FA varsity girls’ basketball preview

DRIVING FOR A PLAYOFF — Fryeburg Academy senior guard Maggie McConkey hopes to lead her Raider teammates back to the playoffs this season.

Head Coach: Dan Leland

Assistant Coach: Dagny Leland

Junior Varsity Coach: Steve Bush

The Roster: Seniors Maggie McConkey (guard), Maddy Smith (guard), Emily Wilson (guard), Brenna Gerchman (guard) and Carrie Cressey (forward); juniors Kendra Fox (forward) and Ellen Bacchiocchi (guard/forward); sophomores Sydney Charles (forward), Sarah Welch (forward), Makayla Frost (guard) and Sky Dole (center).

What will it take for the team to be better (5-12) than a year ago? “To improve this year we have a couple areas of focus. We need to take care of the ball. Far too many turnovers last season and this preseason. If we are going to compete, we need to do a much better job handling the basketball,” Coach Leland said. “We need to develop an aggressive style of team defense. And, we need to strike with our special teams. Just like football you have offense, defense and special teams. For us to be competitive, we need to focus on every dead ball and special situation, areas which I consider special teams include out of bounds plays under our basket, sideline out of bounds plays, free throws (offense and defense), opening tip, play coming out of a time out — offense and defense and final possession plays.”

He added, “We need to be accountable as a team. Every player needs to understand their role and work together. We don’t match up well with some teams so we need to execute. Good teams take advantage of mistakes; we simply can’t make as many as we have been.”

Based on what you have seen in the preseason, what do you feel are the team’s strengths and weaknesses? Strengths come from four-year starter Maggie McConkey (8.4 points per game) and post player Skye Dole (8.0 points per game). Both players were selected to take part in the MBR 11th annual preseason All-Star basketball game at Central Maine Community College. “They should be able to help on the offense end of the floor,” Coach Leland said.

Weaknesses, according to the coach, include handling pressure, team defense and rebounding. “These are our focus. They need to improve for us to be in some Western Maine Conference games,” Coach Leland said.

Three goals you have for the team? 1.) Play a post-season game. “We don’t care if it is a prelim and have to travel,” Coach Leland said. “We just want to get in.”

2.) Improve. “We have a very tough start before Christmas. We hope to develop and come together as a team so we can make a run in January,” the coach said.

3.) Have fun. “Isn’t that what it is really all about?” he said.

To be competitive, what are the three key things your squad must do? “To be competitive, you can see above with our areas of focus,” he said.

What three things have you encouraged about this year’s team? “I am encouraged by the quality of student-athletes we have at Fryeburg. The team chemistry is great; they try hard and listen. I have the support of the administration and parents. I think expectations and goals are reasonable,” Coach Leland said. “This is a very tough league. We have our hands full, but with that said, we won’t give up. We will play hard for the entire game.”

What Players Think

What do you see as the three keys for success?

Maggie McConkey: Our three keys to success are simple. Playing strong defense, endurance for 32 minutes, and being able to finish shots in the paint and on the free throw line. Last year, defense was a struggle for us and being able to improve on it for this season will help us for a better outcome.

Sky Dole: I think that the three keys for success this season are working hard on defense, out hustling the other team, and also having strong team chemistry.

What are you most excited about?

Maggie McConkey: I am most excited about having this group of girls to work with my senior year. We all get along perfectly well and that is important.

Sky Dole: I am most excited for games to start to see what we are capable of. I really want to make it to playoffs this year. I really think we can do it.

“We will have a good season if we…”

Maggie McConkey: We will have a good season if we continue to work hard in practice to stay in shape. Like I said, defense will be a key factor so we really need to take on the challenge of being able to press for most of the game and maintain enough energy to play solid offense. Also, we will have a good season if we work hard through every game until the last second. Even if the score is not in our favor, we can’t give up because once we start to give up on ourselves and each other, that’s when problems start to develop.

Sky Dole: We will have a good season if we work together as a team in games and practices and also communicating on the floor.

The Schedule

Fri., Dec. 9, 6:30, York

Tues., Dec. 13, 6:30, at Falmouth

Thu., Dec. 15, 6:30, Cape Elizabeth

Sat., Dec. 17, 3:00, at Greely

Tues., Dec. 20, 6:30, Poland

Thu., Dec. 22, 6:30, Yarmouth

Fri, Dec. 30, TBA, Freeport

Tues., Jan. 3, 6:30, Wells

Fri., Jan. 6, 5:30, at Waynflete

Tues., Jan. 10, 6:30, at Freeport

Sat., Jan. 14, 7:00, at Cape Elizabeth

Tues., Jan. 17, 6:30, Gray-NG

Thu., Jan. 19, 6:30, at Sacopee Valley

Mon., Jan. 23, 7:00, at Lake Region

Fri., Jan. 27, 6:30, Greely

Tues., Jan. 31, 6:30, Freeport

Fri., Feb. 3, 6:00, at Gray-NG

Tues., Feb. 7, 6:30, Lake Region

Fri., Feb. 10, 6:30, at Poland

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