By Mike Zhe firstname.lastname@example.org Jan 3, 2019
Key reasons to the strong starts for the Marshwood girls (6-1) and York boys (5-1)? Look no further than depth.
While an experienced Marshwood team knew coming into the season it had nearly three full lineups it could rely on, it’s been a pleasant development for York, which is also finding roles for lots of players — “not unlike that team up Route 236,” noted second-year coach Paul Marquis this week.
“We like our depth,” he added. “I think we’re competitive in practice, one through … really the whole group. It’s up to me in games to try to put them in positions to find that success.”
The Wildcats returned two All-Conference players from an 11-8 team that lost in the regional quarterfinals — senior guard Chris Cummins and junior guard Riley Linn.
But, as Marquis notes, the emergence of other players has made them “kind of our third and fourth options” on offense, though they still play critical roles.
One of those emerging players is Cummins’ younger brother, sophomore forward Brady. He and junior forward Will MacDonald have been the team’s top two scorers; the Wildcats have scored at least 60 points in four of their six games.
Marshwood, meanwhile, is what many suspected at the outset: deep, athletic and experienced (13 seniors). It’s also gone on shooting tears, as evidenced by the 17 3-pointers it made in a 69-43 win over a good Kennebunk team last month.
“The experience isn’t going to hurt,” said coach Steve Freeman on the eve of the season. “Having this many girls that have played varsity basketball and played a lot of minutes … we have a lot of talent and it’s distributed throughout the lineup.”
As the minutes are being divided more than a dozen ways, the Hawks again don’t have any double-digit scorers. Senior guard Natalie Herbold and senior forward Alicia Richards are averaging a little over nine points; another half-dozen players are in the 5-6 range.
Could this be the year, after two straight seasons ended in the regional semifinals, last year’s with a record of 18-2?
“Obviously, the goal is to get to states,” said senior guard Celine Lawrence. “I don’t know what team doesn’t have that goal. We all want to get as far as we possibly can. Every year we see (a spot in the regional final) and it just escapes us.”
If there’s a difference between the teams, it might be the schedules they’re playing.
York is in a three-game stretch against the iron of Class A South. It was competitive in a loss to first-place Falmouth last week (58-49), visits Kennebunk (7-0) on Friday and hosts Greely (4-1) on Tuesday.
″(This stretch) is not going to make or break us,” said Marquis, “but it’s certainly going to put us in a spot where we know where we are.”
Freeman, admittedly, would love that kind of testing stretch. His Hawks dodge both of the perceived Class A South frontrunners (Greely and Brunswick), and only play one game the rest of the way against a team that currently owns a winning record (at Kennebunk on Tuesday).
“There’s really not one game on the schedule that everybody looks at to target,” said Freeman. “We’re trying to take it one game at a time, one practice at a time. We want to be better tomorrow than we were today, and hopefully that builds right up to playoff time.”