A core of returning players and a coach now in his second year leading the team may equal more wins on the court for the Eagle girls this season.
“We have a lot of [players] back,” said Coach Bill Case, who took on the role of head coach last year, steering a young team to the opening playoff game after a surge in the second half of the season.
Case sees the team’s “better experience, better skills,” paying off. “I’m pretty optimistic this year. I think we can go farther than we did last year. In fact, my goal is for the girls to beat just about anybody by January, including Class B teams.”
Starting seniors Megan Nowland and shooting guard Alice Dillon will be joined by junior Hanna Gutow and sophomore center Morgan Dauk, all of whom practiced in the off season, noted Case.
“Hanna [Gutow] has improved her shot quite a bit,” he said. “Morgan [Dauk] lives in the gymnasium. She was our top scorer and rebounder last year. She’s dramatically improved.” Opposing teams routinely double-team Dauk on the court, he added, which “will be a challenge.”
Juniors Katrina Limeburner and Margaret Brooks are also in the mix for starters, while “my people off the bench are [juniors] Cora Gray, Megan Gayle, Alyson Snow,” Case said. Freshmen Mazie Smallidge and Emma Crosby will swing between junior varsity and the varsity squad.
Rebounding is one of the team’s strengths this year, Case said. “We’re just a little bit quicker in working on defensive rebounding and rebounding, in general.”
“Our biggest challenge is shooting. We outplayed a whole lot of [teams] last year but didn’t win because of our lack of scoring,” Case said.
In November scrimmages, the team outscored Ellsworth in the first half, and followed up with a close game against Machias and a decisive win against Sumner. They open against Piscataquis on December 9, and then face Class B Bucksport two days later.
“We look pretty good right now,” Case concluded. “I think we have a good chance.”