Preview capsules for D-III & D-IV area girls’ basketball teams

  • Newfound’s Savanna Bony tosses a no-look pass during a Division III semifinal loss to Conant at SNHU last year. Bony, now a senior, will try to help the team to another strong season after the Bears finished with a 20-1 record during 2016-17. Monitor file

Friday, December 01, 2017

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 Belmont 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 during her freshman and sophomore seasons.

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 is 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: Maurgan 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