Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers
December 09, 2021BRISTOL — After a strong showing in summer league play and preseason workouts, new Newfound girls' hoop coach Danielle Wilkins is excited about what her team will be able to do in the new season.
"Both offseason and preseason workouts were great," Wilkins stated. "We worked hard in summer league and played some competitive teams and that eventually led us into a great few weeks of preseason open gyms.
"The girls were committed and dedicated and came in ready to learn and improve their skills," Wilkins added.
Wilkins takes over for Kammi Williams after serving as the JV coach for the Bears last season and brings back a solid group of athletes who will be key to the team's success this year.
Senior Paulina Huckins and juniors Malina Bolhmann and MollyLu McKellar are all back after playing a large role in last year's team and will be expected to do the same this year.
Wilkins notes that Huckins will play the role of center but has become a bigger threat scoring around the perimeter, improving her ball-handling skills and solid footwork on defense.
"Paulina is a dangerous player, she has put the work in all summer, she is focused and coming off a very successful volleyball season," Wilkins said. "She is ready to go."
Bohlmann contributes on both offense and defense and is by far the team's best defender due to her footwork and speed.
"If you give her a lane, she's taking it, she's creating contact and she's finishing at the basket with no hesitation," Wilkins said. "She pressures the ball with no hesitation and makes the opponents work."
McKellar is a versatile piece of the puzzle that grabs rebounds and creates opportunities for her teammates.
"Molly dominates on the block," Wilkins said. "She knows her job on the floor and performs that job extremely well."
Wilkins notes that Matti Douville will be playing a bigger role on this year's team. She has built her confidence and will play a vital role.
"She's a very consistent player and has built tremendous confidence," the Bear coach said. "Whether it be shooting, driving or handling the ball and setting up the floor, she is a dynamic player and is able to perform her job efficiently and consistently."
Rylee Barney is also stepping into a larger role for the varsity Bears this year. Wilkins notes she brings quick dribbling skills that help her weave through the defense.
"She controls and runs the floor well and communicates effectively," Wilkins said. "Her efficiency and consistency keeps the floor leveled."
The Bears will be looking to take things one game at a time as the new season gets under way.
"One of the biggest goals this year is to take the season one game at a time," Wilkins said. "We need to maintain our focus on what it is we need to implement and improve on in order for us to be successful as a team and consistently learn and adapt per game.
"We want to foster the development of a positive mental attitude and good sportsmanship among the team and improve every girl's understanding and appreciation of team play," she added.
The Bears are back to a regular Division III schedule, playing two games each against Prospect Mountain, White Mountains, Berlin and Inter-Lakes and single games against Winnisquam, Hopkinton, Mascoma, Gilford, Newport, Somersworth, Kearsarge, St. Thomas, Stevens and Belmont.
The season kicks off for the Bears on Friday, Dec. 10, at Prospect Mountain at 6 p.m. and the first home game is Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m.
Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.