The Dirigo girls’ basketball team may be hard-pressed to replace the talents of post players Jessica Conant and Kelsey Hutchins, but the Cougars have a returning group that should keep the club a contender.

Conant was the MVC Player of the Year, while Hutchins was a first-team pick in the MVC. Together they were a force in the paint for the Cougars. Dirigo won’t easily replace them, but the Cougars have some veteran players returning that should keep Dirigo among the top teams in the new Class C South.

The Cougars return seniors Sabrina Daoud, Lauren Henderson, Mariah LaFleur, Kenzie Lore and Emma Lueders. Juniors Kaicey Conant, Brittany Greig and Olivia Noyes are also back. That makes for a seasoned group that comes off a loss in the regional final to Maranacook.

“We’re looking to fill in those leadership positions with a good returning class of seniors,” Dirigo coach Karen Magnusson said.

The new Class C South field looks a lot like the Western C field of old, but there are a number of new additions, like Searsport, Buckfield, Hyde and Richmond.

Boothbay was the second seed in Western C last year but lost to Madison in the quarterfinals. Boothbay only graduated three from that club and could be strong again. Madison, which lost to Dirigo in the semifinals, graduated just two and has a strong senior class. Old Orchard was the fourth seed and graduated four players, including a number of starters.


Monmouth has most of its team back. The Mustangs lost in the quarterfinals after a 13-5 regular season. Seniors Mikayla Cameron, Bri Gonzalez, Maddie Stevens, Haley West and Sidney Wilson lead an experienced club that also features a number of good sophomores that played well last year.

“We’re looking to build on the continued improvement made over the last couple seasons,” Monmouth coach Scott Wing said. “The interest for playing basketball has reached its highest levels in many years. A long with a returning cast of five experienced seniors, the team will be comprised of several sophomores who earned valuable varsity and playoff experience last season. We have a goal to make it deeper into the tournament this season.”

Waynflete, Hall-Dale and Carrabec were all tourney teams last year and should be in the hunt again with the core of those teams back.

St. Dom’s went 6-12 before losing in the prelims last year. The Saints have to replace the MVC’s top scorer in Faith Grady, but have a promising young squad. The Saints have no seniors, but have a junior group led by Emily Dionne, Chloe Dwinell, Patricia Lu and Allie Veinote. Sophomores Janelle Bryant, Caroline Gastonguay, Maddy Leslie and Rileigh Stebbins are also back.

“We’re just looking at striving to improve every day,” St. Dom’s coach Jon Berry said. “We have coachable, athletic players who will compete every night. We’ll need a number of players to step up in order for our team to be successful this season, and I’m confident we’ll demonstrate great growth over the course of the season.”

Mt. Abram, Telstar and Winthrop are all trying to rebuild.


Mt. Abram won two games but return much of that team led by senior Keely Marble and juniors Sally Stevens, Marya Beedy, Shania Campbell and Alora Ross. Sophomores Lindsay Huff, Chenoa Savage and Meg Sorel also return to a team that hopes to improve on last year.

Telstar was 0-18 and played with mostly five players. The Rebels will be young but led by seniors Becca Howard, Hayley Peterson and Blair Stevens.

Winthrop was a JV team last year but return to varsity. The Ramblers have no seniors but Shie Smith, Adlin Chaparin, Bri McClure and Mattie Rice return for their third year with the program.

The C South field will feature a number of regular tourney teams from Western D, like Richmond, Searsport and Hyde. Buckfield also makes the jump to C South.

The Bucks went 6-13 last year, losing in the prelims. The Bucs lost some key players but return much of last year’s club. Seniors Alexis Bennett, Ashley Campbell and Alyssa Therriault and juniors Kali Litchfield, Abby Shields and Emily Swartz will try to lead the Bucks toward a playoff push.

“The expectations will be the same as we make the transition to Class C,” said Buckfield coach Ryan Wilkins. “The goal will be for the girls to improve individually every day and hopefully, that will translate into the team improving.”

Richmond and Searsport each made the tourney in Western D last year and lost to Rangeley in the regional final and semifinals respectively.

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