Dirigo’s Jayce Brophy, right, dribbles the ball upcourt against Spruce Mountain defender Summer Chretien (0) during a Mountain Valley Conference girls basketball game in Dixifeld in Dec. 2019. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal file photo Buy this Photo

Editor’s note: The Sun Journal previewed Franklin- and Kennebec-county teams as their seasons were starting last month. Now, we are previewing the Androscoggin, Oxford and Cumberland teams from the Sun Journal’s coverage area.

It’s not what’s on the outside that counts, it’s what’s on the inside.

However, the Dirigo girls basketball team hopes that what is on the outside also counts this season.

Second-year coach Reggie Weston said that the Cougars aren’t blessed with great height, but the players “will work hard and use technique and quickness to make up for it.”

The Cougars max out at 5-foot-10, with returning juniors Alyvia Perreault and Megan Fletcher and newcomer senior Karlei Carrier standing that tall. No one else is taller than 5-foot-8.

Weston, not surprisingly, said the team needs to work on its post play.

“We can make moves, just need to recognize opportunities inside more,” he said.

Dirigo’s perimeter play will be important.

“We feel that we have good athletes and can shoot, handle and pass the ball pretty well and are not afraid to shoot,” Weston said.

Senior Page Lueders is a returning starting guard for the Cougars, who have three other returning seniors in fellow guard MacKenzie Osgood and forwards Alexa Perreault and Allie Dyke. Also returning in the backcourt are junior Abby Stevens and sophomores Jayce Brophy and Grace Robbins. Junior Destiny Jackson can play both guard and forward, while sophomore Kallie Errington is another frontcourt option.

The Cougars finished one spot outside the postseason last year, and while there’s no state playoffs this season, the pieces are in place for success.

“We feel we have pretty good team bonding and teamwork,” said Weston, who also coached at Dirigo from 2007-14.

BUCKFIELD BUCKS

Tammy Tatlock, a former assistant coach at Washburn, takes over a program that features mostly young and inexperienced players. However, Tatlock said the players are “enthusiastic, dedicated and have been working hard to become a cohesive team.”

Senior forwards Cassidy Lowell and Shyloe Morgan will be tasked to lead a Bucks team that graduated five seniors. Juniors Kailie Bernard and Alyssa Litchfield are also key returners from last year.

“I expect to see a lot of improvement and growth as the season progresses,” Tatlock said.

EDWARD LITTLE RED EDDIES

The Red Eddies look very different from last year, due to graduation and opt-outs. Fourth-year coach Chris Cifelli said six underclassmen will be seeing substantial varsity action.

Underclassmen from a season ago, juniors Nikkie Clark, Madi Turcotte and Shelbi Teehan, will now be tasked with leading this Edward Little squad, along with returning sophomore Erin Cowie. Cifelli said those four are being thrust into key roles.

“Making this transition easier is how enthusiastic the team is and how eager they are to be coached,” Cifelli said.

What the Red Eddies lack in experience, they make up for in their versatility. Cifelli said they will be able to different looks to opponents and be difficult to game plan against.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER PATRIOTS

Gray-New Gloucester started five seniors a season ago, and their graduations leave the Patriots’ with a big void to fill.

The Patriots have four returners, but senior forwards Sarah Fecteau and Gabriella Sernyk both missed much of last year due to injuries. Sophomore guards Emma West and Brooke Martin each played key reserve roles for last season’s team that made it to the Class A semifinals a year after the Patriots won their second Class B state title.

“With a relatively inexperienced group of players, the team will work hard and progress as the season moves along,” 10th-year coach Mike Andreasen said. “As the players gain valuable game experience, the team should continue to improve.”

LEAVITT HORNETS

Chris Marston, a former St. Dom’s girls coach, takes over the Leavitt program, and it’s one that includes some experienced returners.

Despite that experience, Marston said acclimating to his style and system will need to be accelerated due to the shortened season this year. Developing depth early will also be key, Marston said, adding that it will be critical to the style and tempo that he wants his Hornets to play.

“The girls seem energized about everything we are trying to do,” Marston said. “Hopefully that allows us to hit the ground running.”

LEWISTON BLUE DEVILS

Craig Jipson, the longtime Edward Little coach, takes over the program at rival Lewiston. He has been handed the keys to a veteran team, featuring four seniors in Emily Strachan, Myah Nicolas, Jamyah Nicolas and Lauren Foster.

Junior Alexis Freeman and sophomore Masya Way are also returners for the Blue Devils.

Jipson will be tasked with replacing departed seniors Maddie Foster, CC Racine and Jordyn Rubin, but he has seven newcomers who should all see varsity action.

The Blue Devils showed their potential in a resounding season-opening victory over Edward Little.

LISBON GREYHOUNDS

Jeremy Williams, previously an assistant and JV coach for the Lisbon boys team, takes over a rebuilding Greyhounds girls program.

Lisbon lost its entire starting five from a year ago, and return only two players (senior Emma Willey and sophomore Emily Libby) from last year’s playoff squad.

Williams said this year’s team features a number of players who have not played in a few years and are just getting back into basketball.

“We hope to build some strength in our young girls for the coming years,” Williams added.

MOUNTAIN VALLEY FALCONS

Mountain Valley has a young squad this year, but the Falcons do return senior guard Rylee Sevigny, one of the most dynamic players in the conference.

Sevigny is the lone senior on the team, and junior Autumn Freeman is the only other returning starter, but juniors Emily Richard and Alana Young and sophomore Emma Clukey all were major contributors last year as well.

“We are in a position where our youth will have to play quality minutes and carve out significant individual roles,” third-year coach Craig Milledge said.

Mountain Valley’s high expectations remain, despite graduating three starters from last year’s team that finished No. 4 in Class B South. Milledge said those expectations “start with a commitment to intensity and discipline on the defensive end of the floor.”

He said his players, which include a plethora of freshmen, all understand and accept their roles and hold themselves accountable.

OAK HILL RAIDERS

The Raiders turn to previous JV coach and varsity assistant Dale Gamage to run the program this season. He takes over an Oak Hill team that brings back plenty of experience from last year’s squad that earned the No. 2 seed in Class B South.

There are four returning seniors: guard Audrey Bauer, forwards Audrey Dillman and Anna Beach and center/forward Peighton Theriault.

“The seniors … are looking to leave a positive and winning attitude for the season,” Gamage said.

The returning junior class is even bigger, and Gamage said they are vital to the team’s success. Now upperclassmen, Gabby Chessie, Amara Denise, Bri Dumais, Emily Dillman and Paige Gonya all contributed last year as sophomores to Oak Hill’s 14-4 regular season.

Sophomore bigs Ariana Thibeault and Peyton Gonya add to what Gamage said is a strong bench. Freshman guard Aubrey McElhaney will also get time on the court for Oak Hill this season.

OXFORD HILLS VIKINGS

The two-time defending Class AA state champs said goodbye to six seniors last year. Longtime Vikings coach Nate Pelletier said this year’s team has a lot to prove, but the players are ready for the challenge.

That starts with a trio of seniors in Cassidy Dumont, Ella Kellogg and Viktoria Sugars, who can find their own way to go out on top despite not being able to play for another state tournament this season. Juniors Chloe Estes and Celia Melanson — returners from last year’s squad — and Katie Hallee and Brooklyn Alexander can start the build-up to their final years next season.

“(The players) have a ton of potential and will grow tremendously through the season,” Pelletier said, adding that the team plans to push the tempo and use its speed to its advantage, something it did successfully the past two seasons.

POLAND KNIGHTS

Poland brings back seven players with varsity experience as Jake Webb jumps from JV coach and varsity assistant to the head varsity coach this year. Webb calls this a building year for the program.

The Knights only have one senior, guard Jordan Kohtala, and an otherwise young group. It’s also an athletic group, according to Webb.

Look for breakout years from Emma Gagne, Emma Bunyea and Gabbi Bolduc.

Webb said the goal for the season is “making positive growth in the program (and) working on building a foundation to be a very competitive team going forward.”

RANGELEY LAKERS

Rangeley, a perennial power in Class D South, returns just one senior (Ellah Smith) but also has three returning juniors in Winnie LaRochelle, Emily Eastlack and Abi Madrid. Sophomore guard Isabelle Whittier is also back from last year.

The Lakers got a late start to the season, compared to other teams in Franklin County, but second-year coach Brittany DiPompo said the players have been working hard despite not knowing the season will be like.

When Rangeley does take the court, the roster is filled with players looking to be an offensive threat. Still, there is room to grow toward consistency on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.

ST. DOM’S SAINTS

After a memorable regular season that saw them earn the No. 4 seed in Class C South, the Saints turn to assistant Lexi Grondin as their new head coach for this season.

Grondin, a 2018 Poland graduate, will be working with a roster that includes no seniors. But she’ll also be without the services of three graduates who played a big part in last season’s success. Juniors Jessie Zimmerman and Bella Perryman are key pieces back from last year’s team, and classmates Bennie Yombe and Pilar Hewey, as well as sophomore Ava Apodaca, are returning players.

Junior guard Sydney Dick and freshman forward Gabby Roman are new additions to the team.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.