THE KENNETT girls' hoop team is ready for the new season, opening on Friday night. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
December 09, 2021NORTH CONWAY — With a short preseason and a condensed regular season schedule, practice time will be a premium for Division II girls' hoop teams in the new season.
Luckily for coach Larry Meader, his Kennett girls' basketball team brings back a lot of kids who were part of the run to the Division II finals last year who are familiar with the system and ready to get rolling.
"We have a lot of stuff to do in a short period of time," Meader said. "I'm excited we have a lot of returning girls, they know what they're doing so that makes it easier.
"We're just trying to give the new kids enough reps," the Eagle coach added.
The Eagles have just one senior back this year, as Sam Habert-Jaques brings speed to the frontcourt for Kennett and also has what Meader calls "springs for legs" that help her out-jump taller opponents underneath. Health will be a key for the Eagle senior, as she has battled injuries the last few years.
"Hopefully she'll have a healthy senior year," Meader said.
Junior Sydnie Chin will be another key leader on this year's team. She has started every game but one over the last couple of seasons and will be the team's point guard this year.
"She's come a long way, she's going to be one of our leaders this year," Meader said.
Junior Hope Elias will be one of the team's best three-point shooters as the Eagles will look to be an inside-out team with a couple of solid shooters from outside. Classmate Kaylee McClellan will be relied on to take care of the ball a little and play solid defense, while fellow junior Catherine Chick returns to the frontcourt after working hard in the offseason on her moves under the hoop.
Habert-Jaques, Elias and Chin have been named the team's captains for the new season.
The Eagles also have a pair of sophomores returning to the fold in Sam Sidoti and Kaley Goodhart. Sidoti was a huge part of the team's success as a freshman last year and Meader said he is expecting a big step from her this year.
"She's an inside presence that will catch a lot of people's attention," Meader said. "She's going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Goodhart was a key piece off the bench at times last year and will, along with Elias, be counted on to hit the big outside shots, as she is also one of the better shooters on the team.
Meader is bringing four players up to the varsity program as juniors for the first time, with Marissa Caputo, Remi Snowdon, Lauren Violette and Lagan Tatacuk all looking to make their marks. Caputo and Snowdon will provide good depth for the team in the backcourt while Violette and Tatacuk are expected to contribute in the frontcourt.
There will also be two sophomores who are new to the team in Georgia Coleman and Isabelle Brown. Coleman is expected to develop down low as she is athletic and strong and Brown will be expected to develop at the guard position and earn some time.
"It's a very good group, they care and they work hard and they love basketball," Meader said. "If we had basketball seven days a week since last March, they would have been here all seven days.
"But I feel for the new kids, there's not a lot of practice time to help them learn what they need to do," the veteran coach continued. "But the experienced players are really helping them, they're out to make everyone better."
Meader will once again be joined by former Kennett boys' hoop head coach Steve Cote on the sidelines and they will welcome former Eagle Liz Cote to the coaching staff as well.
The Eagles will return to a regular Division II season with two games each against Berlin and Plymouth and single games each with Hollis-Brookline, Milford, Laconia, Lebanon, Pembroke, Merrimack Valley, Coe-Brown, Kingswood, Bishop Brady, Timberlane, John Stark, Souhegan, Oyster River and Bow.
The season kicks off on Friday, Dec. 10, at home against Hollis-Brookline at 5:30 p.m. and continues with road games on Monday, Dec. 13, at Milford at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 15, at Laconia at 6 p.m.
Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or email@example.com.