Laker winter sports preview guide

KELSEY WINSLOW, a starting senior forward, focuses on sinking a foul shot during Saturday's preseason scrimmage against Gorham. (Rivet Photo)

VARSITY GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Head Coach: Paul True, eighth year

Assistant Coaches: Kevin Hancock, Doug Banks, Pauline Webb (JV/Assistant Coach)

Top returnees: Sydney Hancock, senior, guard; Tiana-Jo Carter, junior, center; Kelsey Winslow, senior, forward; Sarah Hancock, sophomore, guard; Kayleigh Lepage, senior, guard; Kate Cutting, senior, forward; and Savannah Devoe, senior, forward.

Top newcomers: Miranda Chadbourne, junior, guard/forward; Lucy Fowler, junior, guard; and CeCe Hancock, freshman, guard.

Varsity squad members: Kari Eldridge, senior, forward; Meghan VanLoan, sophomore, center; Spencer True, freshman, guard.

Team strengths: Versatility at both ends of the floor. “We’re capable of mixing it up with multiple defenses,” Coach True said. “Based on our personnel, we can play an up-tempo or we can slow it down and play halfcourt. We have a lot of options.”

Coach True cites defensive ability and team effort/attitude as other strengths.

“Defensively, this group of kids are very solid fundamentally,” he said. “We talk on a daily basis that as a team we can control two things every game — our effort and our attitude. So far (in the preseason), we are really getting the job done at both ends of the court.”

Question marks: As in past seasons, Coach True lists free throw percentage as a concern. It is puzzling that a club that has a number of outstanding shooters — including those with long-range accuracy — yet struggles at the foul line, something that is pivotal in tight games in the closing minutes.

SARAH HANCOCK (right) had a solid freshman season, and will look to take her game to the next level this winter in a more prominent role. (Rivet Photo)

“One thought I’ve had is that because of the pace we play at, do our kids get worn down physically at the end of games and thus struggle at the line?” True wondered. “But, on the other hand, we practice at the same pace every day, so conditioning shouldn’t be an issue. It all comes down to focus.”

True says this edition includes several players with similar skill sets, who will battle it out for varsity minutes.

Maybe the biggest key as to whether the Lakers can defend their Class B West title is the squad’s overall health over the 18-game regular season. The Lakers enter this Friday’s season opener at Poland a little nicked. Starting guard Sydney Hancock has been recovering from a hamstring injury suffered during the fall soccer season, while promising guard CeCe Hancock is battling a quad strain. All-star center Tiana-Jo Carter is working through a knee issue, while guard Sarah Hancock is bouncing back from a slightly separated shoulder suffered during soccer season.

Keys to the season: Health. Staying out of foul trouble. And, staying focused on what the team can control and what they do well.

“I have no problem with the aggressive foul, however, we really need to stay away from picking up silly reach-ins or fouls away from the hoop,” Coach True said.

What has impressed you during preseason? “Our positive energy. Our kids generally care and support each other,” Coach True said. “On Saturday (during scrimmages against Gorham and Mt. Ararat, both victories), I saw steady improvement in our paying attention to details — like blocking out. Those little phases of the game are important, especially when we get into tight games. We made a giant step paying attention to those details.”

For the team to be successful, we must… “Play hard. Play smart. Play together,” Coach True said. Noting that basketball is a long grind, Coach True continually emphasizes to his players that while they will work hard to develop as a team, each must “have some fun,” as well.

What do you like most about this year’s team? “Versatility,” the coach said. “This team reminds me of the old days here, which we created a lot of havoc with a number of players getting after it. We also have the ability to change things up rather quickly.”

Outlook: Coming off a 19-3 record (16-2 regular season mark) and a trip to the State Finals, the Lakers will once again find themselves wearing that familiar “target” on their backs. With several young and inexperienced players expected to log major varsity minutes this year, will there be added pressure? Coach True doesn’t see the challenge ahead as pressure, but instead as an “exciting chance” to push themselves to be the best players and team possible.

“We know that when we face some teams, it is like a playoff game for them. To me, that’s exciting. It helps us to keep our focus, intensity and effort where it has to be,” he said. “We need to bring our ‘A’ game every time we step onto the court. If we do that, we will be in a good position to be successful.”

Coach True believes this year’s path will be much more challenging.

“There is absolutely zero nights off. It is going to be a very competitive night in and night out, which should make for some exciting basketball,” Coach True said. “Every team has a top player to worry about — a major contributor who is back this year. It’s going to be tough.”

Home schedule

Thursday, Dec. 13, Waynflete, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 15, Freeport, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 5, Wells, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 11, Falmouth, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 19, Poland, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 26, York, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 1, Greely, 7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 4, Fryeburg, 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 8, Gray-NG, 7 p.m.

Away schedule

Friday, Dec. 7, Poland, 5:30 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 10, Yarmouth, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 18, Gray-NG, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 22, Cape Elizabeth, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 3, Greely, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 8, York, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 15, Freeport, 7 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 21, Fryeburg, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 29, Falmouth, 7 p.m.

QUINN PILAND, a sophomore, will be counted upon giving the Lakers an inside presence this season. (Rivet Photo)

VARSITY BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Head Coach: J.P. Yorkey, third year

Assistant Coaches: Chris Marston, John Mayo and Chas Nicholas.

Top returnees: Mike Triglione, senior, forward; Mike Mageles, senior, guard; Sam Smith, junior, guard; Ben Chaine, junior, guard; and Cody Gibbons, junior, forward.

Top newcomer: Quinn Piland, sophomore, forward/center; Jackson Lesure, freshman, guard; Mark Williams, junior, guard; Adam Faulk, senior, center; and Nate Smith, freshman, guard.

Varsity squad members: Lewis Morton, Mark MacDougall, Nick Hall, Nick Wandishin and Sean Edwards.

Team strengths: Experience from returning varsity players, guard play and depth from young players.

Question Marks: Size, rebounding and how quickly new players can make an impact.

Keys to the season:  Defense, rebounding and offensive execution.

What has impressed you during the preseason: Team morale, commitment and initial defense.

For the team to be successful, we must… “Rebound as a team every night and execute on offense,” Coach Yorkey said.

What do you like most about this year’s team: “Without questions, it is the kids themselves,” Coach Yorkey said. “I love LR kids. As a team, I like their focus.”

Home schedule

Tuesday, Dec. 11, Yarmouth, 7 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 21, Cape Elizabeth, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 3, Greely, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 9, York, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 16, Freeport, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 19, Poland, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 29, Falmouth, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 5, Fryeburg, 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 8, Gray-NG, 5:30 p.m.

Away schedule

Friday, Dec. 7, Poland, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 13, Waynflete, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 15, Freeport, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 18, Gray-NG, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 5, Wells, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 11, Falmouth, 7 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 21, Fryeburg, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 26, York, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 1, Greely, 7 p.m.

 

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