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The White Mountains C.C. Division IV Girls Basketball Preview

By Lance Legere, 01/04/21, 6:15AM EST

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Graci Kaiser and Woodsville come in at #3 in the pre-season (photo by Corey McKean)

 A packed house at Plymouth State with the two best teams Colebrook and Woodsville battling it out for the Division IV Championship was a remarkable way to cap off the Division IV season last year.  

 This game was played just one week before we received news that all NHIAA activities were to be canceled for the foreseeable future. I will never forget that night at Plymouth State doing the undefeated dance with the Colebrook team, and I’m sure they won’t either (especially my example of how to dance, yeah let’s not talk about that..). 

 Colebrook captured their first girls’ basketball championship in school history and ran the table while doing so. They will look to defend their title with Sage Smith and Samantha Howe leading the way once again. 

 Woodsville was arguably the best defensive team in the division last season and looks to return to the championship game for a second straight year.  

 The gap between Colebrook and Woodsville atop the division has closed with teams like Hinsdale, who return a “new” face, Newmarket, and Farmington all returning key components of their rotation with another year of experience under their belts. 

Today we take a look at Division IV in the first of our eight basketball previews.

 Our coverage is brought to you by our longtime friends and partners at White Mountains Community College, with locations in Berlin, Littleton, and North Conway.

Division IV Pre-Season Top 10:

1. Hinsdale 

2. Colebrook 

3. Woodsville 

4. Newmarket 

5. Farmington

6. Littleton 

7. Sunapee

8. Derryfield 

9. Groveton

10. Epping 

Outside of the Top 10: PCA, Lisbon, Mount Royal, Moultonborough, Gorham, Franklin, Profile, Pittsburg-Canaan

 

 Hinsdale comes off a season where they turned a lot of heads by making the Final Four without arguably one of the best players in program history, who was away at prep school.

 Well, this year that missing piece is back. Angelinia Nardolillo returns for her senior season and changes the outlook of what already was going to be a promising season for Terry Bonnette’s team. “She looks good,” said Bonnette. “She wasn’t the primary big at Mount Hermon Prep, so she has come back with a well-developed outside shot.” 

 Nardolillo took the division by storm as a freshman and sophomore, eclipsing the 1,000 point mark, winning a state championship, and almost winning another one against Littleton a year later, before leaving for prep school as a junior. Her game has only improved with time and she looks poised to bring Hinsdale back to the promised land with her dominant inside-out game. 

 “I think not having Angelina for a year helped develop other players,” said Bonnette. The emergence of senior Delaney Wilcox last season helped this group break into the upper echelons of the division. “I expect a lot out of Delaney, we leaned on her a lot last season and I know we will again this year as well.” 

 Wilcox took on the role of leading this team and she did so on both ends of the floor. She was vocal and tough-nosed all year long for Hinsdale. Her ability to shoot from long range and also take defenders off the dribble with ease made her a match-up nightmare. Now with a star forward down low, Hinsdale has one of the best one-two punches in the division. 

 Megan Roberts and Kleay Steever return to the starting lineup after both had productive seasons a year ago. “Megan is our sharpshooter,” said Bonnette. “She’s had some big shooting nights for us and I expect her to have some more this year.” Roberts will be a must-cover out on the wing and is yet another threat for a team that was one of, if not, the best from three-point range a season ago. 

 Steever returns to run the point for this group and is someone who can be relied on to do all the dirty work out on the floor. “Kleay is our defensive specialist,” said Bonnette. She will take the best matchup on any opposing team and works her tail off to get stops and create opportunities for others on the offensive end. 

 Audrey Martin held her own as an undersized big a season ago and will benefit from Nardolillo returning to the low block alongside her. 

 Olivia Pangelinan is yet another spot-up shooter for Hinsdale and helps space the floor well along with Addy Nardolillo, who returns after a promising 8th-grade season at the varsity level. “She can play both the perimeter and inside, she’s going to help us a lot,” said Bonnette.

 With a more improved jump shot coming into this season and getting to play alongside her sister Angelina, Addy will be an important piece to the puzzle. 

 Hinsdale faces no Division IV competition at all in the regular season. They will see Conant, Monadnock, Mascenic, and Keene, to round out one of the tougher schedules for any Division IV team.

 That schedule will only help push a team like Hinsdale with championship aspirations to be the best they can be come playoff time. 

 “I’m really excited for this season,” said Bonnette. “We have the pieces inside and out to do something really special.” 

 If everything falls into place, Hinsdale looks primed for a run at another title.

 The reigning Division IV champions Colebrook return four of five starters from last year's championship squad, but this time around have a new head coach in Duane Call taking over the program after Steve Cass called it a career after last season's historical run. 

 Call, an assistant coach on Cass’s staff for many years, has been around these girls ever since they were freshmen, so there shouldn’t be much of an adjustment period.

 For a moment, it looked as if Colebrook’s title defense was in jeopardy, but with the town’s approval and the right protocols in place, the Mohawks have been ready to go ever since they were approved to get back on the floor. 

 “The girls are all very excited to be back out on the floor together,” said Call. “We were all chomping at the bit to get the approval, they deserve the chance to defend their title.” 

  The key loss from last year's team is Mackenzie Scherer. She was an all-state level guard who was the vocal leader for this group. She was so important on both ends of the floor, but her leadership was one of the best things she brought to this group. “The big question of this year is how will we fill her shoes? That will be incredibly difficult to do,” said Call. 

 It doesn’t hurt when you return the reigning Division IV Player of the Year Sage Smith along with another Top 5 player in Samantha Howe. “Those two will do well for sure,” said Call. 

 Smith and Howe were the best duo the division had to offer last year. Smith could go out and get a bucket of any form. Whether that be by shooting off a curl in the lane or launching one from way downtown, she can score in a variety of ways. “Sage has been focused and committed, she works extremely hard,” said Call. 

 Howe is the do-it-all player for this team. She works tirelessly on the boards and is lethal from anywhere on the floor. She has great moves around the basket and is a focal point on the defensive end of the floor as well. 

 A player who will be stepping into a bigger role this year is Emma McKeage. She will go from sixth man a season ago to starter this year. “Emma will be a part of helping fill the void that Mackenzie left behind,” said Call. 

 McKeage turned in her best performance of the season when her team needed it the most in last year's championship game. If she can build off of that and continue to do the little things out on the floor, she will be impactful from game one. 

 Sophomores Sierra Riff and Ariana Lord will be relied upon even more this year after contributing heavily to Colebrook’s title run last season. Riff will be the anchor of the defense for the Mohawks. Her biggest what-if coming into the year is staying out of foul trouble. “That will be more important than ever this season,” said Call. They need Riff to be on the floor at all times. 

 Lord improved greatly from the start of last season and her confidence showed in her offensive outbreak against Woodsville in the finals. “Her jumpshot has really come along,” said Call. “Her strength is getting there and her movement on the floor has been great.” Lord will once again be relied upon to protect the paint and generate second-chance opportunities on the glass. 

 Depth will be the biggest question mark for Colebrook. The Mohawks only went six deep last year, and with Scherer gone and McKeage moving into the starting lineup, Call will be looking for players to step up and provide minutes off the bench. 

 Another question Call is looking for the answer to is late-game shots. “Sage and Sam scored a majority of our points last year, but they also got a lot of attention defensively. If you watched some of our tougher games, Mackenzie was always the one hitting the big shots, we need someone to step into that role,” said Call. 

 Riff and McKeage are two wing options Call is looking to step in and take those big shots. “They are going to need to develop the ability to be confident in taking those big shots for us,” said Call.  

 With a heavy North Country schedule and a tough region that includes the likes of Littleton and Groveton, the title defense will be a competitive one. 

 The Mohawks will be in the mix once again with a repeat on their minds.

 Woodsville came up just short of a Division IV championship last year, but head coach Russ Wilcox feels his group is primed to make another deep run this year. 

 “To lose a championship game and return 9 players from last year's team, we should be able to compete with anybody on any given night,” said Wilcox. 

 The Engineers prided themselves on the defensive end and created a majority of their offensive opportunities on that end of the floor. 

 Olivia Sarkis was the best big in the division last year and was the calming factor in their nail-biting quarterfinal win over Newmarket. Sarkis is a workhorse on the boards and defensively brings a great intensity, 

 All-state point guard Emily Prest is back to run the offense and control the pace of this Engineers group that has a lot of weapons on the outside, like sharpshooters Graci Kaiser and Mackenzie Kingsbury. 

 Kaiser gelled well with this group in her first season and provided great scoring ability as a second or even first option at times. Kingsbury improved as the season went along last year and will be a more focal point of the offense to start the season 

 Morgan Wagstaff is coming off a tremendous season where she was named the Defensive Player of the Year in Division IV. Both on the perimeter and inside, Wagstaff got the Engineers multiple stops and was a leader for this group. If she can lead the charge once again and improve a defense that was already one of the tops in the division, Woodsville can get over the hump. 

 “The motto for this year is, if it's not broke, don’t fix it,” said Wilcox. Woodsville felt they had the necessary gameplan and right pieces on the floor to compete for a championship. “We struggled last year with making good decisions and hitting shots when we needed to.” 

 If the shots are falling and the Engineers are locked in defensively, they have a great chance of competing for a title this year.

 Newmarket was a possession away from pulling off the upset of the season over Woodsville in the quarterfinals last season. The Mules began to put the pieces together at the end of the season last year and they return a strong nucleus of that team. 

 Head coach Meghan Averill senses her group comes into this season with more confidence than ever. “The Woodsville loss really hurt,” said Averill. “I think our team has never really seen themselves as good as I know they can be, so I think playing that game as well as they did shocked the division and also the girls on our team.” 

 A key returner for this group is Brianna Filion, who was named to second-team all-state last year. Filion will look to build upon her breakout year as she will be a focal point of the offensive attack. “Her leadership will be able to pull us through some of the tougher matchups on our schedule,” said Averill. 

 Abigail Henry, Julia Perry, and Riley Palasciano are returning seniors who were impactful pieces on last year's team. “They have all been playing basketball for a long time and that experience should help us through adversity this season,” said Averill.  

 Juniors Jessica Berry and Cassie Mosher will step into bigger roles this season. Both had their fair share of quality performances last season and they will both need to have the same amount of production and some this season.  

 Sophomore Lena Nicholson showed good flashes last year as she continues to develop into a dominant presence down low. “I am looking forward to continuing to work with her and help her continue to make good progress in her game,” said Averill. 

 “I’m excited to see how this team handles adversity,” said Averill. “We aren’t playing many Division IV teams in the regular season and I’m excited to see if my team is up to the challenge.” With teams like Oyster River and St Thomas on their schedule, Newmarket will be tested heavily throughout the year. 

 “We have talked a lot about how much we can really gain from playing the teams we are and how we need to use these to improve our game and let each game be a learning experience,” said Averill. “ I want to see if this team has the grit to bounce back and stay positive and see each game as a new opportunity to rise.” 

 Newmarket proved they belong amongst the top teams in Division IV last year and will look to use this year as a stepping stone into the top four. 

 

Division IV Gold Level Coaches/Programs as of 1/3:  Dale Prior of Litleton, Tim Haskins of Groveton, Meghan Averill of Newmarket, Duane Call of Colebrook, Dawn Weeks of Farmington, Courtney Cheetham of Derryfield, Andrew Marden of Epping, Matt Jordan of Canaan-Pittsburg, Derek Tremblay of Mount Royal

 Head coach Dawn Weeks and Farmington are ready to show how much they’ve grown from last season. 

 “I’m incredibly excited about this group,” said Weeks. “They are such a close group off the floor and that is something that should help us on the court.” 

 Chloe Weeks and Jaclyn Peaselee will be the leaders of this group and hope to make the most of their senior season. “I expect them to be true senior leaders who run the show and I expect everyone else to follow their lead,” said Weeks.  

 Peaslee took the Division by storm with her polished offensive game and toughness down low, earning her an all-state honorable mention recognition. Peaslee flew under the radar a bit for most teams last season, but this year she’ll be at the top of the scouting report for many. 

 Weeks was the big name coming into last season after her great sophomore season the year before. Last year, Weeks was asked to be more of a point guard whereas in years past she was more off the ball. The Tigers may still be searching for more of a true point guard, but Weeks did a fine job handling everything last year and should be just fine doing the same this season 

 With the development of Peaslee, Weeks should see a bit less pressure than she saw to start the season last year, resulting in hopefully more opportunities to look for her own shot. 

 Coach Weeks feels she is “deeper than she has ever been before,” with a talented sophomore class making their way to the varsity level. “We will be more well-rounded, I have more ability to play off my bench,” said Weeks.  

 With teams like Prospect Mountain and St Thomas on the schedule to end the season, Farmington will find out who they are right before they head into the playoffs. 

 “I’m pumped we’re going to be challenged,” said Weeks. “Those teams are only going to make us better.” 

 Weeks feels that her group didn’t accomplish what they wanted to last season and they are hungry to prove themselves this year. “They are motivated,” said Weeks. “They feel like if they work together they can pull this off.” 

 Only time will tell for Farmington.

 The Littleton Crusaders will be in the mix once again this year as head coach Dale Prior always seems to have his teams competing year in and year out.  

 Prior feels his group is coming into this season with a different mentality. “Winning a soccer championship certainly doesn’t hurt.” 

 The loss of Jasmine Brown will be a tough one for the Crusaders to swallow as she was everything the Crusaders needed the most last year. “Her leadership and experience will be missed,” said Prior. 

 A player who can help fill that void and play the role Brown did last year is junior Lauren McKee. McKee returns after a spectacular sophomore season that saw her offensive production take a massive uptick. “The 27 point game against Groveton was the breakout game for her,” said Prior. 

 This year McKee will be the focal point of the Littleton offense and will be relied upon to put up big performances on a nightly basis. “The role player to first option transition will be interesting for Lauren,” said Prior. 

 McKee was found with lots of open looks due to the pressure that Brown drew on a nightly basis. This season McKee will have a lot of different defenses thrown her way. “We had to find ways to free up Jasmine last year, that will be somewhat similar for Lauren this year,” said Prior. 

 Senior Olivia Corrigan is back to run the offense at the point this season. “Last year was a growing year for Olivia, she’s matured,” said Prior. “All of the bumps are in her toolbox, she knows she is going to play a larger role this year and I look forward to her carrying herself the way she is capable of.” 

 Corrigan was the Division IV Player of the Year in soccer and Prior feels she is the purest athlete he has on the roster. Corrigan must be a big contributor if Littleton is to make a deep run. 

 Hannah Brown returns to the starting lineup after a good junior season. “She is a great asset coming back for us,” said Prior. “She is arguably our best rebounder and she has improved in the sense of athletic ability.” 

 The big key for Brown this year will be taking the open shot when it is there. She will need to provide some scoring to help fill the void that her sister Jasmine is leaving behind. “If she can be an offensive threat every night and draw defenses out that will help us a ton,” said Prior. 

 Littleton is ready to prove what they can be with somewhat of a new-look team. Nicoria Johnson returns from an ACL injury and should be a good presence down low.  

  “If you take an option away from us anyone on the floor will be confident enough to step up on any given night,” said Prior. 

 The Crusaders look to put together a good regular season with a tough North Country schedule and head into the playoffs with the right mindset.

 Sunapee surprised many by earning a top-four seed a season ago, but they themselves were not surprised by their performance. 

A tough matchup in the quarterfinals with Littleton saw their season come to an end, but head coach Stephanie Larpenter feels she has a group primed for another big year. 

 “I’m super excited about this group,” said Larpenter. “This is one of the hardest working groups I have ever coached. 

 Abby Pollari returns after an all-state level season a year ago and comes back looking to lead this group to the Final Four. Her cousin Vanessa unfortunately will be sidelined due to an injury obtained in soccer. Both Pollari cousins were key contributors for this group last season and Vanessa will definitely be missed out on the floor this winter. 

 Elizabeth Tschudin is looking to build off of a freshman season that saw her improve with each game. Tschudin started to pick things up in the offensive department towards the end of the season and she will be called upon to score on many occasions this year. 

 “We view ourselves as a top team, the girls have that confidence,” said Larpenter. With a good core of last year's team returning and a freshman group that Larpenter has high hopes for, the Lakers may find themselves in the mix once again this upcoming season.

 Courtney Cheetham takes over a Derryfield team that is coming off a successful season that ended in playoff heartbreak at the hands of 13th seeded Farmington.  

 Cheetham is excited for not only this year but for years to come at Derryfield. “I think the delay is nice for me being the first year in this program, it gives me a little more time to establish things,” said Cheetham. “We want to develop a basketball culture this year and for years to come.” 

 Returning for the Cougars is all-state guard Emy Plage. The senior was the fifth leading scorer in the division last year and is primed for a big season. “She is a really special talent,” said Cheetham. “To me, she is a top 2-3 player in the division.”   

 Plage took this summer to develop her game and prepare herself for the different kinds of looks she’ll see from opposing defenses this season. 

 Alongside Plage is another all-state level talent in Shawna Lesmerais. Lesmerais is a standout lacrosse goalie who is just an all-around athlete. “She is a very talented and gifted athlete,” said Cheetham. 

 Both Plage and Lesmerais played AAU for Cheetham in 7th and 8th grade and she is happy to be coaching them in their senior year. Cheetham knows what both are capable of and has high expectations for the duo. “We need them to be leaders and take action on the court,” said Cheetham.

 The supporting cast for Derryfield is rather young. “We have a lot of raw athletes who want to do well and put work in,” said Cheetham. “It’s now about turning these athletes into basketball players. 

 Julia Martin will look to take a bigger role this year after serving as the team’s boost off the bench as the sixth man. Ava Plage, Christine Nadeau, and Sarah Naje will all be called upon to contribute this year and continue to get better as the season progresses. 

 “I’m teaching a new system and philosophy that will take us time to get used to,” said Cheetham. “We need to focus on Derryfield and less about the outside factors.” 

 Plage and Lesmerais will be heavily relied upon this year, but Cheetham feels she has a group that can be competitive come playoff time.

 The Groveton Eagles return a young and hungry group for the 2020-21 season. Head coach Tim Haskins is excited about the competitive roster he is bringing back. “It is going to be a bit of a retooling year for us, but I think we can put on a good show night in and night out,” said Haskins. 

 The Eagles will be without first-team All-State forward Katelyn Desilets who has since graduated. “Katelyn was so solid at everything last year,” said Haskins. “We’re really going to miss what she brought to this team.” 

 Nodia Davenport should be able to ease the pain as the senior guard is ready for her final season. “We will need her to step up and score some points,” said Haskins. “She was our second-leading scorer a season ago and we will need even more production out of her.” 

 Davenport is great at scoring from all three levels on the floor. She creates opportunities for not only herself but her teammates as well when she is aggressive and attacking the basket. She will be relied upon to lead the charge offensively. 

 The Eagles will take a more guard-oriented approach this year as the size of Desilets and Bethany Whiting won’t be down low for Groveton this season. 

 “We relied on our bigs a lot last year since we had a lot of forwards on the roster,” said Haskins. “This year we will be smaller but that will help us be a lot quicker defensively and give us the option to run more full-court presses.”  

 A player the Eagles are hoping to make the big sophomore jump is Marissa Kenison. “Marissa came off the bench as a freshman but will be moved into the starting five,” said Haskins. “Physically she’s built like Katelyn with a nice inside-out game.” 

 Kenison showed flashes of potential as a freshman. If she can continue to improve and be a consistent option for the Eagles, Groveton should be in good shape. 

 Groveton has been dealt with tough schedules in the past, and the same goes for this season, but Haskins thinks the schedule will help Groveton in the long haul. “We are approaching the season with a different philosophy,” said Haskins. “We aren’t going to worry night and night out, we will take hard losses, build during the season, and win when it matters.” 

 The new-look Eagles hope to turn some heads with their perimeter centric offense and fast-paced defensive approach. 

 The Epping Blue Devils and second-year head coach Andrew Marden look to build upon what was a solid first season for him and his group at 6-12.

 Oakley Lustenberger (who will forever be one of my favorite D4 point guards) was sidelined with an ACL injury midway through last season, changing the outlook for Epping but certainly not changing their attitudes. 

 “Losing Oakley was a tough blow, but I thought we played good basketball to finish the season,” said Marden. “How we look at it, we really are only losing one player from last year since we were missing Oakley for so long.” 

 Erika MacLeod returns after a strong junior season. “Erika was quietly our second-leading scorer last season,” said Marden. “We will need her to be more assertive on the offensive end and look for her shot more often while as a coaching staff we need to find her more shots in our offense.” 

 MacLeod was the purest scorer on the roster last season and will look to get better at finishing around the rim this upcoming season to open up the floor for herself more. “She is an extremely coachable player,” said Marden. “I think she is ready to make those steps this year. 

 Jenna Needham returns and will be relied upon as a scoring option from the outside. Needham will need to replace the production that both Lustenberger and leading scorer Hayley Pelletier brought night-in and night-out. 

 The Blue Devils will play a lot of bodies throughout the season to keep players fresh and engaged. “I think with more bodies we will be better suited than in years past,” said Marden. Marden is specifically excited about the strides his sophomore class made throughout the summer. 

 “The big question for us is will we be able to make changes in a day with such a quick schedule?” said Marden. Playing teams twice in the span of three days will force teams to make adjustments on the fly and be prepared to get new things thrown at them. 

 With a good core coming back from last season, Epping looks ready to be competitive in the playoffs. “We’re ready for year two,” said Marden. “As a new coach, there is an adapting period. We've shaken up things that didn’t work last year and are doubling down on things that did work.”

 Portsmouth Christian Academy returns an upperclassmen heavy group that is ready to make some noise. 

 Head coach Lester Wall feels his group's time to compete is now. “We have been a young group in the past,” said Wall. “This year we will be mainly juniors and seniors, 

 Headlining this group of upperclassmen is senior Maddie Trainor. Trainor, an all-state honorable mention recipient a season ago, is ready to end her career on a high note. “I’m really excited for the opportunities she has in front of her this year,” said Wall. 

 Trainor has been a tough matchup for many opposing defenses in years past and is ready for her impactful play to turn into victories. 

 The bracket hasn’t been too kind to the Eagles the past few years, as they have had to travel to Littleton for two straight seasons in the first round. “I thought last year's matchup we played a really good first half and gave ourselves a good chance to win,” said Wall. 

 This season the Eagles hope to escape the first round. With players like Jeuel Young, Lauren Vincint, and Lauren Porchick coming back with another year of experience under their belts, PCA feels they can do just that and more. 

 “This year they have the talent, the experience, and most importantly the understanding of composure,” said Wall. “If they gel early on, they have the opportunity to do something this year.”

  The Lisbon Panthers hope to build upon what was an impressive playoff performance against #4 Sunapee last season. 

 “It’s kind of like when the pressure is on, we step up,” said head coach Nikki Woods. 

 Woods returns a solid 8-9 man rotation that Woods describes to be a “scrappy group”. “All the girls are very hard-working and play very well together.” 

 Aidan Jesseman and Sara Brown will be the leaders of this group. Both are gifted athletes and great scoring threats that the Panthers will rely on heavily this season.  

 “We really need Aidan to be aggressive,” said Woods. “This is her sport.” 

 The Panthers have always been a defensive-minded team and that won’t change this season. “We thrive off of putting pressure on other teams and forcing them to make mistakes,” said Woods. 

 Lisbon has thrived under the spotlight, and Woods gives all the credit to the work her team puts in every day. “They adjust to their competition,” said Woods. “I’d love to see us pull off an upset this year, I think we’re capable of that.”

 Hall of Fame Moultonborough head coach Matt Swedberg and his Panther squad are looking to make the most of this season. 

 “The start of the season has been like a mini-camp,” said Swedberg. “We’re giving them the basics and then we’re off to play.” 

 A 7 win team a season ago, Swedberg feels his group can build upon the strides they made last season. “A Lakes Region heavy schedule will challenge us, but I think it will help us in the long run.” 

 Megan Swedberg will be the focal point for this group. “She wants to make the most of her senior year,” said coach Swedberg. “She’s got a great IQ for the game and is very unselfish.” 

 Swedberg will need to bring it on both ends of the floor. “The ball is going to run through her offensively and defensively she’ll be taking the toughest matchup on the opposing team,” said coach Swedberg. 

 This season will be all about developing and fine-tuning skills that will hopefully result in wins late into the season. “I’m not looking for leaps and bounds quickly,” said Swedberg. “Somewhere down the line, we think things will come together."

 Gorham and head coach Joe Cassidy are hoping depth and defense will be the recipe for winning basketball this season. 

 Madi Buteau, Katelyn Chase, and Emma Bernier are returning starters for the Huskies this season. “They have valuable experience at the varsity level that will help us this year,” said Cassidy. 

 Buteau has run the point the last few seasons and will need to limit mistakes and continue to make the right play on offense.

 Chase’s outside shot has become a good weapon for the Huskies and they will need her to be consistent on a nightly basis.

 Bernier has developed into a reliable forward who will be needed on the boards this season. 

 Zoe Grondin, Sage Gallant, and Halery Desilets were impactful rotation players a season ago who Cassidy is looking for to take the next step this season. 

 Cassidy is excited about his upcoming freshman class. Madi Girouard, Sarah Godin, and Amber Wilson are three freshmen who Cassidy feels will have their fair share of moments this year. “I think they will get a lot of time at the varsity level. 

 Success will come with hard work and defensive intensity for the Huskies. “We will need our defense to generate offensive opportunities,” said Cassidy. “We don’t have a lot of spot-up shooters so we will need to be good on that end every night.”

 Franklin makes the move down to Division IV this season and that move has head coach Maddie Trefethen excited for the upcoming season. “Playing in more competitive games is going to be really good for our program.” 

 Franklin struggled to stay in games in Division III. With a fresh slate and new competition to see down the line, the Golden Tornadoes are ready to play. “The kids are super excited about Division IV,” said Trefethen. 

 Olivia Wattendorf is ready to build upon what was a promising season in her first year in the program after transferring from North Dakota. “Her energy is off the charts,” said Trefethen. “I look for her to make the big play for us.” 

 Wattendorf will run the point and look to up her 14 ppg scoring average from a season ago. 

 Raquel McCoy was the second-leading scorer for Franklin last year. Trefethen is looking to use her more in the post this season to unleash her full potential. “Her and Olivia work really well together,” said Trefethen. “The two together should have a lot of success.” 

 “For them knowing they will make the playoffs is such a huge motivator,” said Trefethen. The Golden Tornadoes hope to show everyone who they are this season and compete in every game. 

 Brad Weekes is hoping his Profile team comes back much improved with a year of experience under their belts. “We played well to end last year and I’m hoping that translates over to the start of this season.” 

 The Patriots were a very young team last season and still are young to begin the 2020-21 campaign. “We’re not going to be pushovers this year,” said Weekes. 

 Mya Brown, Maddie Koehlr, Zoe Liva, and Alyiah Laleme all return for the Patriots and have looked good early on. “They all have a lot of knowledge for the game,” said Weekes. 

 All four were key contributors as underclassmen and Weekes is hoping they will continue to grow throughout the year and have their contributions turn into victories. 

 “I’m optimistic about this season,” said Weekes. With a schedule that features some familiar faces and new competition in White Mountains, Profile wants to play good basketball from start to finish. 

 “My goal for this season is to win in the sense that we finish strong,” said Weekes. “We want to go into the playoffs with high spirits and do some damage if we can.” 

 Canaan-Pittsburg has had an interesting start to the season, but are excited to get on the court soon. “We are on a week-to-week basis,” said head coach Matt Jordan. 

 The Yellow Jackets were a Top 10 season a year ago at 12-6 and look to finish in that range once again this year. “We beat the teams we were supposed to last year and competed with some of the top teams in the division,” said Jordan. 

 Sophie Grondin returns and looks to relish in a bigger role as a junior. “She is my best athlete,” said Jordan. “She will bring the ball up, guard the opposing team's center if need be, she does all the little things for us.” 

  Grondin will need to be a do-it-all player for the Yellow Jackets if they want to compete in a tough North Country region. 

 Sophomores Hannah Cote and Jacqueline Girioux were the 2nd and 3rd leading scorers for Canaan-Pittsburg a season ago, and both come into this season with high aspirations. “We will need them to step it up a notch,” said Jordan. 

 A core three of Grondin, Cote, and Girioux should be a great starting point for a team that has improved drastically over the past few years. 

 “Getting over the hump and beating the upper escholant of the division is what we are looking to do this season,” said Jordan. “As a coach, I need to do my part and improve on in-game adjustments to have our team ready for anything.” 

 

Pre-Season Player of the Year

Angelina Nardolillo of Hinsdale

 

Pre-Season First Team All-State

Angelina Nardolillo of Hinsdale

Sage Smith of Colebrook 

Samantha Howe of Colebrook 

Delaney Wilcox of Hinsdale 

Olivia Sarkis of Woodsville

 

Pre-Season Second Team All-State

Emy Plage of Derryfield 

Brianna Fillion of Newmarket 

Emily Prest of Woodsville 

Lauren McKee of Littleton 

Nodia Davenport of Groveton

 

Players to watch: Abby Pollari of Sunapee, Chloe Weeks of Farmington, Jaclyn Peaselee of Farmington, Megan Roberts of Hinsdale, Alyvia Drapeau of Lin-Wood, Shawna Lesmerais of Derryfield, Erika MacLeod of Epping, Maddie Trainor of PCA, Oliva Wattendorf of Franklin, Megan Swedberg of Moultonborough, Graci Kaiser of Woodsville, Morgan Wagstaff of Woodsville, Aidan Jesseman of Lisbon, Hannah Cote of Canaan-Pittsburg  

 

Coming tomorrow: Division III

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