One senior, five juniors, four sophomores, and the possibility of as many as five freshmen. That’s the roster breakdown for a 2017-18 Londonderry High girls’ basketball squad which will take aim at maintaining the high standards which previous Lady Lancer squads have established over the decades.
Having so much youth with a number of young varsity returnees looking to gain more high school hoop experience leave coach Nick Theos and his assistants Ian Horseman and Jamie Doyle aware of the fact that they’ll need to have plenty of patience with their charges.
The 2016-17 contingent finished its regular season strong, winning its final four contests to end up at a solid 11-7 and the fifth seed in tough Division I. But the campaign ended in rough fashion, with a last-second, 47-46 upset defeat at the hands of the number 12 Dover High Green Wave being pretty hard to forget.
“Last year we were up and down, a young team that needed some time to round into form. We took some early season lumps – especially during the Christmas tourney – but those helped us later on in the campaign,” said coach Theos.
Looking at this year’s promising but youthful crew, the LHS leader said, “If we were young last year, this year we are newborns. With only one senior and five juniors in the program, we will be looking for big contributions from junior returners guard Delaney McGurn and forward Michelle Marino, as well as sophomore forward Courtney Shay. Senior guard Michaela Downing will provide some much-needed leadership.”
Other returnees Paige Velie (a junior forward) and Olivia Yerian (also a junior) will be looked to for rebounding and defense. Junior guard Sophia Scarfo and sophomore guard Katie Sullivan will be looked upon to add both athleticism and scoring, and sophomore Colleen Furlong will be asked to take a big step and look to fill in the vacant starting point-guard position.
Regarding his varsity newcomers, coach Theos said, “We have a large and talented freshman group, along with sophomore sharp-shooting guard Kayla Miles who round out the team. The freshmen include two versatile forward/guards in Ashley Rourke and Charlotte Sullivan, who are poised for their age. Point/off guards Mia Fantauzzi and Ashley Schmitt are smart and hungry and want to help in any way they can. And freshman forward Kylie McGurn is long and athletic.”
As the 2017-18 season commences for the Lady Lancers with a road game at Manchester Memorial this Thursday night, Dec. 8 – after Londonderry Times press time – coach Theos has Miles and Fantauzzi swinging from the varsity to the junior varsity, and Schmitt and the younger McGurn playing primarily for the JV and doing some swinging up to the varsity.
When asked to express his expectations for his 2017-18 crew, the LHS head man said, “With so many first-time varsity players and just young players in general, we will need to be patient. We lost most of our scoring, ball-handling, and leadership from last year, so we need to see who is going to step up and take those roles. There is enough talent to be competitive, we just need experience. But that only comes from playing in games. I’m excited to see which girls take advantage of the openings and showcase their talents. We refuse to use the label of rebuilding, but we are young and we should be a much different team at the end of the season than we will be at the beginning. Seeing that progress will be a successful season for us.”