NP girls hoops starts new sea­son with short bench

North Point girls look to re­turn to states with 10 play­ers on ros­ter

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­

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.

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