Blue Hill—The 2017-18 high school basketball season is officially under way, and the George Stevens Academy girls team has one goal—making it back to the Cross Insurance Center.
The team will have a different look both on the court and on the sideline this season, as senior and 1,000-point scorer Morgan Dauk, who graduated last year, and longtime head coach Bill Case will be absent from the bench.
At the helm this year is Brandi Ensworth, a young coach who said she has had the opportunity to learn from “some amazing coaches” as she enters her first head coaching stint at the varsity level.
Replacing Dauk is a task Ensworth said will be impossible, but there are some key players who will have to step up in leadership roles on the court if the team wants to have the same regular season success it had last year at 16-2.
“I think when you have a player like [Dauk], there is no replacing her,” said Ensworth. “She was a tremendous athlete and one of the best to come through George Stevens Academy.”
One of the people Ensworth will look toward to help fill the gap is senior Mazie Smallidge, who averaged 12 points a game last year.
“She is our fastest and tallest girl on our team, a great defender, and can finish around the rim,” she said.
Another key player this year is junior Mallory Charette, a powerhouse weak side rebounder inside.
The Eagles will look to capitalize on a fast-paced game on both ends of the floor, with scrappy defense led by junior Julianna Allen’s up tempo play, and an offense that will look to push the ball.
The team will also rely on its depth, with sophomores Saylor Grant and Jaiden Dennison, and juniors Yulia Heggestad and Mackenzie Tapley all key components coming off the bench.
After capping off a third-place finish in the Class C North standings last season, the team beat out Calais in the quarter finals of the postseason before rolling over Piscataquis 50-29 to earn an appearance in the regional finals. The team fell just short, losing 32-35 against Dexter.
“I think Class C will be tough this year,” said Ensworth. “It’s going to be hard, but I think our girls are up for the challenge.”
The season tips off on December 8 as GSA travels to Deer Isle. The home opener is scheduled for 7 p.m. December 11 against Central.