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Prospect girls ready to embark on unique season


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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

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JULIA LEAVITT will be one of the key pieces of the Prospect Mountain front court in the new season. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
January 06, 2021
ALTON — They're going to give it a shot.

Like most of the basketball teams around the state, the Prospect Mountain girls' basketball squad is preparing for the season, though coach Rick Burley is well aware that things could change at any moment.

"I have my fingers crossed," the veteran Timber Wolf mentor stated. "I think they're definitely excited to be in the gym, they want to be in there all the time.

"But they're like the rest of us, with the uncertainty, they're nervous," he continued. "All we can do is make the best of it."

Before the season even started, the Timber Wolves lost the first two games of the season, as they were supposed to play neighboring Kingswood as part of the regionalized schedules that became a prominent part of the fall sports scene. However, the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board voted in early December to not allow sports at Kingswood this winter.

While that represented a little bit of bad news for the Timber Wolves, the good news is that Burley has a good chunk of his team back on the hardwood for the new season. The team lost just two seniors in Ava Misiaszek and Hannah Racine, and will return a very versatile group of girls with plenty of varsity experience.

Kassidy Kelley and Hannah Capsalis will be the anchors of the backcourt for the Timber Wolves and both bring back plenty of playing experience. Up front, senior Julia Leavitt and sophomores Sophia Bean and Michaela Vernazzaro will be carrying a good chunk of the load and bring a good deal of height to the floor. Senior Jiana Kenerson will also be playing a key role for the Timber Wolves up front and Payton Everett joins the team for the first time this season and will provide depth in the front court.

Sophomore Ella Misiaszek saw plenty of playing time last year as a freshman and will be expected to handle duties both in the back court and the front court as necessary.

The Timber Wolves will be looking to a pair of sophomores and a pair of freshmen to help fill out the roster. Sophomores Maren Rayno and Abby Wittenberg were on the JV team last year and will be swinging between the two teams this year and freshmen Ella Smith and Ajia Thoroughgood will also be swinging between the two teams in their first years at the high school.

"We've got a mixture of young and a little experience," Burley said. "And a few of them have been playing together for the last four years.

"There's lots of versatility with this team," he continued. "It's a good mix."

Like in the fall, the hope is that the kids will get to play and get the chance to have a sense of normalcy. Last year's winter season was called off as the season was drawing to a close and like other coaches, Burley is hoping to get in as much as possible this year.

"It's going to be a different year," he said. "I think we'll all be excited if we can get the year in.

"I think the kids need it," the Timber Wolf coach added. "They can go stir-crazy. It's not good for any of us."

The Timber Wolves will play a regionalized schedule that includes two games each with traditional Division III rivals Belmont and Gilford, as well as two each with Laconia for the first time in a few years and then two each with local Division IV squads Moultonborough, Pittsfield and Farmington.

With the first week of games against Kingswood scratched, the Timber Wolves will open the season against another neighbor, Gilford, on Tuesday, Jan 19. The girls are home to start the season and on the road in Gilford on Thursday, Jan. 21.

Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or josh@salmonpress.news.

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