The Chittenden County Girls Basketball Guide

The Chittenden County Girls Basketball Guide


The Chittenden County Girls Basketball Guide



Coach: Doug Cheeseman (16th season)

Last season: 7-14; lost to Essex in Division I playdowns

* Key returnees: Olivia Maher, forward, senior; Ilona Maher, forward, junior; Breanna Pidgeon, guard/forward, junior; Georgia Black, guard/forward, junior; Kaitlin Garrison, guard/forward, junior; Ajla Medic, forward, sophomore

Key newcomers: Too early to tell.

Outlook: With size and athleticism, the Seahorses can rebound and maintain a dangerous bench rotation. BHS also has most of its team intact from a year ago when it gave seven sophomores quality minutes. “It’s a great group of kids who have a real passion for basketball,” said Cheeseman of his team that includes just one senior.

* Opener: Monday vs. Brattleboro

Champlain Valley

Coach: Ute Otley (second season)

Last season: 21-4; lost to Rice in Division I championship

* This season: 0-0 entering Thursday’s game vs. South Burlington

* Key returnees: Emily Kinneston, guard, junior; Kaelyn Kohlasch, guard, junior; Alex Krupp, guard, senior; Elspeth Grasso, guard, senior

* Key newcomers: Taylor Goldsborough, forward, senior

* Outlook: The Redhawks are rebuilding after losing a lot of firepower — four starters and five of their top seven players — to graduation. Kinneston, the team’s leading scorer at 9.5 points per game last season, is poised to take on a bigger role this winter while Kohlasch is a dangerous shooter. “It will be a work in progress,” Otley said

* Up next: Wednesday at Spaulding


Coach: T.J. Sawyer (fourth season)

Last season: 17-6; lost to Rice in Division I semifinals

This season: 1-0 entering Thursday’s game vs. Essex

Key returnees: Jackie Nagle, forward, junior; Sarah Paskevich, guard, senior; Pearl Abiti, forward, junior; Alana Feeley, guard, junior; Cassidy Wells, guard, junior

Key newcomers: Too early to tell.

Outlook: The Lakers took a major step forward last year, compiling a school record for wins while reaching their first semifinals. To stay among the D-I heavyweights, the Lakers will rely on Nagle, who averaged about 11 rebounds and two blocks per game last winter, and Paskevich for production while Jackie Sortor attempts to return from a knee injury by midseason, Sawyer said.

* Up next: Wednesday at St. Johnsbury

Coach: Shawn Montague (11th season)

Last season: 16-7; lost to Champlain Valley in Division I semifinals

This season: 0-0 entering opener at Colchester on Thursday night

Key returnees: Kari Lavalette, guard, senior; Kara Sheftic, forward, junior; Lauren Miles, guard, senior; Jessie Barnett, guard, forward; Alex Macfarlene, forward, senior

Key newcomers: Too early to tell.

Outlook: With the backcourt play of Lavalette, a lethal outside shooter, meshed with Sheftic’s post presence, the Hornets should provide nightly matchup problems for their opponents. Essex also hopes to run the floor to become a multi-dimensional squad with additional options. “I think they can go as far as they want to go,” Montague said.

Up next: Monday vs. South Burlington


Coach: Mike Lefebvre (12th season)

Last season: 15-7; lost to Lyndon in Division II quarterfinals

* This season: 0-1

Key returnees: Nicole Menard, guard, senior; Mary Rawley, guard; senior; Danielle Phelps, forward, junior; Samantha Ryea, forward, senior; Paige Johnson, guard/forward, junior

Key newcomers: Kaitlyn Brouard, guard, sophomore; Kaitlin Reilly, guard, sophomore

Outlook: Menard, Rawley and Phelps are returning starters, key players who will need to fill the production lost from Katie O’Brien and Samantha Rock, both of whom graduated. “We have speed and good athletes. It’s just a question of how quickly the younger players come along,” Lefebvre said.

* Up next: Today at BFA-Fairfax

Mount Mansfield

Coach: Seth McQuade (first season)

Last season: 2-19; lost to Champlain Valley in Division I playdowns

This season: 0-1

Key returnees: Andrea Duncan, forward, senior; Meaghan Hughes, forward, senior; Kristin Hallock, guard, senior; Rebecca Rapaez, center, sophomore

Key newcomers: Colby Knight, forward, sophomore; Vanessa Youngman, guard, sophomore

* Outlook: McQuade, a former BFA-Fairfax head softball and JV basketball coach, takes over a program that still needs time to grow. “We have some talent and skill, but we lack experience at the varsity level. We are going to have to fight to be successful and I think the kids can do that.” Rapaez is key to MMU’s offense.

* Up next: Today at Harwood


Coach: Tim Rice (fourth season)

Last season: 20-5; won Division I championship over Champlain Valley

* This season: 1-0

* Key returnees: Cassidy Derda, forward, senior; Hailee Barron, guard, junior; Tomi Akinpetide, guard/forward, senior; Carolyn Snell, guard/forward, sophomore; Ellie Zuk, guard, junior; Gemma Cirignano, guard/forward, junior

* Key newcomers: Alexis Avonda, guard/forward, sophomore

* Outlook: The Green Knights return the core from a team that helped the program notch a second straight championship. Opponents will be forced to pick their poison: Derda is one of the most imposing forwards in the state while Barron and Akinpetide make up a lethal backcourt.

* Up next: Saturday at Mount Anthony

South Burlington

Coach: Sheila Burleigh (39th season)

Last season: 9-12; lost to BFA-St. Albans in Division I playdowns

* This season: 0-0 entering opener at Champlain Valley on Thursday night

* Key returnees: Allie Flaherty, guard, senior; Shannon Flaherty, guard, junior; Sage Barton, forward, junior; Taylor Gloyd, guard, junior; Kayla Gilding, guard, junior; Sarah Fisher, sophomore, forward; Mary Flynn, forward, senior; Sara Shiman, guard, senior

* Key newcomers: Megan Mostyn, guard/forward, sophomore; Sarah Couture, center, sophomore; Natalie Phelps, forward/guard, sophomore

* Outlook: Burleigh lauds the leadership and versatility on the roster. Shannon Flaherty is an experienced point guard with several scoring options at her disposal — all looking to help the Rebels improve on last year’s finish and be a contending team in the Lake Division.

* Up next: Monday at Essex


Coach: Tom Prim (third season)

Last season: 13-9; lost to Enosburg in Division III quarterfinals

* This season: 1-0

Key returnees: Brianna Robare, guard, senior; Ashley Antoniak, guard, senior; Fallon Perrault, forward, junior; Amanda Nattress, guard/forward, sophomore; Ava Eaton, guard, sophomore; Christina Dang, center, sophomore

Key newcomers: Moriah Leary, guard, senior; Niki Dang, forward, sophomore

Outlook: After knocking on the door to a trip to the Barre Auditorium last year, the Spartans return a wealth of experience and talent “to make that final jump,” said Prim, who recently put his players through a grueling week of two-a-days in preparation for their uptempo style that includes a press. Robare is on pace for 1,000 career points.

Up next: Today vs. Williamstown


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