Team-by-team outlook for Concord area girls’ basketball

Friday, December 08, 2017

Division: I

Coach: Tim LaTorra (1st year)

Last year: 4-14, did not make tournament

Top returning players: Brighid Weeden, sr., G, 5-7; Ashley Kelley, sr., G, 5-7; Jada Duvert, sr., F, 5-8; Caitlyn Kelley, sr., G, 5-7; Kasie Maloney, sr., F, 6-1; Gabby Evans, sr., F, 6-2; Haley Munroe, sr., G, 5-4; Alyssa Ferrarone, sr., G, 5-6; Quinn Daniels, jr., F, 6-0

Top newcomers: Caroline Clark, jr., F, 5-8; Ashley Nault, jr., G, 5-6; Ky Bucholtz, so., G, 5-6; Shayla Weeden, so., G, 5-5; Jordyn Lengle, fr., F, 6-1

Outlook: LaTorra is hoping to carry his success with the Sunapee program over to Concord this fall. The Tide has a ton of players that can step up and contribute right away and LaTorra loves the group’s athleticism, but with a new coach, new system and a new philosophy, it may take some time.

“This season is about creating our identity as a program and learning about what it takes to win,” LaTorra said. “We have kids that are willing to reinvent themselves and the program to create a winning culture.”

Teams to beat: Bishop Guertin, Bedford, Pinkerton, Manchester Memorial


Division: II

Coach: Bill Vermette (8th year)

Last year: 12-8, lost in first round

Returning starters: Lea Crompton, sr., G, 5-4; Patti Nordin, sr., F, 5-9; Lauren Goyette, jr., G, 5-7

Top newcomers: Maddie McSweeney, so., F, 5-9; Courtney Evans, so., F; Jamie MacEachron, jr., G, 5-6

Outlook: An experienced quartet of seniors will lead the Falcons – Crompton, Nordin, Sarah Martin and Erin Boldwin, a 5-11 forward who returns after missing last year with injury. Bow doesn’t have anyone on the roster taller than Boldwin, but the Falcons will try to make up for that lack of height with defensive toughness and outside shooting.

“I think a few more players have the confidence in their shooting to step up and make a difference,” Vermette said.

Teams to beat: Hanover, Bishop Brady, Merrimack Valley, Lebanon, Hollis Brookline


Division: II

Coach: Joe Vachon (4th year)

Last year: 11-9, lost in quarterfinals

Returning starters: Ahna McCusker, sr., G, 5-11; Lauren Curtin, so., G, 5-5; Sydney Gast, sr., G, 5-5; Rebekah Hinrichsen, sr., F, 5-8; Shayla Ashley, jr., G, 5-5

Top newcomers: Sydney Neuman, jr., G/F, 5-6; Elizabeth Shultz, so., F, 5-8; Mary Thoms, so., G, 5-0; Jenny Bettencourt, fr., G, 5-6; Valentina White, fr., G, 5-7; Kirin Asselin, fr., G, 5-5

Outlook: There will be a lot of new faces in Vachon’s fourth year at the helm. McCusker and Curtin will likely be relied upon the most on the offensive end while the Bears figure out how to come together early on.

“We are inexperienced for the most part,” Vachon said. “We will have to be tough defensively and work through being a team on offense. I believe the sky is the limit for any team that believes in itself. If this team does ... who knows.”

Teams to beat: Portsmouth, Lebanon, Hanover, Merrimack Valley, Bishop Brady

John Stark

Division: II

Coach: Bruce Johnson (1st year)

Last year: 6-13, lost in first round

Outlook: Johnson is hard at work in his first year with the program getting this year’s group prepared for the new season.

“I feel they have the potential to be a very good team with the ability to play several different styles from very disciplined to high-paced,” Johnson said.

To reach the level Johnson wants to see, the Generals will likely rely on their four seniors – Ashley Audet, Jillian Douzanis, Laura Martin and Emily Patten.

Teams to beat: Hanover, Pelham, Lebanon


Division: II

Coach: Keith Roberts (3rd year)

Last year: 15-5 in D-III, lost in quarterfinals

Returning starters: Meg Roy, jr., G/F

Outlook: The Cougars will face many challenges this season after losing five players to graduation and moving up a division, so the young squad will need to rely on all players to give it their all every night.

“All the players are important to our season,” Roberts said. “We are working hard every day with the goal of being our best at the end of the season. With our length, we hope to cause problems for teams in the half court.”

Kearsarge does return one starter in Roy, who was named to the D-III Second Team last year.

“With (Roy) and a group of seniors, our leadership will be a strength for us,” Roberts said. “Our youth will also be an asset, making this season a fun opportunity to continue our success.”

Teams to beat: Lebanon, Hanover, Merrimack Valley, Pelham, Hollis/Brookline


Division: II

Coach: Jeff Greeley (8th year)

Last year: 5-13, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Hannah Dow, jr.; Caitlin Beattie, jr.; Devon Mello, sr.; Becca Howe, sr.; Meghan Gaspa, so.; Delia Cormier, sr.; Sydney Stevens, jr.; Lindsey Drouin, sr.

Top newcomers: Sophie George, fr.; Isabella Daly, fr.

Outlook: After missing the tournament in their first season in Division II, the Sachems reload with eight returners led by four strong seniors. The goal is to make it back to the D-II playoffs for the first time since 2010, but it will take contributions from every player on a nightly basis to accomplish it. “The seniors and returners have done an outstanding job leading our freshmen newcomers throughout this preseason,” Greeley said.

“As a coaching staff, we look forward to competing hard for 32 minutes a night.”

There’s no shortage of athletes on the team, highlighted by perennial All-State lacrosse player Becca Howe, but with only 10 players on the roster, health will be a primary concern for Laconia.

Teams to beat: Bow, Lebanon, Portsmouth, Hollis/Brookline, Pelham, Pembroke

Merrimack Valley

Division: II

Coach: Bob McNutt (1st year)

Last year: 12-7, lost in first round

Returning starters: Abby Grandmaison, sr., F; Sara Osborne, sr., G; Carly Huckins, jr., PG

Top newcomers: Ashlynn McDonald, so., C; Jayden Holmes, so., G; Emily Philbrook, so., G; Kaitlyn Belanger, jr., F

Outlook: The Pride get its leading scorers back from last year in Huckins (D-II Second Team last year) and Grandmaison (D-II Honorable Mention last year) while featuring a strong core around them, leaving McNutt in a good spot in his first season at MV.

“This year’s team has put a lot of time and effort into the offseason working on their skills and trying to adapt to the new coaches and system,” McNutt said. “If we play at the level this group is capable of, we can make a strong run in the postseason.”

Teams to beat: Lebanon, Pelham, Hanover, Bishop Brady


Division: II

Coach: Michaela Champlin (1st year)

Last year: 7-12, lost in first round

Returning starters: Morgan Allen, sr., F, 5-9; Ciera Clark, sr., G, 5-6; Olivia Langevin, sr., G, 5-4; Brooklyn Zanis, sr., G, 5-4

Top newcomers: Savannah Youngman, soph., G, 5-1

Outlook: The Spartans have a veteran roster led by a solid group of five seniors. The preseason energy has been great for Pembroke, which should take a step forward from last season.

Teams to beat: Bishop Brady, Merrimack Valley, Hanover


Division: III

Coach: Mark Dawalga (7th year)

Last year: 9-10, lost in first round

Returning starters: Chloe Sottak, sr., G; Jordan Sargent, sr., G; Julianna Estremera, jr., G; Makenzie Donovan, jr., G/F; Lizzie Fleming, jr., G

Top newcomers: Katie Galambos, jr., F; Molly Sottak, fr., G/F; Morgan Hall, fr., F; Isabella McDonald, fr. F; Elaina Hoey, fr., F

Outlook: The Raiders return a talented group from last year’s playoff team, led by Estremera, who was named to the D-II Second Team as a sophomore. The other half of the team is made up of newcomers, but the team has been coming together during the preseason. “I really believe in this group,” Dawalga said. “We have come a long way in a short period of time already. We really need to lean on our five returners from last year as they step into their new roles this year.”

Teams to beat: Newfound, Gilford, Prospect Mountain, Fall Mountain


Division: III

Coach: JJ Winters (11th year)

Last year: 5-13, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Hannah Hicks, so., G/F, 5-6

Top newcomers: Ryley Haskins, jr., G, 5-3; Clarissa Martin, jr., F/C, 5-8; Faith Kaspszak, so., G/F, 5-6; Ashleigh Magoon, so., C, 5-9

Outlook: The inexperienced Golden Tornadoes expect some growing pains early in the season, but are looking to improve each game and make a run for the playoffs. Franklin will be bolstered by the return of healthy senior forward/center Lauren Marsh, who missed last year, but was a starter her freshman and sophomore year.

Teams to beat: Belmont, Fall Mountain, Conant, Monadnock, Newfound, Newport, Prospect Mountain, Gilford, Inter-Lakes, White Mountains


Division: III

Coach: Rick Forge (13th year)

Last year: 12-8, lost in quarterfinals

Returning starters: Lauren Dean, sr., G, 5-7; Olivia Harris, sr., G, 5-6

Top newcomers: Shelby Cole, so., G, 5-6; Abby O’Connor, so., C, 5-10; Abby Warren, so., C, 5-10; Olivia Trindade, sr., G, 5-6; Emily Smith, sr., G, 5-2; Lexi Boisvert, jr., F, 5-9; Hannah Perkins, jr., C, 5-10; Karly Sanborn, jr., F, 5-6; Brooke Beaudet, sr., G, 5-5

Outlook: The Golden Eagles only graduated two starters from last year’s team, but they were hit hard with injuries this past fall. Three potential starters are either out for the season or are rehabbing injuries. The good news for Gilford is that Beaudet, who missed last season due to ACL surgery, is returning and should be key factor in the team’s offense. “It will be a new look team for Gilford this year,” Forge said. “We are very much undersized and will have to rely on being aggressive and running (up-and-down the) court.”

Teams to beat: Newfound


Division: III

Coach: Tiffany Lewis (3rd year)

Last year: 1-17, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Morgan Racine, so., G, 5-7; Fayth Grimes, so., F, 6-0

Top newcomers: Alexandra Perez, fr., G, 5-3; Zoe Kemp, fr., G, 5-4; Erin Dean, fr., G, 5-7

Outlook: Five of the 10 Hillcats are freshmen and there is only one senior on the roster. Despite their youth and inexperience (only four players from last year’s varsity squad are returning), Lewis staying optimistic.

“Our team is extremely hard-working and tenacious,” Lewis said. “I look forward to seeing what this young group of girls will be able to accomplish this season.”

Teams to beat: Monadnock, Fall Mountain, Conant


Division: III

Coach: Pat Roye (2nd year)

Last year: 6-12, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Taylor Signor, sr., G; Abby Houson, sr., F; Amelia Thomas, jr., F

Top newcomers: Maurghan McGrath, fr., G

Outlook: “We return most of last year’s team and the preseason has gone well so far,” Roye said. “We should be a much improved defensive team this year and hope to make some noise in the tournament at the end of the season.”

Teams to beat: Gilford, Newfound, Monadnock, White Mountains


Division: III

Coach: Beth Pion-Burlison (1st year)

Last year: 8-11, lost in first round

Returning starters: Jordan Durand, sr.; Julia Gintof, jr.; Jessalyn Brown, jr.; Emma Wheeler, so.; Mollie Durand, so.

Top newcomers: Caitlin Harris, fr.; Lilly Simpson, fr.

Outlook: Pion-Burlison may be in her first year of coaching, but the Lakers have a strong group of returning young players led by Wheeler, who helped the Inter-Lakes volleyball team to a runner-up finish in D-III this fall along with Brown and Jordan Durand.


Division: III

Coach: Karri Peterson (17th year)

Last year: 20-1, lost in semifinals

Returning starters: Savanna Bony, sr., G, 5-3; Ashlee Dukette, jr., F, 5-10

Top newcomers: Jasmine Peterson, fr., G, 5-10; Tiffany Doan, fr., F, 5-5

Outlook: The Bears may only be returning two starters from last year’s team that was undefeated before falling in the semifinals to Conant, 52-50, but those two returners are good ones. Dukette was the D-III Player of the Year last winter, Bony was a D-III Honorable Mention and both of them are nearing the 1,000-point plateau. There’s not a lot of experience around them, but don’t be surprised if Peterson, the coach’s daughter who was a key player on Newfound’s undefeated field hockey team, makes an impact as a freshman.

“We are young and inexperienced and will probably be an up-and-down team as we are relying on a lot of young players,” Coach Peterson said.

Teams to beat: Fall Mountain, Monadnock, Prospect Mountain, Sanborn


Division: III

Coach: Jordan Richardson (1st year)

Last year: 1-17, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Ashley Chamberlain, sr., C; Shannon Goodwin, jr., G/F; Makenzie Snow, sr., G/F

Outlook: Richardson inherits a program with an athletic core that has a chance to be especially strong on the defensive end of the floor.

“The team’s goal this year will be to box out effectively, limit second chances and control tempo,” Richardson said. “The team will continue to challenge each other in practice to ensure we will improve throughout the season.”

Teams to beat: Newfound, Gilford, Monadnock, Conant