After winning 11 games a year ago, the Gray-New Gloucester girls’ basketball team is poised for another successful season.
The Patriots, who lost in the Western B quarterfinals last year, return veterans from last year as well some young players that showed great promise last winter.
“Altougth four of our top six are sophomores, we consider this to be a relatively experienced team, as all of the sophomores played a key role a year ago,” Gray-NG coach Mike Andreasen said.
Senior forward Maria Valente returns after leading the team in scoring the past three years. Fellow senior Zoe Adams also returns in the post. Sophomores Alicia Dumont, Skye Conley, Isabelle DeTroy and Grace Kariotis all saw time as freshmen and contributed to last year’s success. Dumont is a great ball handler and helped run the offense in the backcourt while Kariotis is an outside shooting threat. Conley plays well in the post.
Even the players new to the varsity team have some experience. Seniors Sara Carder and Crystal MacLean both saw some action last year and give the Patriots some added depth.
“The team looks to play up-tempo and play pressure defense and hopes to balance the scoring,” Andreasen said. “A playoff appearance is possible if all players settle in on their roles and the team plays as a cohesive unit.”
Though Lake Region has been a force in recent years and won the state title after going 21-1, the Lakers lost Tiana-Jo Carter and have a much younger team. The Lakers still have a solid supporting cast back. That could still make them a tough foe.
Wells lost in the regional final and was a senior-laden team. The Warriors will be rebuilding after going 18-3. Greely went 14-4 and was ranked fourth before losing in the semifinals. The Rangers should be a solid team and contend once again
Fryeburg and York were both playoff teams and should also be in the tourney hunt.
Poland finished 10th in Western B at 9-9 before losing to the Raiders in the preliminaries. The Knights lost some veteran talent but return senior guard Michaella Arsenault and forward Caroline Littlefield.
“Of our 13 players, five are seniors and five are freshmen,” Poland coach Mike Susi said. “While we have a strong senior class with solid leadership, only three players return with much varsity experience.”
The Knights are still shooting for a tourney berth and could have the talent to make it happen if new players can adjust to the varsity level.
Teams like Freeport (8-10) and Cape Elizabeth (9-9) had good records, but missed the postseason last year. They should be in the playoff hunt once again.
In Class C, Old Orchard Beach won 13 games but lost in the first round while Waynflete won 12 before losing to Carrabec in the quarterfinals. Both teams lost a number of seniors. OOB has a solid senior class back while the Flyers have a young team returning. Both Traip and Sacopee Valley graduated veteran talent but could have enough back to push for a tourney berth.
Teams from outside the WMC could be factors in the Western B playoff hunt. Spruce Mountain was second last year and returns most of that team that lost in the regional semifinals. Lincoln Academy won 15 games last year while Oak Hill won 14 and earned the eighth seed before losing to York in the prelims.