Last season’s team, which had two seniors, defeated Colonel Richardson 64-33 in the East Region quarterfinals before falling to Cambridge-SD 64-49 in semis.
This season’s success will depend on how fast the players develop.
“I want them to have fun and I want them to learn the game because if they intend on playing the next year, I want them to have a whole lot of knowledge in basketball under their belt,” Jackson-Smith said. “They’re soccer players, field hockey players, that type. I have athletes who really don’t know the game of basketball and they’re in transition of learning, and thus far I’ve seen some remarkable things from them.”
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.”
The Bulldogs are loaded with juniors and have three seniors including guard Mya Phillips. The roster includes Sarah Taylor, Kayla Price, Umma Thomas, Megan Robbins, Lakyzha Moaney, Kayla Carr, Tyasia Towson, Daejor Phillips, Milinalli Gomez, Johnae Hines, and Jasmonet Fletcher.
“They’re young, so we’re going to have to work hard to get down our offense, but once we get it down I think we have eight or nine capable players of giving us good minutes,” first-year varsity head coach Kevin Smith said. “Nobody really stands out as like a star player, but we have about four or five players that could have double digits on any night. I think we’ll be balanced, but we’re young.”
David Morrissette, who coached Cambridge-SD for a six-season stretch, takes over a program with the idea of building toward the future.
The Eagles are led by juniors Nicole Waples (guard), forwards Jamaya Conaway and Tonia Cephas, and sophomore Kendall Clough, who can play guard or forward. Junior Kalifa Warren, who played as a freshman, is back after a year away and will see time at point guard.
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/for ward 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.”
After not fielding a team for the 2014-15 season, the Saints returned to the hardwood last season with an eight-player roster — six of which had never played. Second-year head coach Bob Bennett had 14 come out this season, and could picked up two additions over the next few weeks.
Juniors Jasmin Robinson (F) and Gracyn Colborn (G) form the nucleus, along with sophomore Lydia Shreves, who will run the point.
Bennett knows the bulk of his time will be spent teaching the game, with hopes his team can be ready for the playoffs.
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.
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.).