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Girls basketball preview: Team capsules

JERREY ROBERTS
Amanda Calvo of Frontier, front, moves the ball past Cate Cherry of Wahconah Wednesday at Frontier.

JERREY ROBERTS Amanda Calvo of Frontier, front, moves the ball past Cate Cherry of Wahconah Wednesday at Frontier. Purchase photo reprints »

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Amherst Regional

COACH: Liz Kay, first year

LEAGUE: Suburban

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 18-4, 9-1

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Holyoke 43-36 in 2012 WMass D-1 semifinals

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Sarah Mangels Sr. G/F 2.1

Elena Valenzuela-Stookey Jr. G/F 2.1

RETURNING PLAYERS: Juniors — Xin Xin Tarren, G; Julia Fay, F; Sophomore — Taylor Bartmon, F

NEWCOMERS: Senior — Natalia Ciesielska, G; Sophomores — Nadia Squitiero, G; Justine Bohl, G; Freshmen — Jamie Staples, G; Katie Dunn, F; Jada Glasgow, G; Antriese Suarez, F; Meghan Sharick, G

OUTLOOK: Kay, who coached at Coventry in Connecticut for the last seven years, takes over for Christal Murphy, who led the program to a 99-35 record in six years. The Hurricanes are extremely young, but will still have the same signature intensity and work ethic it has had in its rise to contention in recent years. Mangels, Valenzuela-Stookey and Tarren all played extended minutes last year. The team will have to replace virtually all of its offense from a year ago.

Belchertown

COACH: Jason Woodcock, fifth year

LEAGUE: Bi-County East

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 12-10, 5-3

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Palmer 64-36 in 2012 WMass D-2 quarterfinals

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Marissa Kopacz Sr. F 9.0

Jillian Lund Sr. G/F 3.9

RETURNING PLAYERS: Senior — Sarah Woodcock, F; Junior — Jillian Cavanaugh, F; Sophomore — Téa Spellacy, G

NEWCOMERS: Seniors — Courtney Fox, G; Kayla McGrath, C; Emily Silva, F; Juniors — Carrie Aberdale, F; Jackie Soucia, G; Sophomores — Kelsey Shea, F; Jessica Zalucki, G

OUTLOOK: The Orioles had their three-year semifinal run end last season on the road, but return a squad talented enough to get back to the Curry Hicks Cage yet again. Kopacz is a steady presence on the block who had eight double-doubles last season. Lund is a terrific defender who can guard in the post or on the wing. Spellacy was one of the top freshman in western Mass. last year. After coming off the bench as instant offense and leading the team with 11.2 points per game, she’ll move into the starting lineup as a sophomore. The team has plenty of size in the starting lineup and on the bench, and it will be guard play around Spellacy that will likely determine how far this year’s team goees.

Easthampton

COACH: Jay Fortier, fourth year

LEAGUE: Franklin South

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 18-5, 14-4

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Mahar 58-50 in 2012 WMass D-2 semifinals

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Elizabeth Whitney Sr. C/F 17.6

Kelly Avard Sr. F/G 4.3

Ali Dabek Jr. G/F 3.9

RETURNING PLAYERS: Seniors — Rachel Connell, G; Abby Edgin, F; Juniors — Courtney Nelson-DeNucci, G/F; Ashley Sharp, F; Kristen Windoloski, G

NEWCOMERS: Juniors — Tierney George, G/F; Ali Otis, F; Sophomore — Ashley Reardon, G; Freshmen — Niki Lewandowski, F; Courtney Urban, G

OUTLOOK: The program took a big step forward in Fortier’s third year on the sidelines, earning a share of the league title with Hopkins, reaching the postseason for the first time since 2008 and advancing to the semis. Whitney is one of the top post players in WMass and is 76 points away from 1,000 for her career. Avard is a matchup nightmare with her length. Her emergence, along with that of Dabek and Windoloski were key to the team improving by 11 wins last season. The team must find a way to replace graduated guard Haley Domina, who did a lot of the ball-handling and could take over offensively at times.

Frontier Regional

COACH: Frank Keimig, first year

LEAGUE: Franklin South

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 11-10, 11-7

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Belchertown 44-30 in 2012 WMass D-2 first round

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Sydney Judge Sr. G 4.5

Amanda Calvo Jr. G 8.3

Olivia Riordan Jr. G 7.7

RETURNING PLAYERS: Seniors — Jordan Rowe, G; Brice Gagnon, G; Sophomore — Camilla Baronas, F/C; Freshmen — Jordyn Roberts, G; Mindy Esposito, G

NEWCOMERS: Juniors — McKayla Poissant, G; MacKenzie Clift, G/F; Katie Fournier, C; Sophomore — Jackie Spencer, F; Freshman — Katherine Miner, C

OUTLOOK: Keimig, the junior varsity coach for the last several seasons, takes over after Ralph Loos, who is now at Westfield. Team will be undersized against bigger opponents, but can run and play defense. Riordan, Calvo and Judge should build on strong 2011-12 seasons, while Rowe’s return from a knee injury also helps. Judge is one of the top on-ball defenders in GazetteLand, while Riordan and Calvo have the ability to score in bunches. Roberts saw plenty of action as an eighth-grader last year.

Gateway Regional

COACH: Elijah Robbins, fifth year

LEAGUE: Tri-County

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 17-3, 16-0

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Ware 55-27 in 2012 WMass D-3 quarterfinals

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Brooke Fairman Sr. C/F 6.2

Chelsi Derrig Jr G 6.9

RETURNING PLAYERS: Senior — Kaitlin Mastello, C/F; Juniors — Casey McKittrick, C/F; Becca Williams, F; Arielle Baillargeon, F; Sophomores — Caroline Booth, F; Jessie Walton, G

NEWCOMERS: Sophomores — Conner Griffin, G; Molly O’Brien, F; Freshmen — Joanna Arkoette, G; Alyssa Moreau, G

OUTLOOK: The Gators won their third straight league title last year and picked up their first tournament win in some time with a 48-23 victory over Tri-County foe Franklin Tech in the first round. They’ll have to deal with the graduation of guard Chelsea Merritt (14.4 points per game). Fairman could be in for a big year in the paint.

Granby

COACH: Tom Burke, seventh year

LEAGUE: Bi-County Central

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 16-6, 4-4

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Lenox 60-31 in 2012 WMass D-3 quarterfinals

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Brooke Labrie Sr. G 7.7

Noelle Menard Sr. F 4.7

Rebecca Sapoukey Jr. C 6.3

Meghan Sullivan So. G 10.2

RETURNING PLAYERS: Seniors — Briannah Mercier, F; Melissa L’Heureux, F/C; Juniors — Kiley Baran, G; Casey Imelio, F; Tara Mikalchus, F

NEWCOMERS: Junior — Kayla Bailly, G; Eighth-grader — Kate Sullivan, G

OUTLOOK: The Rams are deep and talented. They can play with two bigs or four guards without losing much on either end of the floor. Meghan Sullivan is already one of the top players in GazetteLand and could take the next step in her third varsity season. Sapoukey, meanwhile, emerged as a force in the middle, especially on defense, as a sophomore, while Imelio is an athletic presence. Labrie and Menard anchor a senior class loaded with experience, while newcomer Kate Sullivan — Meghan’s sister — is primed to have an impact from the start.

Hampshire Regional

COACH: Rich Moussette, third year

LEAGUE: Bi-County East

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 10-11, 5-3

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Easthampton 55-40 in 2012 WMass D-2 quarterfinals

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Sarah Kober Sr. F 13.0

Bri Weltlich Jr. F 6.0

Anna Dziok Jr. G 6.0

Chelsea Moussette Fr. G 4.4

RETURNING PLAYERS: Senior — Miranda Boucher, G; Juniors — Jess Kowal, G/F; Laura Whiteley, F; Madison Boucher, G; Sophomores — Lauren Aldrich, G/F; Savannah Waters, G

NEWCOMERS: Freshman — Nicole Buzzee, G; Eighth-grader — Katy O’Connor, F

OUTLOOK: The Raiders went 10-5 down the stretch last season before falling in the quarterfinals. Kober, who had 14 double-doubles last year, looks to put the finishing touches on a standout career. She enters the season with 675 career points. Weltlich, Dziok, Kowal and Whiteley should all take on more of the scoring burden this year, while Moussette continues to grow as the point guard.

Holyoke Catholic

COACH: Terry Murphy, 28th year

LEAGUE: Bi-County West

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 12-10, 7-1

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Lee 66-25 in 2012 WMass D-3 quarterfinals

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Kyra Robins So. G 7.0

Danielle Easton So. G/F 4.8

RETURNING PLAYERS: Senior — Katy McClaflin, G; Juniors — Katie Klejna, F/C; Lauren Malone, C; Liz Cavanaugh, G/F; Lilli Klejna, G/F; Lindsey Robins, F; Sophomore — Julia Hiney

NEWCOMERS: Junior — Reili Plante, F; Sophomore — Taylor Leclair, G; Freshman — Alliana Hasiuk, F

OUTLOOK: The Gaels bring back a strong pair of sophomores who played well in their first year last season. Kyra Robins and Easton will have to pick up some more of the offensive slack this year. Katie Klejna also saw plenty of minutes and is ready to step in to an even more featured role. Lindsey Robins returned to the team after one year away from the team.

Hopkins Academy

COACH: Fred Ciaglo, third year

LEAGUE: Franklin South

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 15-7, 14-4

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Sabis 58-34 in 2012 WMass D-3 quarterfinals

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Olivia Mathieu Sr. G 14.8

Kate Sullivan So. G/F 12.8

Mackenzie Sullivan So. G/F 8.2

RETURNING PLAYERS: Juniors — Madi Stevens, G; Nicole Morrison, F

NEWCOMERS: Senior — Celeste Beaulieu, F; Juniors — Lacey Waskiewicz, G; Kayla Jacque, G; Kari Cristoforo, F; Kyra Michalak, F

OUTLOOK: The Golden Hawks split the league title with Easthampton and should be in contention again behind the lead of their three returning starters. Mathieu, who enters the season with 792 career points, missed soccer season after tearing her ACL in the first round basketball win over rival Smith Academy. She missed the quarterfinal contest against the Bulldogs. Stevens averaged 6.9 points per game last year.

Northampton

COACH: Perry Messer, fifth year

LEAGUE: Valley Wheel

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 12-9, 6-6

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Amherst 56-50 in 2012 WMass D-1 quarterfinals

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Anna Walther Jr. G 14.1

Maya Kerstetter Jr. F/G 8.4

Anna Moore Jr. F/C 7.6

Charlotte Maurer So. G 2.4

RETURNING PLAYERS: Senior — Susan Bell, G; Juniors — Khaila Ramirez, G; Nadine Harris, G; Sophomores — Maggie Mahoney, F; Rachel Sheehan, C; Emilie Baldwin, F/C; Haley Subocz, G/F

NEWCOMERS: Junior — Erika Kotch, F; Sophomore — Emma Findlay, G

OUTLOOK: The Blue Devils were 4-1 before Kerstetter hurt her foot during a loss to Pittsfield last year and fought their way to a 12-win season. Junior class is extremely talented and has the chance to step up and lead program back to top of Division 1.

Smith Academy

COACH: Fred Granville, first year

LEAGUE: Franklin South

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 10-11, 8-10

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Hopkins 51-46 in 2012 WMass D-3 first round

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Cassidy Snyder Jr. F 9.5

Kate Yagodzinski So. G/F 3.6

RETURNING PLAYERS: Senior — Emi Barker, G; Freshman — Ashley Higgins, C

NEWCOMERS: Sophomore — Katherine Hogan, F/C; Freshmen — Rachel Newton, F/C; Moira Pitrat, G/F; Kayla Miastowski, F/C; Eighth-graders — Olivia Shaw-Merrigan, G/F; Santana Dubois, G; Olivia Cavanaugh, G; Seventh-graders — Isabelle Duseau, G; Hannah Rickert, G/F; Shannen Hogan, F/C

OUTLOOK: Granville takes over the program from Ted Wilcox, who took the job at Turners Falls, his hometown. The Falcons must replace all kinds of productivity lost with the graduation of 1,000-point scorer Alyssa Klepacki (16.8 points per game). Snyder will be looked on to take more of a leadership role on the court this year and more of the offense will run through her. Higgins impressed in the paint as an eighth-grader. Squad must also replace junior point guard Danielle Duseau, who isn’t playing this year.

Smith Vocational

COACH: Dan Peters, first year

LEAGUE: Tri-County

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 2-16, 2-14

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Ericka Golaski Sr. F 1.0

Natasha Cintron Sr. G 1.2

Priscilla Sepulveda Sr. F 1.1

Zuleika Ortiz Sr. C 1.9

Nashaleid Cintron So. G 4.5

RETURNING PLAYERS: Sophomores — Madeline Spencer Orrell, C; Jocelynn Pierce, F

NEWCOMERS: Sophomores — Kelly Lampron, G; Miranda Clark, F; X’miage Guzman, G; Freshmen — Serita Whitney, G; Victoria Macwilliams, G; Brianna MacCarthy, G

OUTLOOK: Peters takes over for Glenn Doulette, who took over the athletic director job at Turners Falls. The Vikings will have to deal with the graduation of Megan Shain, who averaged 9.0 points per game over the past two years. Nashaleid Cintron had the team’s top scoring performance in a game last year with 18 points in a win over Dean Tech.

South Hadley

COACH: Paul Dubuc, third year

LEAGUE: Bi-County Central

LAST YEAR’S RECORD: 11-10, 3-5

LAST TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: Lost to Hoosac 67-60 in 2012 WMass D-2 first round

RETURNING STARTERS:

Player Year Pos. PPG

Meg Lynes Sr. F 8.4

Tess Gauthier Sr. G 4.2

Meg Ginley Jr. F 7.1

Kara Callahan Jr. G 10.1

Gracie Bailly Jr. G 3.4

RETURNING PLAYERS: Juniors — Kelly Pouliot, G; Delaney Duprat, F; Vic Mielnikowski, F/G

NEWCOMERS: Senior — Liz Militante-Advey, F; Juniors — Abby Lukasik, G; Jackie Bourque, F; Maddie Gatzounas, F

OUTLOOK: The Tigers return a strong core from last year’s squad, including their entire starting five. Lynes and Callahan lead the way and have tremendous chemistry on the court. The junior class is deep and talented. Pouliot averaged 7.1 points per game last year.

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