NP girls hoops starts new season with short bench
North Point girls look to return to states with 10 players on roster
In its road to reaching the Class 4A state semifinals at Towson University’s SECU Arena a season ago, the North Point girls basketball team was relatively young with just one senior.
The Eagles will not only be young again entering the 2016-17 season, but will have to adjust to playing with a short bench.
According head coach Mike Serpone, North Point has only 10 players total on the roster this season.
“This is the smallest team in num- bers that we’ve had in past years,” said Serpone, who had just 30 players com- bined for junior varsity and varsity. “It will be a lot different, but we are going to stick to what we do best.”
Riding high off a 24-3 overall record and an undefeated 12-0 mark in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Potomac Division a year ago, the defending SMAC and 4A East Region champion Eagles may be low in numbers, but will not have a drop-off as they feature a bevy of talent consisting of a
guard-heavy and quick unit.
“We want to continue to be faster than you, bring full-court defensive pres- sure and score in transition quickly,” Serpone said. “We don’t have a lot of size, so rebounding will be a challenge, but every- one has to crash and box out. We want to keep the success going that we’ve had in recent years.”
North Point, which fell to Montgomery County’s Walt Whitman in the state’s final four last season, will feature four seniors, four freshmen, a
sophomore and a junior.
The Eagles return their two leading scorers from last year in senior guard Necole Hope and Aliyah Bullock, who were also were around in the spring of 2014 when they lost to Eleanor Roosevelt of Prince George’s County in the state championship, they were only freshmen then.
Bullock averaged 10 points, four rebounds and four steals a game and was selected to the All-SMAC and All-County first teams.
“There will be more min- utes and less rotations,” said Bullock when asked about having a small ros- ter. “We’ve been playing all summer and in the fall
league at Gwynn Park we only had seven players, so we are in shape. This year we have the same expectations just like last season and that is get back to states. We have a lot of potential to match what we did last season and beyond. With having young players on the roster we will need to work on the team chemistr y.”
Hope, the reigning All-County Athlete of the Year, averaged a team-high 17.0 points per game to go with 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 steals and 1.0 blocks a game. She was also an All-SMAC first-team selection a year ago.
“We have to really be conditioned because we are going to run versus a lot of teams,” Hope said. “We have been working on a lot of zone and running in practice. We have some incoming freshmen that come right in and contribute. With the seniors’ help they have been getting used to varsity quickly.”
Aside from the fact North Point has won its region five times since 2011, the Eagles’ second unit can be promising off the bench despite being youthful.
“We have a lot newbies that are on the team that will have to adapt to playing varsity basketball,” said Serpone, who led the Eagles to a state championship in 2013. “We will have to work on some things early on in the season, but if we come together, we can make another run.”
North Point’s Nyah George, pictured here in a regular season contest versus Westlake last season, is one of four seniors who will look to be a key contributor on the girls basketball team for the 2016-17 season.
North Point’s Necole Hope, one of four seniors on the girls basketball team, returns as one of the team’s leading scorers on the Eagles for the 2016-17 season.