GIRLS’ BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Lady Plainsmen have the right stuff

Shenendehowa coach Ken Strube didn’t know what to expect last year when he had to replace his entire
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Shenendehowa coach Ken Strube didn’t know what to expect last year when he had to replace his entire starting lineup.

There are no such question marks this season. The Lady Plainsmen have 10 players back — including all five starters — from last season’s team that got to the Class AA final.

“We had five new varsity starters last year,” said Strube. “We knew they had talent, but we kind of tiptoed through disaster a couple of times.”

Rosalyn Alexander, Marissa Ray, Allie Setter, Meg Rogers and Emily Webber are all back after a year together as a starting unit.

“We’re very excited about having them all back,” said Strube. “It’s a great group, and they learned a lot about playing together last season.”

Shenendehowa has players that can penetrate, shoot from outside, hit the boards, play defense and create matchup problems with their size.

“Roz and Marissa have been playing together since Biddie basketball,” said Strube. “Marissa is a real special player. And at 6-foot-2, she creates problems for other teams’ defenses.”

Setter had a breakout season as a sophomore.

“She really raised her game and led by example,” said Strube of the 5-11 junior, who finished the season as the leading scorer in a balanced lineup.

Weber led the Lady Plainsmen with 13 points in the 46-42 loss to Bethlehem in the sectional finals.

Seniors Andrea Mangione and Kayla Wheeler, and 11th-grader Maggie Smith can come off the bench and maintain or change the tempo and/or style of play.

“Andrea is a high-intensity kid,” said Strube. “She can come in and give us a real quick boost.”

With reigning champ Beth­lehem gutted by graduation, Strube is looking at Colonie and Shaker as possible major players in both the Suburban Council league season and the Class AA postseason tourney.

Colonie’s top returning players are Theresa Coles (11.5 ppg in the SC) and Amy Jefferson. Senior guard Rachel Schofield had her soccer season cut short by a knee injury.

Shaker has a standout soph­omore in Lauren Woods (10.2 ppg in league play) and a veteran guard in Erica Houle.

Bethlehem returns just third-year varsity player Jaclyn Oskam from last winter’s championship club, with Matt Bixby up from the freshman team to take over the varsity coaching duties.

Guilderland has five sophomores on a roster led by seniors Melissa Winne, Erin Kelly and Katherine Keegan.

Niskayuna could surprise, as the Silver Warriors return Katie Cocca, Kim Fagan, Lindsay Mayo and sophomore Kayla Trainor. Niskayuna lost standout Emily Bayly to injury early last season, and that setback may turn into a benefit this winter.

“We never really had Emily last season, so the other girls had to pick it up and learn to play together,” said coach Sara Neely. “Most of those players are seniors this year, and they’re going have to step it up again.”

Saratoga Springs returns standout senior guard Kayla Crawford, along with Melissa Barney and center Kathleen Hannan.

Amsterdam will shoot for a Big 10 title and deep run into the Class AA playoffs behind its returning group of Emily Greco, Skippy Ripepi, Allie Zabo and Hillary Rouse. Michaela Ottati has transferred to Averill Park.

“Zabo is a four-year player, and Rouse is in her third year, so we’ve got some players with a lot of experience,” said Rams coach Eric Duemler.”I think we’re more athletic than last year.”

Albany will rely on seniors Maria Koutsakis and Fern Beetle-Moorcroft, and freshman Emia Willingham-Hurst should make an impact for first-year head coach Kelly Haggerty.

Schenectady will struggle, as the Patriots replace all-league players Sheila Dixon and Antonia Will­iams.

Making matters worse, senior Carissa Cromwell is out with a torn ACL.

Audra Dibacco steps into the head coaching job at Catholic Central, where she’ll lean on returning players Lexi Cuomo, Maria Foglia and Taliah Pounds.

CLASS A

Averill Park added Ottati to an experienced, deep lineup led by first-team all-state pick Katie Duma and the O’Shea sisters, Brittany and Brooke.

“We have nine returning seniors,” said Averill Park coach Sean Organ. “We have the potential to be a very good team.”

Ottati brings a variety of skills that will complement her new teammates.

“She has the ability to create off the drive, she’s got a good mid-range shot,” said Organ.

Duma, who went over the 1,000-point career mark as a junior, led the SC in scoring a year ago.

Mohonasen lost its two top players from the 2009 sectional champ­ionship team. Dayna Lashin, Ashley Tallman, Lea McLain and Courtney Cowel are the main holdovers.

“Lea and Ashley are excellent scorers, and I think Dayna is one of the better post players in the area,” said Mighty Warriors coach Paul Brosious. “Their experience from last year should help, but on paper, Averill Park is one of the best teams in the state.”

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake coach Don Juron feels his club will be in the mix at the end of the season. As has been the case in recent years, the success of the girls’ fall sports teams put his club a little behind its rivals.

“I’m one of those who think that kids who are successful in one sport can transfer that to another team,” said Juron, whose daughter, Jenna, will be one of his top players.

Maria Allocco, Kayla Brown, Helen Lawry, Emily Pearce, Nicole Shively and Lizzy Morton also return to a team that also gets three-sport standout Emily Ostrom back from a knee injury that took away her junior year.

“We’re athletic, we can extend the floor,” said Juron. “We have the kids who can push the pace.”

All-stater Kierra Moore (12.2 ppg in the Colonial Council in 2008-90) leads a solid bunch of returning players for Holy Names, which lost its only game of the season in the semis against Averill Park.

Glens Falls — with Kasey Sullivan, Genese Romeo and Amanda Martin back — and Scotia-Glenville should compete for the Foothills Council title.

The Tartans have three solid underclassmen in Sarah Janson, Foothills Council scoring leader Cassie Broadhead and Danielle Conley.

Lansingburgh brings back Col­onial MVP Arianna Youngs (13.2 ppg in league play). Gloversville gets back second-team Foothills selection Kaitlin Clemente.

CLASS B

This classification boasts some of the top players in the state in Watervliet’s Tierney McGlynn, Johnstown’s Hillary Kollar and Fonda-Fultonville senior Paula Egelston.

Watervliet topped Johnstown for the Class B title in 2009 as McGlynn, Nae White and Ailayia Diamond helped the Cannoneers beat Foothills Council MVP Kollar and teammates Kendra Cooper and Rebecca Kosowicz.

McGlynn was named a second-team all-state player, and Kollar got a spot on the seventh team.

Egelston (18.2 ppg in the Western Athletic Conference) is a regular double-double producer for the Braves. She’ll be part of a good senior group that includes Alyssa Nowak, Amanda Baker and Kim Lepine.

Shannon McBride and Nicole Manupella are back as Mechanicville attempts to move further up the Colonial standings and deeper into the postseason.

Abbey Hanehan, a sixth-team all-starter, and Carissa Daigle give Stillwater a good one-two punch, as Hanehan led the Wasaren League in scoring last season.

Carley Galarneau takes over at Schalmont, where she has a roster with six seniors and three soph­omores, led by Kelly Piotrowski and Chrissy Volans.

CLASS C

Hoosic Valley lost all of its starters from a team that had a two-year run in the state playoffs, thanks to a stifling defense.

There are a number of teams looking to take the top spot.

Voorheesville reached the Class CC final a year ago, and returns Elizabeth Madden (11.9 ppg in the Colonial Council), Britney Creed and Emily Norris.

Canajoharie fell a game short in the South Division of the WAC a year ago, then lost to eventual Class CC champ Maple Hill in the semifinals.

MacKenzie Stahler was a second-team league selection in 2008-09, and she is joined by fellow returners Kelsey Aldi, Emilie Liddle and Caitlyn Mosher.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo lost four starters and six seniors from its WAC South team that was upset in the opening round of sectionals.

Coach Tom Galvin will rely on point guard Marian Bates, center Sam Harvey, senior guard Kristin DePeaux, Tuesday Bishop and freshman Liz Harvey to play the team’s traditional full-court pressure defense.

Fort Plain returns all-league first-teamer Kelsey Logan (11.3 ppg), Mikayla Gross (9.2 rpg) and sixth man Samantha Compton (the team’s only senior).

Duanesburg also is looking to make amends for a disappointing season. As the No. 3 seed, the Eagles were upset in the second round of sectionals.

Senior guard Allison Paludi, a first-team WAC pick, leads the returning players.

Monica Compton and Rachael Brush are the best returning players for Schenectady Christian School.

Waterford’s Jackie Sorensen is the top scorer in the CHVL, and Katie Roth returns for Maple Hill.

CLASS D

Traditionally the domain of Adirondack League teams, Germantown took the crown last year.

Whitehall — with Brittany St. Clair and Maria McKee back — and Hartford, led by Miriam Nestle, look to step up.

Categories: High School Sports

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