Saturday, December 6, 2008

2008-09 girls high school basketball preview - small schools

Hopefully you picked up a hard copy of our preseason girls basketball teams, but for posterity's sake, here is a digital version.

The Record's
2008-09 small school girls basketball preseason preview:

Top 10 teams
1. Hoosic Valley – It was all about the defense last year in Schaghticoke. The Indians held opponents to a Section II-low 22 points a game. They held the opposing team to fewer than 20 points ten times and Hoosic Valley advanced all the way to the New York State Class B championship game.
"I don't think we'll ever change our focus," said head coach Walter Dorman. "We lost some quickness with Kayla Ryan graduating. We have to figure out how to make up for that. We're committed to playing defense and to playing the game well."
The Indians have won Section II titles for three years running, twice as a Class CC school and last year as a B. They return to Class CC this year, but Dorman expects plenty of competition from the rest of the teams the Indians face in league play.
"We'll have some battles in the Wasaren League," Dorman said. "They've raised the gap and we've lost a few players."

2. Maple Hill - Katie Roth, the Wildcats’ tall, 6-foot-1 sophomore center, will be one of the most dominant players in the Patroon Conference this season.
The Wildcats captured the Patroon regular season title before winning their first-ever Section II Class C title. Maple Hill, however, fell to Watervliet in the Class CC/C playoff.
Point guard Meeghan Arno, also a sophomore, will head the offense. Starting guards Alyssa Filkins, a senior, and Jessica Dailey, a junior, also return.
The Wildcats will be content to take their chances from behind the three-point arc and let Roth clean up on the boards.

3. Cohoes – The Tigers lost four starters and their top substitute, but in a wide-open Colonial Council, Cohoes is hopeful it can defend its share of the 2007-08 Colonial Council title.
"It's going to be interesting," head coach Dan Hytko said. "We're all in the same boat. Whoever matures the fastest is going to have the edge."
Senior forward Meg Keeler is going to be Cohoes' main weapon on the glass and Maggie Maloney will be a big-time scoring threat.
The Tigers were runners up in their season-opening tournament, losing to Maple Hill in the championship game.

4. Watervliet – Tierney McGlynn is going to be a sparkplug on the point as the only returning Cannoneers starter. McGlynn can dish out assists and make steals and Jen Gates, sixth man last year and the only senior on the team, will get a lion's share of the rebounds.
Paige Colfer and Chanessa Blakemore led the Lady Cannoneers to a Class CC championship last year, their second Sectional title in as many seasons. But Colfer (Hudson Valley Community College) and Blakemore (Paris Junior College) are not around anymore.
With eight of the ten players from that team having graduated, the Cannoneers are now infused with youth and a pair of eighth graders will see some significant time.
"Every game we’re getting a little bit better and a little more confident," said head coach Gordie Johnson.

5. Mechanicville – Kelly Murphy, a senior last year, was a first team All-Area selection by The Record and the Red Raiders advanced to the Section II Class CC final before running into Watervliet.
Mechanicville can't possibly replace the reigning Colonial Council MVP, but players such as Shannon McBride and Nicole Manupella sure are going to try.
McBride hit seven three-pointers in Mechanicville's tournament-clinching victory over Schuylerville in the Red Raider Tip-Off on Saturday.

6. Heatly – The Hornets only lost two seniors from a team that advanced to the Class D final four before being edged out by eventual Section II champion Argyle.
Sophomore guard Kate Howe was the Hornets’ leading scorer a year ago (13.8 per game) and she figures to light it up in the CHVL again this time around. She scored a career-high 26 points in a Class D quarterfinal victory over Northville.
Another sophomore, Stasha Cudzey, was a second-team CHVL player last season.

7. Waterford-Halfmoon – Jackie Sorensen was one of the area's leading scorers a season ago, propelling the Lady Fordians to a second-place finish in the CHVL’s Green Division. Waterford was edged out by top-seeded Schenectady Christian in the Section II Class C quarterfinals.
Waterford lost a significant number of starters, while some of the competition in the CHVL returns their top players. It will take some time to see how can fill in around Sorensen, but she is the type of player that can carry a team all by herself.

8. Tamarac – The Bengals have improved their position in the Wasaren League standings three years in a row, playing second fiddle only to Hoosic Valley last season.
"Hoosic Valley is definitely going to be up there but we think we can be competitive with them and challenge for the league title," said head coach Thomas Mulqueen.
Point guard Nikki Cavallo is back to run the offense, along with the ver¬satile Erica Derby. Brittany Smith will be a rebounding force on the inside.
The Bengals scored an opening-round victory over Schalmont in the Section II Class B tournament in February and they’re hoping for more this time around.

9. Emma Willard – Sarah Hutcherson, a four-year varsity player for the Jesters, is hoping to lead Emma Willard to another CHVL Blue Division title.
The Jesters finished 12-1 in league play last season but ran into the Hoosic Valley defensive buzz saw in the Section II Class B Sectionals.

10. Stillwater – The Lady Warriors, along with Schuylerville, should be fighting for one of the top spots in the Wasaren League this season. Abbey Hanehan is looking like the team’s most explosive player, with Maggie Hoogeveen and Carissa Daigle also figuring in as scoring threats.

Preseason Dream Team

Meeghan Arno
5-foot-2, sophomore, point guard
Maple Hill
As a freshman, Arno played point guard on a Wildcats team that won the Section II Class C title. Arno is a pass-first guard that can handle the ball extremely well and also has long-range shooting ability.
"She's aggressive and tough and doesn't back down," said Maple Hill head coach Mark Bubniak. "She takes the ball to the basket. She's constantly been working on her outside shot and opponents are going to have to respect that as well."
Jackie Sorensen
5-foot-5, junior, guard
"She led our team in scoring last year with 15.7 points per game," said Waterford-Halfmoon head coach Jack DuBois. "She's a very good ballplayer that plays both ends of the court and can really shoot."
In fact, Sorensen's scoring average was 10th best among all players in Section II last season.
"She's been playing on the varsity since eighth grade and as a junior this year, she's been named a captain," said DuBois.
Sorensen has her sights set on playing collegiately, but she still has two more seasons at Waterford to prove herself to college coaches before she has to make a decision.

Carolyn Houston
5-foot-10, senior, small forward
Hoosic Valley
Houston has a reputation as a lock¬down defender in head coach Walt Dorman's man-to-man system. A Section II Class B tournament All-Star, Houston averaged 11.4 points per game a season ago and she will be asked to shoot more with the loss of 1,000-point scorer Kayla Ryan.
"She is more of an outside-in type of player," said head coach Walter Dorman. "She'll shoot more jumpers and slash to the hoop. She moves well without the ball and she's aggressive on the defensive end."

Meg Keeler
5-foot-8, senior, power forward
A third generation Keeler captain at Cohoes, Meg, who has been a varsity player since eighth grade, will be relied on to fill the leadership void left by the loss of four starters and the Tigers’ top substitute.
"She knew what she was getting her¬self into," Cohoes head coach Dan Hytko laughed. "Eventually, it would come to be her turn to be the leader."
An inside presence for the Tigers a season ago, Keeler averaged 8.8 points and grabbed 8.3 rebounds per game, leading the Tigers to a share of the Colonial Council title.

Samantha Anderson
6-foot, senior, center
Hoosic Valley
Anderson is the Indians' main presence in the paint, but she is also athletic enough to play on the perimeter. She anchored the defense during Hoosic Valley's run through the Section II Class B postseason in 2007-08.
"In the post, she's very strong," said head coach Walter Dorman. "She can shoot with both hands. She can go up with the left or with the right. She also has very good range on her jumper and she hit a three in our first game. She understands how to play defense and when to come out and help her teammates."

Second String
G Maggie Maloney, junior, Cohoes
G Shannon McBride, Jr., Mechanicville
F Abbey Hanehan, senior, Stillwater
F Erica Derby, senior, Tamarac
C Katie Roth, sophomore, Maple Hill

-- Compiled by Will Montgomery

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