With hardly any size and a small roster, Buckfield has a small margin for error this season.
“Our team is not big in numbers or in size, so it will be critical for us to remain healthy in order to show improvement,” fourth-year coach Ryan Wilkins said.
The Bucks faced a similar scenario last year, but showed a willingness to play physical. That, too, is a risky strategy this year, because they can’t afford to get into foul trouble.
To deal with their lack of numbers, the Bucks will play a mix of man-to-man and zone defenses and won’t press much.
They’ll also have to pick their spots on offense, know when to attack and when to pull up. They also want to get some shots.
“That’s our big thing,” Wilkins said. “We had a big struggle with turnovers the last couple years, so I stress to them any possession for us that ends in a shot is a good possession.”
Junior Hannah Shields and Katy Henderson are among the top returners from a team that went 3-15. Wilkins is also excited about the preseason play of Siana Jacobs.
Buckfield is going through a tough rebuild as a small Class C school, but has shown improvement, having won 15 games in Wilkins’ three years after winning 15 in the previous five.
Wilkins hopes that the team will improve and enjoy playing so that maybe, eventually, the numbers game will turn in their favor.
“So you try to keep it a little loose, try to keep it fun, but at the same time try to set goals that are somewhat attainable so they want to stick with it,” Wilkins said.
Coach: Ryan Wilkins (fourth year)
Conference: East-West; Class: C South
Last year’s results: 3-15
Returning athletes: Seniors — Carly Trimm, Seneca Jacobs, Thea Quick; Junior — Hannah Shields; Sophomores: Katy Henderson, Deja Bennett.
Key losses: Kali Litchfield, Abby Shields.
Promising newcomers: Sophomore — Karen McNeil; Freshmen — Siana Jacobs, Cassidy Lowell, Shyloe Morgan.