SHANNON MEYER pressures a Campbell player during opening action Dec. 2. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
December 05, 2011ALTON — Coach Gordon Bilodeau knew things were going to be a little rough for his Prospect Mountain hoop girls in the opening game of the season on Friday, Dec. 2.
With a new coach and only a little varsity experience, a learning curve was necessary. Add to that the fact that the Timber Wolves were hosting the defending Division III champions, and it was a long night.
"I knew what they were, they're a good solid team," Bilodeau send of the Cougars. "Our girls didn't give up. Once they get comfortable with the offense and learn more on the man-to-man, they'll be just fine."
However, the Cougars proved to be just a bit much for the Prospect girls to handle in game number one, taking a 59-28 win.
The Cougars scored the game's first seven points, hitting three free throws and two field goals before sophomore guard Ella Montminy drilled a pair from the line with 2:25 seconds gone in the game to get Prospect on the board.
After another Campbell hoop, Shannon Meyer got a basket to make it 9-4, but the Cougars scored 12 of the next 13 points to close out the quarter with a 21-5 advantage.
The only point for Prospect came from Martha Rasbridge on a free throw.
The Timber Wolves didn't fare much better in the second quarter, as they managed just three points in the frame, all from the free throw line.
After Campbell scored the first four points of the quarter, Kristine Adams drilled two from the line. Campbell hit another free throw and Sahara Brown answered with a foul shot of her own to make it 26-8. Campbell then hit the next 12 points to close out the half with a 38-8 lead.
The Cougars continued that run into the third quarter, as they drilled the first five points of the frame to up the lead to 43-8 before a Chelsea Tierney free throw ended a 17-point run.
Tierney also got in a nice block on the defensive side, but Campbell hit another hoop from beyond the arc for a 46-9 lead.
Prospect closed out the quarter with five straight points, as Tierney and Hope Carazzo got hoops and Carazzo hit a free throw, making it 46-14 after three quarters of play.
Prospect was able to do a little more on the offensive end in the fourth quarter.
Adams got things started with a hoop and after a Campbell hoop, Carazzo and Anna Hingston hit back-to-back buckets. Campbell got a hoop and a free throw and Brown followed with a three-point play to make it 51-23.
Abbey Mucher then drilled a field goal, but Campbell answered with a foul shot. Brown hit a foul shot and after a Cougar bucket, hit a field goal, but Campbell scored the game's final five points and took the 59-28 win.
Brown finished with seven points to lead the Timber Wolves. Carazzo added six points.
Bilodeau took the opportunity to get everyone in the game and said it was good to see all his players in game situations. And he also noted that it was good to see them taking the loss in stride.
"I didn't see anyone hanging their heads," he said. "A lot of times it's what you see out of the kids, not what the outcome is. Especially when you play a team that's experienced."
He also noted that his girls had a hard time with Campbell's very strong full-court press.
The Timber Wolf girls will have a lot of things on their plate to open the year.
First and foremost, Bilodeau takes over as head coach after Jeri Blair led the program for two years prior to his retirement.
Bilodeau has high school coaching experience at Bishop Brady and is also a longtime AAU hoop coach, taking a team to the state championship last year. He currently lives in Barnstead.
The team is divided mostly into seniors and sophomores.
There are five seniors returning to the varsity roster, but only one with tons of varsity experience.
Brown has been a major player on the Timber Wolf squad for the past few seasons and has seen a lot of minutes.
Adams and Tierney also saw some good time last year as juniors and will be expected to be key cogs in this year's team. Rebecca Krivitsky also saw some time on the varsity court last year and will fill in for the Timber Wolves in the backcourt.
The other senior is Rasbridge, who is new to the varsity roster this year.
"The seniors are welcoming the challenge to be positive and keep the kids going," Bilodeau said.
The team's lone junior is Patty Gage and the roster is filled out with six sophomores, three of whom will be seeing time on both JV and varsity.
Montminy earned the start in the backcourt in her first game as a Timber Wolf. She comes to the program from Gorham, where she was a significant piece of the Huskies' offense.
Meyer and Carazzo were both key parts of the JV squad last year and earned their varsity spots for this season.
Mucher, Hingston and Brooke Burley will all be seeing time with the varsity and the JV as the season rolls along.
"We've got a good group of sophomores," the first-year head coach said. "They're strong, they're going to do well."
Since he is new to Division III and to Prospect Mountain, Bilodeau said he's going to put everyone in a situation in which they can show him what they can do and earn a chance to play.
"I think I'm going to get good contributions from all the kids," he said. "Even in a tight game, you're still going to see (the sophomores) in there. If I have someone on the team, they'll have to pull their weight."
With one game under his belt, Bilodeau is confident that things will continue in the right direction.
"I am looking forward to Berlin on Monday (after deadline)," he said. "I think it's going to get a lot better."
Next up on the schedule, the girls will host White Mountains Regional at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9. On Tuesday, Dec. 13, the girls head to Winnisquam for a 6:30 p.m. game.
Mucher scored eight points to lead the JV Timber Wolves to a win in the first game of the season. Chris Carazzo has taken over as the head coach for the JV squad.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126