Lakers aim for improvement


by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

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Senior Mikaela O’Neil is one of the top returning players for Inter-Lakes this winter. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
November 26, 2012
MEREDITH – There's cause for optimism in Meredith this winter, as the Inter-Lakes High School girls' basketball team graduated just two seniors from last year's squad. Head coach Mike Gallagher hopes his Lakers can improve on a difficult 2-16 campaign from a year ago, when I-L beat rival Moultonborough Academy twice for its only two victories.

"It's pretty close to the same team from last year but I'd say I'm more excited looking at this team to start the year," said Gallagher. "I think we're going to be pretty competitive and I'm really looking forward to getting this year started."

I-L graduated a pair of seniors in Hanna Roberge and Ally Brown, though they return four seniors this season that will be big-time contributors. Forward Mikaela O'Neil and guard/forward Alexandra Brewer lead the unit, while forward/centers Leah Glenday and Tricia DelRossi round out the quartet.

"They're both captains and they're going to have to lead the team," said Gallagher of O'Neil and Brewer. "We'll go wherever they take us. They're both excellent kids and they know and love the game of basketball."

Brewer was I-L's leading scorer in 2011 while O'Neil was right behind as the number two offensive-threat.

"I expect both of those girls to be right up there again," Gallagher said.

The junior class has some solid talent, led by center Reilly Donovan. The post player will be counted on to anchor the front line after showing flashes as a sophomore.

"If she stays healthy, she's got the ability to be a force to be reckoned with," Gallagher said. "When she's on her game, she's really tough to handle and she's matured another year. What I have seen so far, she's going to do very well. She's hard to handle in the middle. She had spurts last year where she played really well and was only a sophomore."

Junior Lydia Swedberg will handle some of the point guard duties, while fellow guards Natalie Duffield and Natalie Johnson will also figure into the back court mix. Guard/forward Tori Burns rounds out the junior class.

Sophomores Kristy Brewer (point guard) and Kylie Dickinson (center) are the lone members of their class, while freshman Julia Eifert (point guard) is likely to step right into the fray and contribute for the Lakers.

"We're still fairly young but more experienced this year," Gallagher said. "We're looking to improve on last year. I think we will. The girls work hard and they want to play."

Gallagher hopes the success of the I-L soccer team can carry over to the winter season, as several of the Lakers on his roster played for the club that won 10 games in the fall.

"They tasted some success with soccer and I think that gives even more of an incentive to play hard this season," the coach said.

The Lakers open up their regular season on Friday night, when they travel to Mascoma Valley for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff. The home slate kicks off on Dec. 5, when Berlin comes to Meredith. I-L will finish off that week with a road trip to Prospect Mountain on Dec. 7.

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