GORDON BILODEAU returns to the bench for the Prospect Mountain basketball girls this winter. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
November 26, 2012ALTON — Coach Gordon Bilodeau is hoping a little time can make all the difference.
Last year, Bilodeau was hired relatively late, leaving him precious little time to prepare for the season ahead.
However, with a season under his belt and girls who spent time in summer basketball and at camps, Bilodeau is hoping for a solid season from his young group of Timber Wolves.
The team returns no seniors from last year and is made up mostly of juniors. Bilodeau is carrying 10 players, including seven juniors and two sophomores.
"They did summer ball this year and some camps," Bilodeau said. "There's good chemistry with this group, which is huge.
"They seem to feed off each other and play together well," he continued. "They want to get better and they're kind of sponges now, which is good."
Bilodeau is pleased with his mix of girls this year and expects some solid results, despite what he says appears to be a tough schedule and the Timber Wolves' relative lack of height.
"That's what's going to hurt us, the lack of height," Bilodeau stated. "Against big teams, we're probably going to struggle. That's the only thing that really worries me about this team."
The Timber Wolves have just one player with some height, that being returning junior Shannon Meyer. And while the team is quick and will make up for its deficiencies with that speed, teams with big players inside may have an easier time against Prospect.
Along with Meyer, but Hope Carazzo and Ella Montminy are back for junior seasons after contributing a lot in their sophomore years. The duo spent last year as the team's backcourt and Bilodeau is hoping that a year of experience together will only help them move forward.
Three other juniors saw some time last year, playing both JV and varsity for the Timber Wolves. Abby Mucher, Brooke Burley and Anna Hingston will be battling for more playing time this season. Bilodeau noted that Hingston had a strong weekend in a round-robin the team hosted.
The other junior on the team is Lindsey Mucher, who played JV last year and will join her twin sister on the varsity squad this season.
The team's lone senior is exchange student Claudia Rodriguez, who has been working to improve her skills and who Bilodeau expects will be a solid contributor as the season rolls along.
Sophomores Madison McKenzie and Amelia Duane round out the varsity roster for the Timber Wolves.
Bilodeau noted that the team's schedule may be tough, but he sees an advantage in that.
"I'd rather have a tough schedule than one that doesn't tell you what type of team you are," the second-year head coach said.
The girls will play regional rivals Belmont, Farmington and Inter-Lakes twice each and will also play two games against Berlin, Campbell, Somersworth and Sanborn. The Timber Wolves have single game against Gilford, Newfound, Laconia and Raymond.
The season gets under way with the longest trip of the year, as the Timber Wolves visit Berlin on Friday, Nov. 30, for a 6:30 p.m. contest with the Mountaineers.
The first home game is set for Tuesday, Dec. 4, when Gilford visits for a 6 p.m. contest.
Bilodeau notes his team is ready to get going.
"We're hoping to have a good, strong game," he said of the opening night matchup. "I think they're ready. They're all pumped up."
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126