FALMOUTH — Danita Storey sat in the bleachers of the Family Ice Center, engaging in an interview, while others on the Greely High girls’ hockey team filed in for a practice last week. A smile occasionally crossed her face as a teammate caught her eye.

Storey likes her team. And for good reason.

Greely may be the class of the competition this year, and Storey is a major reason why. She is one of the top returning players in the state, looking to help lead the Rangers back to the state championship game.

“Danita is a dominant power forward,” said Greely Coach Nate Guerin.

Storey is one of those players that draw extra defenders. Yet she still powered her way to 33 goals and 17 assists last year.

“She’s constantly moving, which is difficult for opposing teams to defend,” said Scarborough Coach Caitlin D’Amour.

Storey played on the Greely team that beat Scarborough for the 2013 state championship. She was only a freshman as the Rangers celebrated their second straight championship.

But that 2013 team featured so many seniors. In the next season, sophomores dominated the roster.

“After freshman year, I started being more of a leader because we lost our top players. I knew I had to step up then,” Storey said.

Guerin said Storey “has really come into a leadership role on this team … just maturing and understanding the idea of a full season, and where to focus the attention and energy.”

The focus for Greely is always on building toward the end of the season. The Rangers have been the No. 3 seed in the East the past two seasons, losing in the semifinals both years by 1-0 scores.

This year, Greely is the favorite in the region (now called North). Defending state champion Lewiston graduated five starters and lost two others to prep schools. Edward Little/Leavitt and Yarmouth/Freeport/Gray-New Gloucester also lost some key players. St. Dominic could be better with a solid freshman class.

But Greely has the talent and experience. Storey is one of five seniors, along with defensemen Maura Verrill and Erin Malloy, and forwards Leah Poulin and Faith Price.

“As a whole, we have gotten a lot better,” Storey said of the seniors.

Storey has continued to improve since she started playing in the second grade – following in the skate marks of her older brothers, Timothy and Brian. She also had a cousin to play hockey with, Nicole Storey (now at Kents Hill). Another cousin, Ashley Storey, was Miss Maine Basketball for Greely last year.

Since fourth grade, Danita Storey has played for the Portland Junior Pirates, with several seasons under coach Kent Hulst, the former Portland Pirates player who is now the Cheverus High head coach.

“That’s who really taught me how to play and become the player I am,” Storey said.

She has learned well.

“I think what makes her so effective is her size, speed and awareness of the game,” said D’Amour, the Scarborough coach. “Unlike a lot of high school girl hockey players she skates with her head up … she knows where the puck is, where it’s going and where she should be. You don’t see her standing around waiting for the puck she goes to it.”

Storey began her high school hockey career with a state championship, and would like to finish it the same way.

“We’ll see how it goes,” she said.