Senior Te’Andre King is closing in on the program scoring record and looks to cap his high school career by leading NYA’s boys’ basketball team to the tournament. File photo

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Jason Knight (eighth year, 61-71 overall record)

2018-19 record: 10-9 (Lost, 59-47, to Dirigo in Class C South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Te’Andre King (Senior), Chris Hamblett (Junior), Bryce Poulin (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 6 @ Traip, Dec. 19 SACOPEE, Jan. 9 WAYNFLETE, Jan. 22 @ Richmond, Jan. 28 TRAIP, Feb. 6 @ Sacopee

Coach’s comment: “I’m excited for the year. We’re off to a good start. It’s a bigger group this year. We have a good, core group back. A good foundation to build on. This is the most balanced team that I’ve had. We need to minimize our turnovers and spread the floor. If it all comes together, I think we can finish strong.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA got to host a playoff game last winter, but wasn’t able to advance to Augusta. This year’s team could take that next step, as some solid returners are joined by promising newcomers.

The Panthers are led by King, whose size, strength and smarts allowed him to average a league-high 24.2 points and 14.2 rebounds per game last winter. He also had three steals per contest. King, a first-team league all-star who has plenty of colleges interested in his services, will be a force in the paint and he’s on pace to break Tim DeLuca’s program record for scoring (1,401 points). Hamblett, the point guard, who led the league in steals (3.9 per game) and averaged 12.6 points and 4.4 rebounds last winter, will play a huge role as well. Poulin, who stands 6-foot-5, gives NYA’s opponents one more big man to contend with. Sophomore Elliott Oney will also see time at point guard. Sophomore guard Bryce Bernier is a defensive specialist. Sophomore guard Logan Welch comes to the program from St. Dom’s and is capable of lighting it up from behind the 3-point arc. Junior guard Sam Sinabaldi is another potential scorer to watch.

The Panthers will be pushed virtually every time out, but their skill and desire to win will allow them to push back. This squad could be on the brink of a breakthrough that could result in it being a serious contender in Class C South by the time February rolls around.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Senior Katie Larson is a key returner for an NYA girls’ basketball team coming off its best season in two decades. File photo.

Coach: Tom Robinson (second year)

2018-19 record: 16-5 (Lost, 49-31, to Boothbay in Class C South Final)

Top returning players: Carly Downey (Senior), Katie Larson (Senior), Serena Mower (Senior)

Pivotal games: Jan. 4 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 7 ST. DOM’S, Jan. 17 @ Old Orchard Beach, Feb. 4 OOB

Coach’s comment: “We’ll be athletic and fast again. We don’t have a lot of size. We’ll run a similar style to last year. I think we’ll have a lot of competitive games. We want to get back to Augusta and go from there.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA had a unique and very successful season last winter, as an infusion of girls from the erstwhile Maine Girls’ Academy allowed the Panthers to play a challenging schedule which made the team battle tested for a playoff run which didn’t end until the regional final, NYA’s best season in two decades. The Panthers are playing a more traditional schedule this time around and while standout Catherine Reid and others have departed, this year’s team should be very competitive again.

Mower was a first-team league all-star in 2018-19 and after being named NYA’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year after scoring the winning goal in the soccer state final, she’ll pace the basketball team as the point guard. Mower was second in the league in assists last season (5.6 per game). Larson has the potential to be a top scorer. Downey anchors a formidable front-line, which has an infusion this winter in seniors Anna Drummond and Emily Drummond, who transferred from Windham. Three freshmen will step right in and make an impact. Angel Huntsman, who had a big soccer season, will see time at point guard. Erin Reid, Catherine Reid’s sister, will play forward and Madeline Onorato will be at center.

NYA has established itself as a top contender in the region and this year’s team will look to build on what last year’s squad started. It might take some time for everyone to find their place, but by season’s end, the Panthers will be primed to make another deep postseason run.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Mike Warde (second year)

Players to watch: Brendan Bolduc (Senior), Jared Buckner (Senior), Clement Delisle-Blais (Senior), Damon Dulac (Senior), Julian Etauri (Senior), Cam Goodrich (Senior), Stefan Kulhanek (Senior), Felix Lesperance (Senior), Nathan Loisel (Senior), Mason Parks (Senior), Ryan Joyce (Junior), Aidan Plant (Junior), Derek Wolverton (Junior), Caleb Waterman (Sophomore), Alex Wignall (Freshman)

Coach’s comment: “Our post graduate/senior class has 13 scholar athletes, so the coaching staff of Rob Couturier, Terry Meagher, Bruce Myers and Mike Warde will rely on their maturity and leadership. We are focused on becoming a connected team through developing trust in each other on and off the ice. Once this is established, a committed team which believes in one another and has a ‘We before Me’ attitude can take place. Team chemistry among all 35 players in the program will be vital for our success.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA has high hopes this winter as it competes in the New England Prep School Athletic Council. The Panthers will measure themselves against the top Prep schools in the region, including Phililps Exeter, Milton Academy, Roxbury Latin, Groton School and Stanstead College.

The offense will be paced by Buckner, Delisle-Blais, Dulac and post-graduate student Jonathan Heise. Goodrich, Joyce, Lesperance and post-graduate student Max Cichanowicz will also be heard from. On defense, look for Bolduc, Etauri, Parks, Wolverton and Andrew Anagnostopoulos to lead the way in front of Kulhanek, Loisel, Plant, Waterman and Wignall, who will all see time in goal.

NYA has the pieces in place to win its share of games. It should be a memorable campaign for this group.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Pavel Navrat (third year)

Players to watch: Caroline Gepfert (Senior), Natalie Farrell (Junior), Beth Goodrich (Junior), Lilly Weinrich (Junior), Samantha Babbitt (Sophomore), Eliza Chace (Sophomore), Maggie Holt (Sophomore), Kimi Hurer (Sophomore), Rylie McIntyre (Sophomore), Lauren Powers (Sophomore), Carly Sanzo (Sophomore), Hanna Wentworth (Sophomore), Michala Wallace (Freshman)

Coach’s comment: “The team had nine skaters two years ago, but currently, it has over 20 players in the program, including some of the most talented local student-athletes. With only one senior, the future is bright for the program.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The NYA program continues to flourish and the Panthers are optimistic about what awaits this winter. So far, NYA has defeated Tilton and lost to Phillips Exeter and Berwick.

Babbitt, Farrell and Sanzo will pace the offense. Goodrich, Hurer, McIntyre, Wallace and Weinrich will also be heard from. The defensive side features Gepfert, who is also a top scoring threat. She’s joined by Chace and Holt. Powers and Wentworth will have opportunities to shine in goal.

Look for NYA to be involved in a lot of exciting games this winter. The Panthers will compete in the Maine Prep Cup Jan. 24-25, as well as the Skip and Dolly Howard Invitational Tournament at St. George’s School and will look to defend its title at the Pingree School tournament.

INDOOR TRACK

Coach: Chris Mazzurco (23rd year)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) no score @ Class B state meet

(Girls) no score @ Class B state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Jack Bontatibus (Senior)

(Girls) Eleanor Commons (Junior), Alev Yilmaz (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The boys’ and girls’ teams this season have very little experience, but they are learning quickly. In just a few short weeks we are seeing massive improvements and the student/athletes are starting to self-select into events. We are excited to see how the season develops and where our strengths will eventually land. There are many athletes on the team and now we all need to find how best to train and where to compete.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA will look to improve as the season goes on and some athletes will be in the mix to score at the big meets.

The boys return Bontatibus in the shot put. Junior Josh Huntsman will throw and jump, as well as compete in the sprints. Sophomores Noah Hallward-Rough (middle distance) and James Tourigny (distance) are other athletes to watch.

On the girls’ side, Commons and Yilmaz return in the sprints. Commons will also compete in the jumps. Junior Quinn Hunold will take part in the sprints and longer races and sophomore Marion Robbins will sprint and throw.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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