2017-12-07 / Sports

Dragons looking for final big step

Girls basketball begins Friday and Saturday for area teams GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW
Times Record Staff


Last season was the year that Sam Farrell’s Brunswick High School girls basketball team found that certain something.

The Dragons made their move, downing Kennebunk, York and Greely in the Class A South postseason on their way to the State Class A Championship game at the Augusta Civic Center against Messalonskee (a 58- 33 setback).

There were certainly other stories last year in girls hoops — Richmond posting an undefeated regular season, Freeport advancing to the Class B South quarterfinals — and this season promises to be full of twists and turns.

Here is a look at the nine area teams that begin play Friday and Saturday:


Farrell’s first challenge is replacing key starters Madeline Suhr, Aidan Sachs and Brooke Barter from a Dragons team that finished 15-3 during the regular season and opens on Friday at rival Morse (5 p.m.).

BRUNSWICK’S SABRINA ARMSTRONG (14), here going to the basket against Edward Little last season, leads the Dragons against Morse in their season-opener on Friday in Bath. In the photo at the top of the page, Freeport coach Mike Hart talks things over with his Falcons. Freeport opens Friday at Sacopee Valley, with tip-off slated for 6:30 p.m. 
BOB CONN / THE TIMES RECORD BRUNSWICK’S SABRINA ARMSTRONG (14), here going to the basket against Edward Little last season, leads the Dragons against Morse in their season-opener on Friday in Bath. In the photo at the top of the page, Freeport coach Mike Hart talks things over with his Falcons. Freeport opens Friday at Sacopee Valley, with tip-off slated for 6:30 p.m. BOB CONN / THE TIMES RECORD “We’re definitely a different looking team from last year,” Farrell said. “Hopefully we can gel as the season progresses. This group has a lot of fun playing together, so hopefully that shows up in the games.”

Senior forward Sabrina Armstrong returns, coming off a solid season where she averaged 11.6 points per game along with 3.1 assists. Charlotte MacMillan (guard), Rian Sachs (guard), Lexi Guptill (center) and Rosalie White (center) will be looked at to step up this season, along with newcomer Marley Groat, a junior guard.

The schedule is certainly challenging. After opening with rivals Morse and Mt. Ararat, the slate features Class AA crossover contests with Lewiston and Edward Little, along with a rematch with talented Western Maine Conference foe Greely and a matchup with Cape Elizabeth. Brunswick also visits Falmouth, has a championship game rematch at Messalonskee and hosts Lawrence.

“There’s not really an easy game on the schedule,” said Farrell. Morse

This year’s Shipbuilders

will be led by veteran coach Jan Veinot, who returns to the bench this season after three years off while she pursued her PHD.

“I bought a house in Bath, so I am moved in and excited to be back on the bench at Morse,” said Veinot, who has served as the head coach at Waynflete (2000-07) and Portland (2007-14) among her coaching stops.

Veinot has several challenges, first of all trying to build off of last season’s 5-13 regular season. Morse claimed the No. 9 seed in Class A South and fell to No. 8 Leavitt in a preliminary contest at Turner, 38-25.

Veinot has a solid core of returning players, led by seniors Sierra Wallace (guard), Marissa Parks (forward), Emma Gould (guard) and Maddy Mitchell (guard). Joining the fold is California transfer student Sydney Hollingsworth, while junior Marija Mederica and sophomore Dory Kulis move up from the jayvee squad.

“I expect that it will take some time for the players to get used to me and vice versa,” Veinot said. “I am hoping that by the second part of the year that we are gelling, that the newness is gone. These kids are tough, and I really like their passion.”

Mt. Ararat

The 2016/17 season was a tough one for Andy Morris’ Eagles, with Mt. Ararat missing the postseason after a 3-15 season, a campaign that saw the Eagles drop their first seven contests, along with a pair of four-game losing skids.

Morris has an inexperienced group returning that he expects to improve as the season progresses.

“With only two seniors and returning one starter from last year’s team, we are young and fairly inexperienced,” said the coach, whose Eagles open the regular season on Friday at home against Leavitt (6:30 p.m.). “We want to compete and to get better with each game we play.”

Senior Lauren Sturgess returns after missing last season with an injury, and is joined by classmate Caitlyn Smith. Juniors are Ainsley Bryant, Grace Liedman and Abby Sirois, while the sophomore class is led by Kyla Greenleaf, who is the team’s only returning starter. Sophomores Alexa Eaton and Theresa Breed are expected to play big roles, along with freshmen newcomers Jaden Lohr and Lauren Magno.

“Class A is always competitive. We have picked up games against Gardiner, Kennebunk and Lincoln Academy, and we continue to play the always tough AA EL and Lewiston.”


Coach Mike Hart received a present before his team’s first practice, with former Pine Tree Academy standout Allie Goodman joining the Falcons’ fold, giving Freeport a solid player that score.

Goodman joins a cast of players that produced an 11-7 regular season and a preliminary win over Lisbon (64-37) before falling to Class B South top-seeded Gray- New Gloucester ( 57- 24) in the quarters. Senior returnees are Jessie Driscoll (Capt., forward), Johanna Bogue- Marlowe ( Capt., guard), Taylor Rinaldi ( guard), Megan Cormier (forward) and Taylor Dostie (guard/forward).

Goodman averaged over 20 points a game last year for the Breakers.

Sophomores returning this year are Lindsay Routhier ( guard) and Catriona Gould ( guard), along with freshman newcomer Hannah Groves, giving Hart a deep bench to turn to.

“ They are practicing with a lot of confidence and they really seem to be driven even more than last year,” said Hart, whose Falcons visit Sacopee Valley in their opener on Friday at 6: 30 p. m. “ I don’t change expectations year to year. It is about executing day-in and day-out in the gym. They are great kids.”


Julie Petrie returns for her seventh season leading the Greyhounds, who finished 9-9 last season and fell to Freeport in a prelim.

Petrie has a few key losses, with Kaylin and Jasmin Le departing, along with Kipri Steele and Ali Sult.

However, she has a good returning core, with senior Morgan Fenderson leading the way along with juniors Mallory Fairbanks, Valerie Doucette and Carly Drischler. Also, sophomore Giana Russo is coming off a solid freshman campaign, and is joined by classmates Kiley Merritt, Charlee Cox and Siara Martin.

Promising newcomers according to Petrie are Savannah Fisher, Anna Willey, Kirsten Dunn, Sydney Plourde and Destiney Deschaines.

“Although the Greyhounds lost a talented group of seniors, we return a strong core with some experience,” said Petrie, whose Greyhounds hosts Winthrop Friday at 7 p.m. “Lisbon will look to play an up-tempo game, utilizing our speed. We will look to improve with each game, with the playoff goal in mind.”


The good news for Ben Clark’s Wolverines is they lost just one player to graduation. The bad news .... that player was standout Hayhlee Craig.

“She was our leading scorer and rebounder. Replacing her won't be easy, and that responsibility won’t fall on any one player,” said Clark, whose squad finished 1- 17 last season. “We’ll do it collectively. We have an experienced group ( six seniors) who work hard and are coachable.”

Grace Webber ( guard) leads the senior cast and was a standout defensively last year with four steals a game. Maeve Blodgett (guard) is also a three-year starter, along with classmate Lindsey Gordon, who has experience in the front court.

The junior class features Sydnie Thayer, while sophomores Jade Rego and Kateleen Trask will look to contribute.

“I’m really looking forward to working with this group,” Clark said. “ We have strong senior leadership and work extremely hard as a team. We again have the potential to be a really good defensive team. We’ll need to be more disciplined offensively and limit our turnovers. I also expect to have a deeper bench this year. We just want to continue to improve and take the next step as a program.”

Wiscasset opens at home against Carrabec on Saturday at 3 p.m.


The Bobcats had a great regular season last year, going 18-0 and claiming the top seed in Class C South.

After a hard-fought quarterfinal win over Gould Academy (39-22), Richmond was eliminated by Old Orchard Beach in the semifinals at the Augusta Civic Center.

This year, the biggest change for the Bobcats is the conference they will compete in. Richmond has moved to the challenging Mountain Valley Conference and will host Madison on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the opener.

“It will be a good challenge, plus it gives us a chance to see those Class C schools and play a Class C schedule,” said Richmond coach Mike Ladner. “I will take going 12-6 over 18-0 with this challenging schedule, something that should make us better come the tournament.”

Travel will certainly be better for the Bobcats. Gone are the long trips to Vinalhaven, Searsport, Rangeley, Forest Hills, etc.

“We are looking forward to playing close teams like Hall-Dale, Monmouth, Wiscasset this year, as our players have friends on those teams that they compete against during the summer,” said Ladner.

The only senior is Sydney Underhill-Tilton, a forward that led the Bobcats in scoring and rebounding last season. Juniors Caitlin Kendrick (guard) and Ashley Abbott (guard), sophomores Bryanne Lancaster (forward), Lindsie Irish (forward) and Rylie Irish (guard) are back as well, along with newcomers Bryanna Shea (guard) and Macy Carver (forward).

Another plus this year is Ladner has 18 players in the program, allowing him to field a jayvee squad.

Pine Tree Academy

As mentioned earlier, Josh Dayen’s Breakers has the challenge of replacing Goodman after producing a 13-5 regular season last year. PTA fell to Forest Hills in the quarterfinals.

“We have a much different team,” said the PTA coach and school’s athletic director. “We lost our star player, so it will be interesting to see who shows up this year. This is a good group. They work hard and half of the team has seniority.”

The three seniors are new to the program, with Jasmine Gonzalez-Kuntz (guard) and Ariel Fickett (forward) joining Massachusetts transfer Agnes Miongo (forward). Junior returnees are Renee Pickard (guard), Adriana DePalma (guard) and Emily Schlisner (guard/forward), while sophomore Natalie Marden (guard) returns. A newcomer is 6-foot freshman center Regence Sandy.

“We are trying to stay positive,” said Dayen. “We have potential and we have a lot of room for growth. These players will have to step up, and I feel that they will.”


The Wolfpack are coming off a 3-15 season, and this year’s squad will have to overcome some inexperience as the season begins for Hyde on Monday at Islesboro (5:15 p.m.).

“I see a very inexperienced team with only a few exceptions, however, this is a unique group with a level of tenacity and resilience that could easily take them into the postseason,” said Hyde coach Elizabeth Henderson.

Standouts Timesha Walker and Emma Levenshon have departed. However, sophomore Jada Holford returns to the post, along with junior Maeve Dunn, who will be looked upon as the team’s point guard.

“I expect an amazing season from this team, potentially even a winning one,” said Henderson, whose squad’s home opener is set for Dec. 14 against North Yarmouth Academy.

Return to top