”
Coach Toto considers Bitzy an integral part of the defensive scheme for Valley girls’ hoops. Toto says that Bitzy’s crafty hands and ability to break down offenses allow her to be effective in a variety of spots on the floor.
“Bitzy has been a pivotal aspect in our aggressive defense this year. She reads the passes extremely well when we are in our press. She always plays a position where she goes for steals because of her quickness and ability to read the offense,” Toto says. “I’m very happy I get to coach a player like Bitzy for three years, and I’m excited to watch her grow in the sport in the time that I have with her.”
Bitzy and the Warriors have had sort of an up-and-down season that’s featured stretches of success and also some struggles. After earning a recent victory, Bitzy hopes that Valley can build some momentum during the second half of the campaign. Either way, Bitzy knows that her team is just getting started, and she’s happy that the Warriors have a top-notch coaching staff to help them along.
“I’m just thankful to have a good an experienced coach and a well-rounded team. We all work really well together. We should get some good outcomes toward the end of the season,” Bitzy says. “I really want to specifically win against all the Shoreline teams. We were down, but we just want to get back onto that winning streak and beat everyone we can.”
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