Amber Plummer is the lone returning starter for the Newfound girls’ hoop team this winter. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
November 26, 2012BRISTOL — After reaching the Final Four last season, the Newfound girls' basketball team graduated the majority of its starters, leaving coach Karri Peterson with many holes to fill as the Bears start a new season.
"We have a lot of playing experience, but not at the varsity level," Peterson said. "It will take the girls some time to adjust to the level of play."
However, what makes Peterson happy is that the group of girls she has out for the team have been playing together for a number of years, giving them a good comfort level.
"They have been playing together for a couple of years and are used to each other and their tendencies," Peterson said.
Gone from last year's team are 1,000-point scorer Jordan Phinney and a cast of seniors, leaving junior Amber Plummer as the lone returning starter on this year's squad.
Peterson will have a group of players with successful JV seasons under their belt battling for playing time alongside Plummer.
Seniors Courtney Douville and Natasha Yarbrough, juniors Kayla Messersmith, Allie Symonds and Brittany McArthur and sophomore Karissa Bony all saw limited time on the varsity level last year, but did play a lot at the JV level and will be looking to make the step up.
Peterson will also have three freshmen on the varsity roster, with Bridget Lavin, Jasmine Patten and Sami Cote all making the varsity team. Cote and Patten will see most of their time on JV and Lavin will split the time between the JV and the varsity teams.
Peterson is hopeful that the team will continue to improve as the season rolls along and peak at the right time.
"We need to take one game at a time and continue to improve throughout the season, working on the little things in order to be strong in the end," Peterson stated.
While the faces may have changed, Peterson's strategy for generating offense hasn't changed from the previous years.
"We will be looking to play an uptempo game as we always have, relying on our defense to create our offense," Peterson said.
The Bears don't have much height in the middle, but Peterson is hopeful that the team can work together to hold the inside together despite that lack of height.
Newfound opens the Division III season on the road at the division's newest school, Laconia, on Friday, Nov. 30, at 6:30 p.m. The team's first home game is Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m. against defending Division III champion White Mountains Regional.
The schedule for the Bears also includes a pair of games against Berlin, Winnisquam, Inter-Lakes, Franklin and Mascoma, as well as singular games against Prospect Mountain, Gilford, Kearsarge and Belmont.
The season finishes up with a home game against Berlin on Feb. 12.
"We should be competitive in Division III and are hoping to make some noise in the tournament," Peterson said.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126