It will be a challenge for the Gray-New Gloucester girls’ basketball team to top what it did last year during the regular season.

The Patriots went 17-1 and then lost in the Western B semifinals.

Gray-NG lost a wealth of talent from that team, but still has a core back that should keep the Patriots competitive in the new Class B South.

The Patriots graduated a number of veteran players, including 1,000-point scorer Maria Valente and all-conference forward Zoe Adams, whose injury late in the season left the Patriots undersized in the post in the tourney.

Gray-NG returns four starters from last year. Juniors Skye Conley, Alicia Dumont, Grace Kariotis and Izzy DeTroy are all back, giving the Patriots some experience inside and some playmaking in the backcourt. Gray-NG will have to acclimate the younger players to bigger roles, but the Patriots have the experience to be a threat again this season.

“If the team can find consistent scorers, then it will again be dangerous come tournament time,” Gray-NG coach Mike Andreasen said.

The new A South will feature a number of successful programs like Lake Region and Maranacook, which won the Western C title last year. Freeport, Poland, Yarmouth, Lincoln, Spruce Mountain, Wells, Oak Hill, Mountain Valley, Lisbon and Sacopee Valley are all in the A South mix.

Spruce Mountain went 18-0 in the regular season before losing to Cape Elizabeth in the first round. The Phoenix graduated seven regulars from that squad. The only experienced players back for Spruce Mountain are seniors Emily Hogan and Rylee Moore, and junior Alex Bessey.

Coach Chris Bessey said his team will play a different style and try to keep games in the 40s, but hopes his team can challenge for a tourney spot.

“We still feel like we are a playoff team with the new five classes and the experience of the three players that do return,” Bessey said. “We have a good mix of younger players that will assume bigger roles this year.”

Poland won a preliminary game and reached the quarterfinals for the first time last year. The Knights (10-10) graduated a number of regulars from that club. The only returning players include sophomores Nathalie Theriault, Lexi Grondin and Morgan Brousseau, and senior Sarah Bolduc, who missed last year with an injury.

“We will be young but very fast and athletic this season,” Poland coach Mike Susi said. “That speed is something we will seek to use to our advantage. Our greatest challenge will be how we adapt to new roles and grow into experienced varsity players as the season goes on.”

Oak Hill went 12-6, but struggled down the stretch and lost to the Knights in the prelim. The Raiders graduated six players but have some players back that saw time last year, including seniors Sara Noel, Jamie Prue and Grace Sabine, and juniors Maddy Bennett, Emma Hlister, Bri Mulherin and Charlotte Waterman. Senior Brooke DePuy is also back but has been out with a knee injury and won’t be back until later in the season.

“After losing six players to graduation, developing depth will determine how successful this season will be,” Oak Hill coach Charlie Castonguay said. “There will be four new players to the team including three freshmen.”

Lisbon went 5-13 last year and will be young with just one senior, Bree Sautter. The Greyhounds have a solid junior group with Kaylin Le, Jasmin Le, Kipri Steele, Ali Sult, Kate Philbrick and Bree Daigle.

“Although we are pretty young with only one senior on our team, we bring back some experience with the junior class that played key minutes as sophomores,” Lisbon coach Julie Petrie said. “We are speedy and will look to play an up-tempo game. Our hope is to improve each game and to battle for a playoff spot by the end.”

Mountain Valley finished 15-6 and last in the Western C semifinals last year. The Falcons have much of that team back but are now in B South, making it a bigger challenge. Among the veteran players returning are seniors Karen Flaherty, Sydney Petrie and Tori Ryerson and a season group of juniors in Liza White, Ashley Russell, Emily Laubauskas, Emily Billings and Julia Perry. The team is adjusting to an injury to Perry, the team’s returning point guard.

“We will need to adjust roles and have other players take on new responsibilities,” Mountain Valley coach Ryan Casey said. “Developing a new point guard on the fly will be key.”

Lake Region and Lincoln both made the tourney last year in Southern B. Maranacook graduated six starters from a 15-3 team that won the regional title in Southern C. Sacopee also made the tourney in Southern C last year.

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