De­spite losses, Bucs still class of North

Lions should give de­fend­ing divi­sion, Class 2A East Re­gion cham­pi­ons run for money

Record Observer - - Sports - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

A new sea­son brings five new head coaches and a new crop of play­ers into the fray as the MidShore’s high school girls’ basketball teams get un­der­way.

Last sea­son’s North Bay­side cham­pion, Kent Is­land, com­pleted an un­de­feated reg­u­lar sea­son and won the Class 2A East Re­gion ti­tle be­fore fall­ing in the state semi­fi­nals. The Buc­ca­neers topped Queen Anne’s County 6931 in the re­gion semifinal and de­feated Elk­ton 80-38 in the fi­nal.

The Bucs should be solid again de­spite the loss of Olivia Diphilippo (Shenan­doah Uni­ver­sity) and Maya Robin­son (Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege). They were so dom­i­nant last sea­son, their en­tire ros­ter gained ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing at the var­sity level. High-scor­ing Se’Ri Miles is back along with a con­tin­gent of tal­ented ath­letes.

Also with plenty of ath­letes returning, Queen Anne’s should be a top team in the Bay­side Con­fer­ence de­spite pre­sea­son in­juries.

The Class 1A pic­ture seems a bit fuzzier with ros­ters filled with un­der­class­men, but Cam­bridgeSouth Dorch­ester should again be the team to beat. The Vik­ings reached the East Re­gion fi­nal last sea­son where they fell to Po­comoke.

Here’s a look at this sea­son’s lo­cal teams:

Kent Is­land The Bucs will start four se­niors that saw plenty of ac­tion last sea­son. Se­nior Nina Ci­fo­lilli will play point guard and will be joined in the back­court by se­nior Han­nah Moran and ju­nior Se’Ri Miles. Se­niors Ali Patch­ett (for­ward) and Jahtera Kaih (cen­ter) com­plete the start­ing five.

“We’ll have a pretty good ro­ta­tion this year be­cause hav­ing four se­nior starters we need to get some of the younger play­ers in,” Bucs head coach David Plumer said. He said fresh­man guard Blair Goodrich will likely see ex­tended time on the court along with ju­nior guard Alex Tiepe and ju­nior cen­ter Lexi Dodge.

“Be­tween Jahtera and Lexi, I think it’s go­ing to take both of them to do Olivia’s job but with Ali Patch­ett be­ing a post player to help guide them through,” Plumer said. “The point guard po­si­tion is ob­vi­ously a tough po­si­tion to re­place be­cause they’re your quar­ter­back and they’re con­trol­ling the tempo and the flow of the game for you out there. But Nina was a backup to Mya last year, so she got ex­tended min­utes. We’re com­pletely con­fi­dent she can come in and do her job … a lot of ex­tended games for us, a lot of ex­tended min­utes for kids that are still with us now, and some ex­pe­ri­ence from a player like Se’Ri. She’ll lead the way for sure. She’s ex­pe­ri­enced and has tasted that fi­nal four, so there’s def­i­nitely some mo­ti­va­tion to do some big things again this year as well.”

Queen Anne’s The Lions limp into the sea­son, but have a solid cast of returning ath­letes that should make them one of the con­fer­ence’s best.

Se­niors Emma Hill and Madi­son As­cione and ju­nior Al­lie Har­ris are in­jured but are ex­pected to re­turn. The seven other play­ers on the ros­ter are sopho­more for­ward Makenzy Hu­dock, se­nior guard/for­ward Emily Poad, se­nior guard Mea­gan Luke­hart, ju­nior for­ward Kelly Ca­vanagh, se­nior guard Becka Clay, sopho­more guard Shan­non Dono­van, and se­nior for­ward Kai­ley Boomer.

“I thought we could just pick up where we left off but then we had all these in­juries,” Lions head coach Mike Kern said. “So it’s

kind of slowed us up a lit­tle bit, but the good thing is we’re go­ing to get other peo­ple play­ing time and ex­pe­ri­ence and that’s go­ing to make us bet­ter when they all get healthy.”

The en­tire team is made up of multi-sport ath­letes. Once the Lions get ori­ented to play­ing basketball again, Kern ex­pects his team to pro­duce offense through­out the lineup.

“We’ll be well-rounded scor­ing-wise; it’s not go­ing to be just Emma and Kelly,” he said. “We’re very ath­letic. A lot of them didn’t touch a basketball un­til Novem­ber 15th, so we’re try­ing to get the rust off, try­ing to im­prove our fun­da­men­tal skills.”

Sts. Peter & Paul Head coach Mark Pot­ter likes the Sabres’ depth. Last sea­son’s team, which reached the East­ern Shore In­de­pen­dent Ath­letic Con­fer­ence ti­tle game, con­sisted of seven play­ers. He’s got a dozen this sea­son, although five are fresh­men.

Han­dling the point is sopho­more Cat Chris­tian. Round­ing out the starters are ju­nior guard Caro­line Mur­phy, se­nior guard/ for­ward Jen­nifer Dou­glas, se­nior for­ward Me­gan Hickey, ju­nior cen­ter Sarah Rust, and ju­nior guard/for­ward Ju­lia D’Alb­ora.

Sopho­more guard Sophia Marciniak will see plenty of time along with fresh­men point guard Karis Ward and guard Caro­line Shilling.

Round­ing out the squad are fresh­men for­ward Sa­man­tha Har­ring­ton and guards Bre­anna Mood and Chris­tiana Mood.

“I think that as long as we can con­tinue to de­velop, we’re go­ing to be bet­ter than we have been the last two years,” Pot­ter said. “We’re more ath­letic over­all and we fi­nally have a lit­tle depth com­ing off the bench.”

Mike Be­lasco is co-coach­ing with Pot­ter this sea­son.

Gun­ston The Herons grad­u­ated six from a team that won three games last sea­son.

Head coach Jim Mee­han hopes to build around four re­turn­ers — Bren­nan Paddy (Jr.), Ryleigh Paskoski (Jr.), Marisa Pis­apia (So.) and Heidi Bar­cus (Jr.). Af­ter lay­ing a foun­da­tion last sea­son, Mee­han will try and ex­pand this sea­son with a mo­tion offense, work­ing in the likes of guards Alice Agee (Sr.), Momoka Watan­abe (Jr.), Annabelle Gille­spie (Fr.) and Lily Judd (Fr.).

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Kent Is­land’s Se’Ri Miles drives past Elk­ton’s Vanessa Dunn dur­ing last sea­son’s Class 2A East Re­gion cham­pi­onship.

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