Basketball Skills Boost Thomas’ Tinnerello

If Thomas Worthington’s women’s lacrosse team is like the basketball team, it’s by design. Freshman coach Kendall Horner installed a new offense that uses screens, pick-and-rolls, and other similar multiplayer sets on the hardwood.

For senior Josie Tinnerello, the fit has been second nature. Tinnerello was a post player on the basketball team for the past three seasons.

“His court awareness and his spatial awareness and his ability to see plays develop, I think a lot of his strengths come from his basketball background,” Horner said. “It’s not very common – at least in our team – to have children who play these two sports. But there are a lot of skills that translate. I think she fits perfectly into our midfield (and our attack) thanks to her experience in basketball.

Normally a midfielder, Tinnerello has joined a talented group in attack that includes Cate Isaacson, Amanda Armstrong and Sarah Forman. All are capable of getting their shot in a one-on-one situation, but Horner’s approach on offense seems to involve more players.

“What we’re doing this year is very, very different from what we’ve done in the past,” Horner said. “We really focus on creating a super dynamic attack where any player can score at any time. (We) work within a structure, but (also) are creative from that.

“Josie is a creative player and really enjoys working with her teammates to execute the two-man game. She likes to use flips, pick-and-rolls, back-and-forths, and draw-and-dunks. This is what makes an offense dynamic.

Tinnerello, a southpaw, had 16 goals and four assists in Thomas’ first seven games. She averaged 8.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in basketball for the Cardinals, who went 11-12 last season.

In seven games, Issacson had 28 goals and five assists, Armstrong had seven goals and 12 assists, and Forman had nine goals and four assists.

Horner, who graduated from Thomas in 2011, is in her first season with the Cardinals after going 38-14-2 in three seasons at Dublin Jerome. Under Horner, the Celtics won two league titles and reached a regional title game in 2019 for the first time in program history.

Horner was an assistant at Thomas for two seasons before taking over at Jerome.

Also in the new system, the Cardinals started 3-4 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

“It was a really good change and I like the way they coach and their coaching philosophy,” Tinnerello said. “It’s been really good for this program and what this program needs to keep going further.

“We worked in pairs and set screens and stuff like that. I love putting on screens and dragging and cutting and things like that. After a screen, I’m really good at rolling, so it has a lot to do with basketball.

Tinnerello, who plans to return to midfield when she plays at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, feels her basketball background has helped her in all facets of her lacrosse game.

“The footwork with defense and the way you have to move on defense definitely correlates with basketball,” she said.

Tinnerello has been through a lot during his time with Thomas. She missed time during her freshman lacrosse and junior basketball seasons due to exertional compartment syndrome, an exercise-induced muscle and nerve condition that causes pain and swelling.

“Being absent and not being able to play was very difficult for me,” she said. “Especially my freshman year because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me at first. I think just having that (experience) made me a lot stronger. It just made me made me realize how strong I am and how well I can get through things even though I had a barrier stopping me for a while.

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