December 6, 2012

Girls' basketball preview

• CLASS A

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Tiana-Jo Carter, left, at 6-foot-2 is a strong defender as well as an offensive threat for Lake Region, the Western Class B champion.

2012 Press Herald File

20111223_GirlsBBall
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Allie Clement directs the offense for a McAuley team that will seek to win a third straight Class A state title after going 22-0 last season.

2011 Press Herald File

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BIDDEFORD

Coach: Brian Heal, third year

Last year: 4-14

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Bailey Cote, jr., F; Carissa Gelinas, soph., PG; Elyse Oliver, sr., F; Laci Gilblair, sr., F; Erica Letellier, sr., G

Outlook: The Tigers will be extremely young again, with only five upperclassmen among the 12 players. But there is young talent and, as always with Biddeford, defensive tenacity. Scoring was a problem last year and the Tigers need to find some consistent threats. Gelinas, a very heady player, and Cote, aggressive inside, will hold their own but someone else has to step up. If that comes together, Biddeford could make a playoff push.

BONNY EAGLE

Coach: Suzanne Rondeau, seventh year

Last year: 7-11

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Caitlyn Hawxwell, soph., G; Samantha Maxfield, soph., G; Samantha Campobasso, sr., PG; Shannon Sanborn, sr., F; Rebecca Howell, jr., C; Delany McCullough, soph., PG

Outlook: The Scots will be young, with eight players who are sophomores or freshmen, but look to make a playoff run. Success will depend on how quickly the young guards adjust to the varsity level. Bonny Eagle will look to push the ball as much as possible and capitalize on transition baskets. Seniors Jordan Ray and Marley Harmon will provide strong leadership.

BRUNSWICK

Coach: Sam Farrell, fourth year

Last year: 4-14

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Lauren Carlton, sr., G; Lyse Henshaw, jr., G; Julia Champagne, soph., PG

Outlook: The Dragons will be small with much inexperience. But Farrell is hopeful that once the players learn to play the system and with each other, Brunswick can make a playoff run. They have good ballhandlers, usually make good decisions and take good shots. If they can rebound the ball, the Dragons will be much improved.

CHEVERUS

Coach: Richie Ashley, seventh year

Last year: 12-8, lost in West quarterfinals

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Kylie Libby, sr., PG; Brooke Flaherty, sr., C; Mikayla Mayberry, sr., G; Victoria Nappi, sr., F; Georgia Ford, jr., G

Outlook: The Stags figure to be one of the best teams in Western Class A, a deep, talented, athletic group that can make a run at the championship. Libby is being moved to her natural position at the point, where the Stags hope to take advantage of her many talents. Look for the Stags to push the tempo as much as possible, using a bench that can go 11 deep. If the Stags can continue to develop through the season, they'll be tough to beat come tournament time.

DEERING

Coach: Mike Murphy, fifth year

Last year: 14-5, lost in West quarterfinals

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Chelsea Saucier, sr., G; Marissa MacMillan, sr., C; LeeAnn Downs, jr. G; Keneisha DiRamio, sr., G; Alexis Stephenson, sr., F

Outlook: The Rams have been one of the most consistent programs in the SMAA over the last decade and should be among the contenders again. In the 6-foot-4 MacMillan, they have a game-changer on defense and consistent inside threat. Saucier has the potential to be one of the best guards in the conference. Others will need to step up and find their roles. As the season unfolds, look for Deering to make a push for one of the top playoff spots.

GORHAM

Coach: Laughn Berthiaume, sixth year

Last year: 8-11, lost in West prelim

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Kristin Ross, sr., F; Jessica Rexrode, jr., G; Erin Smith, sr., PG; Lexi Merrifield, sr., F/C

Outlook: Ross is one of the top players in the state, but she'll be out until likely late December with an elbow injury. How the teams fares without her will be pivotal to its overall success. The team is relatively young, with six of the 12 roster spots going to sophomores and freshmen, but Gorham should still be fighting for a top playoff berth. Rexrode, already in her third year as a starter, and Smith provide solid leadership at the guard position, and Merrifield is an under-rated inside presence.

KENNEBUNK

Coach: Rob Sullivan, 17th year

Last year: 1-17

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: Sam Carey, sr., C; Doria King, sr., F; Olivia Snyder, sr., G; Betsy Craig, sr., PG; Carinn Burns, sr., F; Heather Landry, sr., F

Outlook: The Rams will still be young, with three sophomores in the top 10 players, but should get a boost from the return of Burns and Craig from injuries last year. Carey is the lone returning starter and, at 5-11, is expected to anchor the inside defense. King and Snyder should be the offensive leaders. Look for the Rams to be competitive and improve as the season progresses.

MARSHWOOD

Coach: Lee Petrie, ninth year

Last year: 16-4, lost in West semifinals

Returning starters: 0

Impact players: Hannah Ferguson, sr., F; Abby Hyson, sr., F/G; Alli Schoff, sr., G; Jillian Gori, sr., G; Megan McLean, soph., G

Outlook: A tough early schedule -- games at Deering, Scarborough and McAuley -- will test the Hawks. They should gain valuable experience in those games, which will help later in the season. Marshwood will be deep and athletic, allowing the Hawks to push the tempo as much as possible. While no starters return, several players gained valuable experience in reserve roles.

MASSABESIC

Coach: Holly McHale, second year

Last year: 5-13

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: Audrey Hoyle, sr., F; Monica St. Amand, jr., PG; Courtney Couture, sr., G; Nikki Roberge, sr., C; Jolena Lampron, jr., F

Outlook: The Mustangs graduated eight seniors from last year but are still optimistic for an improved season. They will switch to a more up-tempo game, looking to take advantage of some athletic perimeter players and a deeper bench. If the offense can produce some transition points, the Mustangs should be in the thick of the playoff race. Hoyle, the lone returning starter, looks to keep everyone on track. Lampron, who missed last year with an injury, is a nice addition.

MCAULEY

Coach: Bill Goodman, second year

Last year: 22-0, Class A state champion

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Allie Clement, jr., PG; Olivia Smith, jr., C; Victoria Lux, soph., F; Molly Mack, sr., F; Olivia Dalphonse, soph., G; Jackie Welch, jr., G; Sarah Clement, fr., G

Outlook: There may not be a team in the state with the talent, depth, versatility and defensive toughness that the Lions have. The two-time defending Class A state champs are loaded and look poised to repeat. They combine great talent in the backcourt with size and experience down low to cause matchup headaches for everyone. Clement excels at pushing the pace and making smart decisions, while Smith (6-2), Lux (6-0) and Mack (6-0) are all offensive and defensive threats. The addition of Dalphonse from Bonny Eagle makes this team even stronger.

MT. ARARAT

Coach: Kelly LaFountain, 13th year

Last year: 13-7, lost in East semifinals

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Mallory Nelson, sr., F; Kristy Willey, Sr., G; Caitlin LaFountain, jr., G/F; Chelsea Crawford, sr., G; Micaela Mitchel, sr., G/F

Outlook: The Eagles made a nice run last year and look to do the same. They have a nice returning group with experience and talent. Many of the players are interchangeable, so expect Mt. Ararat to be able to handle defensive pressure this year. As always the Eagles will play strong defense. And they've improved offensively, so this could turn into a long tournament run again.

NOBLE

Coach: John Coffin, fourth year

Last year: 2-16

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Chandler Waterman, sr., G; Amber Kelly, jr., G; Danielle Logan, jr., F; Katie Taylor, soph., F

Outlook: Ten players return from last year, giving the Knights reason to be optimistic. This will be a guard-oriented team as the Knights try to pressure and push the ball in transition as much as possible. They might struggle against teams with size, but the Knights will be gritty enough defensively to keep games close.

PORTLAND

Coach: Jan Veinot, sixth year

Last year: 2-16

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Elizabeth Donato, soph., G; Ella Purington, sr., C; Brianna Holdren, jr., G; Mariana Angelo, jr., PG

Outlook: The Bulldogs are going to be very young, with five freshmen on the varsity roster. Those players with varsity experience, such as Donato, Purington and Holdren, will need to carry a big load, and Angelo makes the move up from junior varsity to run the team from the point. Defense will be Portland's strength.

SANFORD

Coach: Kristy Parent, 12th year

Last year: 10-9, lost in West prelim

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Heather LeBlanc, sr., C; Samantha Adams, sr., G; Taylor Littlefield, sr., G; Morgan Fogg, jr., PG; Janelle Cannon, sr., F; Shelby Paiement, jr., F

Outlook: The Spartans have a strong senior class and look to erase the disappointment of last year's early playoff exit. As always, they will be a strong defensive team and they should rebound well. A key will be the offensive improvement of a team that sometimes struggled to score last year. LeBlanc provides a nice inside presence while Adams, Littlefield and Paiement can get hot from the outside.

SCARBOROUGH

Coach: Ron Cote, first year

Last year: 19-2, lost in West final

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Mary Redmond, sr., G; Ashley Briggs, soph., G; Maria Philbrick, sr., PG; Taylor Leborgne, sr., G; Courtney Alofs, sr., F; Marisa O'Toole, sr., F; Sam Sparda, soph., F

Outlook: The Red Storm should be one of the top teams in Western Class A, combining experience, athleticism and talent to form a deep team. They'll need to adjust to a new system under Cote, the longtime Biddeford coach who was an assistant at Cheverus last year. Look for them to attack teams both offensively and defensively, hoping to score transition points. When they need to play a slower pace, Redmond and Briggs should be among the leading shooters in the league. Look for another long tournament run.

SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach: Mike Giordano, 17th year

Last year: 7-12, lost in West prelim

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Danica Gleason, sr., G; Brianne Maloney, jr., G/F; Meaghan Doyle, fr., F; Maddie Hasson, fr., PG; Holly Black, soph., C

Outlook: The Riots will count on two freshmen to make the big jump to the varsity in Doyle and Hasson, but Giordano is confident they can play at that level. While the Riots will again be strong defensively, they have to develop some scorers. Gleason is moving from the point -- where she started for three seasons -- to the wing in hopes of creating more opportunities for her. Maloney and Black will provide inside scoring.

THORNTON ACADEMY

Coach: Eric Marston, third year

Last year: 11-9, lost in West quarterfinals

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Tori Lands, sr., F; Katie McCrum, soph., G; Olivia Shaw, jr., F; Lauren Leskowsky, jr., C; Aurora Connolly, sr., F; Ashley Howe, fr., F

Outlook: The Trojans look to have one of the better teams in the SMAA this year despite several key losses and injuries. In Shaw they have one of the SMAA's brightest young stars, capable of playing inside or out. McCrum gained much experience in her rookie season and is much improved. The team is versatile and deep, with many players capable of playing several positions. Look for this team to make a deep run in the playoffs.

WESTBROOK

Coach: Chris Aube, second year

Last year: 9-11, lost in West quarterfinals

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Emily Blackmore, sr., G; Ashley Richards, sr., F; Paige Baldwin, jr., C; Marissa Martel, soph., PG; Lexi Redmond, soph., C; Amber Richards, soph., C/F; Emma Riley, jr., G

Outlook: The Blazes have a nice mix of experience and youth, and also have a nice combination of players in the 5-10 range, allowing them to play a variety of styles. Look for Westbrook to push the ball a little more this year, trying to beat teams for transition baskets. But they're going to be at their best in the half-court game, where they can take advantage of their size and athleticism.

WINDHAM

Coach: Brody Artes, first year

Last year: 15-5, lost in Wests semifinals

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: Lonnie Staten, jr., F; Sam Frost, jr., G; Haley Batchelder, jr., F; Lauren Coughlin, sr., F; Sadie Nelson, fr., G

Outlook: Artes had been in the Windham boys' system for five years, coaching the freshman team the last two winters. He takes over a program that graduated a bunch of talent and experience, but still could be competitive in the SMAA. As always the Eagles will play an up-tempo game but, lacking size, a lot of their success will depend on how well they rebound.

• CLASS B

CAMDEN HILLS

Coach: Marty Messer, third year

Last year: 15-4, lost in East prelim

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Megan LeGage, sr., PG; Kristina Alex, sr., F; Jordan Knowlton, sr., F.

Outlook: With only five returning with varsity experience, the team has shown a "tremendous work ethic and drive," according to Messer. The seniors are solid and the team has a good mixture of quickness and height. Repeating last year's 15 wins might be a reach, but the playoffs are a possibility.

CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach: Chris Casterella, sixth year

Last year: 4-14

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Kisa Tabery, sr., F; Marlo Dell-Aquila, sr., G; Kate Miklavic, jr., G; Emma O'Rourke, jr., G; Mary Perkins, jr., G/F.

Outlook: Returning starters Tabery, Dell-Aquila, Miklavic, O'Rourke and solid contributor Perkins figure to be improved with a year's experience. However, wins will still be difficult to come by for an undersized team without a go-to player. The Capers will need to create offense with pressure defense and get contributions from seven newcomers.

FALMOUTH

Coach: Mari Warner, third year

Last year: 9-10, lost in West prelim

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Ally Hickey, soph., G/F; Anna Hickey, sr., G/F; Dana Basconcelos, soph., G.

Outlook: The Hickeys are the returning starters and with Basconcelos -- last year's top substitute -- will provide scoring. Senior point guard Maddie Inlow played a lot last year, as did senior guards Meg Palombo and Molly Ryan. Newcomers include 6-1 Kayla Walsh and post player Shannon Page. Falmouth will try to use a spread, read-and-react offense to utilize its athleticism. How well Falmouth defends and creates discomfort for its opponents will be a key.

FREEPORT

Coach: Jim Seavey, first year

Last year: 9-10, lost in West prelim

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Nina Davenport, jr., F; Leigh Wyman, sr., G; Aubrey Pennell, sr., PG; Jocelyn Davee, sr., F; Hannah Chase, sr., G.

Outlook: After a year as an assistant at the University of Southern Maine, Seavey is back at the high school level. His teams won state titles at Scarborough (2010) and Greely (2004). Pennell's health is a concern. She missed the majority of the games last season due to injury and "tweaked" the same injury at the end of the soccer season. Davee and Chase played sparingly a year ago but Seavey feels they were under-utilized and have the talent to play key roles. At 5-10, Davenport is a strong rebounder (9.1 rpg), tenacious defender (4.1 steals) and top scoring threat (17.7 ppg) who will have to match up against some of Class B's top inside players.

FRYEBURG ACADEMY

Coach: Sean Watson, first year

Last year: 5-13

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Kendra Fox, sr., G; Skye Dole, jr., C; Sarah Welch, jr., F.

Outlook: The 6-foot Dole led the Raiders in scoring (11.2 ppg) and rebounding (11.4) as a sophomore and has improved. Fox and Welch provide experience, and strong, athletic defense. A playoff bid could hinge on two freshmen: point guard Julia Quinn and versatile 5-9 freshman Lexi L'Heureux-Carland, whom Watson says can play anywhere from off-guard to center.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER

Coach: Mike Andreasen, second year

Last year: 10-10, lost in West quarterfinals

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Maria Valente, soph., F; Haylee Cote, sr., G; Sammie Wilkins, sr., G; Stephanie Greaton, jr., C; Michele Dehetre, sr., G.

Outlook: The Patriots have a chance to challenge the top teams in Western B with the return of starters Valente (13.6 ppg), 3-point threat Cote (11 3s in two tourney games) and Wilkins, along with varsity veterans Greaton (5-11), shooting guard Dehetre and junior forwards Julia Martell and Grace Ferguson. Last season they were 0-6 against Lake Region, York and Greely. "Those teams are typically in the semifinals. To break into the party you have to beat those teams," Andreasen said.

GREELY

Coach: Joel Rogers, first year

Last year: 17-4, lost in West final

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Jaclyn Storey, sr., F; Ashley Storey, soph., G; Caton Beaulieu, sr., G; Jordynne Copp, jr., F; Abigail Nelson, jr., F; Blais Tardiff, jr., F.

Outlook: The Storey sisters give Greely excellent size on defense. This year Jaclyn Storey looks to move her all-around game more to the perimeter. The Rangers should again challenge for the Western title but are adapting to their fourth coach in five years and are likely without three-year starter Beaulieu (back injury) until after the holiday. Greely's backups at the point are varsity newcomers.

LAKE REGION

Coach: Paul True, ninth year

Last year: 19-3, lost in state final

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Sydney Hancock, sr., PG; Tiana-Jo Carter, jr., C; Kelsey Winslow, sr. F; Sarah Hancock, soph., G.

Outlook: Athletic and ever-improving, the 6-2 Carter (15 points, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks per game) is a game-changer at both ends. Sydney Hancock was named the top player in the regional tournament last year, and True calls Winslow "one of the most under-rated players in our league." Senior forwards Savannah Devoe and Kathryn Cutting, and guards Kayleigh LePage and Miranda Chadbourne will fill various roles. Western champs in 2006-08 and 2012, the Lakers are comfortable being labeled the team to beat. "We expect when we're healthy to be able to compete with whoever we play," True said.

LINCOLN ACADEMY

Coach: Kevin Feltis, first year

Last year: 0-18

Returning starters: 5

Impact players: Merissa Look, sr., G/F; Jen Genthner, jr., C; Leslie Sandefur, soph., G/F; Danielle Pinkham, soph., G.

Outlook: Entire varsity team returns and there are still only two seniors. Genthner averaged 8 points and 8 rebounds a game as a sophomore.

MEDOMAK VALLEY

Coach: Randy Hooper, eighth year

Last year: 13-7, lost in East quarterfinals

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Amanda Hendrickson-Belloguet, sr., F; Taylor Simmons, sr., G; Hannah Marks, soph., PG.

Outlook: With KVAC Player of the Year Alanna Vose (23 ppg) taking her scoring and point guard skills to the University of New England, "our biggest challenge is to find our own identity," Hooper said. Marks worked her way up from the JV team last season to earn valuable minutes down the stretch. She, Hendrickson-Belloguet and Simmons are the only players with significant varsity experience, so senior forwards Desiree Brenner (5-10), Missy Philbrook (5-10) and Elise Wallace (5-8) need to step up. 

MORSE

Coach: Becky Roak, first year

Last year: 7-11

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: Sadia Crosby, sr., F; Megan Hixon, sr., G; Hannah Rosetti, sr., F; Signe Ostergaard, fr., PG; Emma Harrington, fr., F.

Outlook: The 5-6 Ostergaard -- the younger sister of former Morse star and current Quinnipiac sophomore Nikoline Ostergaard -- will run the show. Crosby is the only returning starter and will be helped in the post by the 5-11 Harrington and the return of the 5-10 Rosetti, who was hurt most of her junior season. The big question is how well and how quickly the five returning players mesh with seven newcomers.

OCEANSIDE

Coach: Teel Foster, fourth year

Last year: 12-6, lost in prelim

Returning starters: Not available

Impact players: Kennadi Grover, sr., F; Hannah Plourde, sr., F; Brook Dugan, jr., G.

Outlook: Grover has the ability to score, getting 22 and 16 in back-to-back wins in midseason last year.

POLAND

Coach: Darren Littlefield, second year

Last year: 6-13, lost in West prelim

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Emily Bolduc, jr., G; Michaella Arsenault, soph., G; Brittina Maheux, sr., G; Melora Lavoie, sr., F.

Outlook: Very young a year ago, the Knights came on late for key wins to make the playoffs. Littlefield believes the foundation has been set for continued improvement and many Class B coaches agree Poland is on the rise, in large part due to the backcourt of two-time WMC all-conference pick Bolduc and Arsenault, who led the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman.

WELLS

Coach: Don Abbott, seventh year

Last year: 14-6, lost in West quarterfinals

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: Allison Furness, jr., F; Nicki Moody, jr., PG; Sophie Lamb, jr., F; Jordan Agger, jr., F; Stephanie Woods, jr., G.

Outlook: Furness was an all-WMC pick as a sophomore with 14 points and 7 rebounds a game. Moody played starter's minutes and is a strong defender who loves to slash to the basket. Likewise, Lamb played a lot as a sophomore. The addition of Agger, who played at Thornton Academy the last two years, adds high-quality versatility to a high-energy team that includes varsity veterans Sydney Lachapelle (jr., G), Meghan Young (jr., F), Stephanie Woods (jr., G), and Kaielyn Tufts (jr., G). This is a team that will challenge for a top-four finish.

YARMOUTH

Coach: Jay Lowery, second year

Last year: 9-11, lost in West quarterfinals

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Grace O'Donell, jr., F; Lane Simsarian, soph., F; Sean Cahill, jr., C; Shannon Fallon, soph., G.

Outlook: Lowery is intent on creating an offensive approach that gets scoring from "all five positions." Cahill, the younger sister of Morgan Cahill (now playing at St. Joseph's) and Fallon are two players Lowery expects to improve both their scoring and all-around play. Simsarian provides shut-down defense. Junior Monica Austin, injured much of last season, could prove to be the team's top all-around player. The team has just two seniors. Only 13 players are in the program -- which is an improvement over last year when Yarmouth was down to eight players and did not have a junior varsity team.

YORK

Coach: Rick Clark, 31st year

Last year: 15-5, lost in West semifinals

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Emily Campbell, sr., F/C; Marquis MacGlashing, sr., F/C; Ruby Cribby, sr., G; Anne Graziano, jr., G; Madelin Leroux, jr., F.

Outlook: The 6-1 Campbell and 5-11 MacGlashing are four-year varsity players and complementary forces. Campbell is capable of scoring in multiple ways. MacGlashing is a rugged rebounder and inside scorer. Clark has four freshmen on the varsity -- "That's a first for me," he said -- including 5-8 forward/guard Shannon Todd, who is challenging for a starting spot. With eight returning varsity players and above-average size, York is primed to challenge defending Western champ Lake Region.

• CLASS C

BOOTHBAY REGION

Coach: Tanner Grover, first year

Last year: 13-7, lost in West semifinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Sarah Caron, sr., G; Alex Clarke, sr., F; Allison Crocker, sr., F; Morgan Crocker, soph., G; Hannah Morley, fr., PG.

Outlook: The 6-1 Clarke has worked hard to add more offense to her already strong defense and rebounding. Allison Crocker adds more inside power while Caron has a versatile offensive game. Morley's ability to handle the point guard role as a freshman is pivotal while Morgan Crocker (Allison's cousin) is a strong perimeter defender. Junior guard Abby McLellan and 5-11 freshman Avae Traina add quality depth.

LISBON

Coach: Julie Wescott, second year

Last year: 7-12, lost in West prelim

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Denise Thomas, sr., F; Bailey Madore, sr., G; Mia Durgin, soph., G; Breeann Sautter, fr., G; Adrianna White, fr., F.

Outlook: Thomas returns as leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. Madore, a key member of the state champion field hockey team, is also a proven scorer.

NORTH YARMOUTH ACADEMY

Coach: Liz Smith, fourth year

Last year: 9-10, lost in West prelim

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Charlotte Esancy, jr., F; Mallory Ianno, sr., PG; Chloe Lieshman, jr., G; Lillie Reder, sr., G.

Outlook: NYA knew it would be replacing leading scorer Morgan Scully, but a lack of offense could be especially glaring with second-leading scorer Esancy trying to come back from a concussion. Ianno is expected to handle the point and Lieshman is the top 3-point shooter. Freshman Liz McIntosh, a 5-9 forward, will probably crack the starting lineup. Sophomore Hannah Carr, a transfer from Lewiston, can add offense in the post.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH

Coach: Dean Plante, third year

Last year: 12-8, lost in West quarterfinals

Returning starters: 5

Impact players: Mackenzie Rague, soph., PG; Anna Foss, sr., F; Christina Colman, sr., C; Haley Plante, soph., G; Abby Dubois, soph., F; Daphne Allen, sr., F.

Outlook: That Colman, the center, led the team in 3-point baskets and attempts is a clear indication that the undersized Seagulls are looking to run and gun. Plante said his team will shoot between 15 and 20 3-point shots a game and look to wear teams down with pressure defense and a rotation of up to 11 players. A group of five competitive, athletic seniors, which includes defensive sparkplug Olivia Dubois at guard, has created a close-knit team that returns 11 players. OOB is likely to be a top challenger to Waynflete in Western Class C.

SACOPEE VALLEY

Coach: Chris Hughes, fifth year

Last year: 7-11

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Kristen Lyle, sr., G/F; Morgan Sanborn, jr., G; Dakota Miner, jr., F; Emma Glatzer, soph., F.

Outlook: Lyle and Sanborn, the leading scorer a year ago, should carry the scoring load with support from Miner and Glatzer. The Hawks utilized a defense-first approach a year ago in its wins but will continue to struggle against the upper echelon Class C teams, and improved Class B teams Gray-New Gloucester and Fryeburg are also on the schedule.

TRAIP ACADEMY

Coach: Paul Marquis, 13th year   

Last year: 11-9, lost in West semifinals

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Alli Barrett, jr., G; Kendra Kagiliery, jr., G.

Outlook: With Selena Lorrey now at Bowdoin after a 1,000-point career, the Rangers will have a big hole to fill and once again play a tough schedule. Seven players return, including two-time all-WMC pick Barrett, but there is only one senior on the roster. Kageliery has the green light to shoot from "anywhere." Marquis will use his bench liberally to ratchet up the tempo. Traip ran the Class C portion of its regular-season schedule last season. That will be a much tougher task this year. The Rangers may have to pull a Class B upset to make the tournament.  

WAYNFLETE

Coach: Brandon Salway, seventh year

Last year: 13-8, lost in West final

Returning starters: 5

Impact players: Martha Veroneau, sr., PG; Catherine Veroneau, sr., F; Ann Veroneau, fr., G; Rhiannan Jackson, sr., G; Leigh Fernandez, jr., G.

Outlook: The Flyers showed last year they can shoot the ball with any team. Four-year starter Martha Veroneau set Class C tournament records with 47 points and nine 3-pointers in the Western semifinal and the team set single-game and tournament 3-point records. A small group, they will continue to look to run whenever possible. Catherine Veroneau could be the key. She missed the playoffs last year with a second ACL surgery but is back and playing well. Younger sister Ann is expected to crack the starting lineup. Sophomore guards Julianna Harwood and Helen Gray-Bauer are also returning. With several tough Class B matchups on the schedule, the Flyers may suffer some losses but will be a very real threat come playoff time.

WISCASSET

Coach: Patrick Quinn, third year

Last year: 2-16

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Briana Goud, jr., F; Kasey Cromwell, jr., G; Heidi Pinkham, sr., G; Alecia Faulkingham, soph., G; Kayla Gordon, soph., F; Miranda McIntire, soph., F.

Outlook: The Wolverines have solid overall size with six players listed at 5-9, but the best attribute of the youthful team should be its speed. Quinn is hoping that leads to more flexibility. 

• CLASS D

GREATER PORTLAND CHRISTIAN

Coach: Keith Dawson, third year

Last year: 8-10, lost in West quarterfinals

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Elaine Beech, sr., G; Kim Dawson, sr., G; Clarissa Jones, fr., C; Ashlee Dawson, fr., PG; Rachel Ruel, soph., F

Outlook: The Lions have some talented players back from last year, including leading scorer Beech, and their top 3-point shooter Kim Dawson. Ruel is a newcomer who will help stabilize the defense. The players are versatile, which should give GPC a matchup advantage. If the bench develops, look for the Lions to make another playoff run with a good mix of inside and outside play.

HYDE SCHOOL

Coach: Richard Polgar, first year

Last year: 0-16

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Katie Comeaux, sr., F; Kara Fischer, sr., PG; Carolyn Moore, jr., G; Jailene Martinez, soph., F/C; Diamond Brown, fr., C; Chloe Blaylock, fr., F; Shannon Ward, jr., G

Outlook: Polgar takes over a program that has struggled with only three wins the last two years, but is optimistic. One reason is the return of Fischer, the point guard who missed last year with a knee injury. She settles everyone down. Hyde has a good mix of inside-outside potential, allowing Polgar to play an aggressive style. Defense will be stressed.

PINE TREE ACADEMY

Coach: Norm McGuire, second year

Last year: 4-11

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Becky McGuire, jr., PG; Allison Verrill, soph., G; Kim Emerson, soph., C; Rebecca Moore, jr., F; Haley Laforest, sr., F

Outlook: The team doesn't have as much depth this year, with only nine on the roster, but has some great young talent. McGuire and Verrill are clutch offensive players. Emerson, a 6-2 transfer from Class A Mt. Ararat, will provide the Breakers with something few Class D teams have -- a big inside threat at both ends of the court.

SEACOAST CHRISTIAN

Coach: Charlie Johnson, 10th year

Last year: 16-4, lost in West semifinals

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Shannon Kunz, sr., F; Kylene DeSmith, soph., PG; Kristin Wittner, soph., F/G

Outlook: The Guardians are a perennial playoff contender, and this year shouldn't be any different. But the task might be harder. Seacoasat Christian graduated a lot of talent and needs some young players to step into bigger roles this year. Kunz, a three-year starter, will provide much of the leadership. As usual, look for them to play at a half-court pace. The Guardians have several nice ballhandlers who will work the perimeter.

-- Compiled by staff writers Mike Lowe and Steve Craig

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