M-W Girls Host Hoop Opening At Tourney Friday
Updated: Nov 22, 2019
BY DAVE SHEA
Madrid-Waddington will once again host the opening of the Northern Conference Girls Basketball season on Friday with two league games to open the 2019 Jessie Chamberlain Memorial Tournament.
The host Yellowjackets will open the defense of the NAC East Divison title by hosting Parishville-Hopkinton in a 5:30 p.m. tipoff. The nightcap opener will see NAC West opponents Heuvelton and Hermon-DeKalb squaring off.
The tournament will conclude on Tuesday night the consolation and championship games set for 7 p.m. The M-W Boys will host the John Dinneen Memorial Tournament on Monday and Wednesday. M-W meets Colton-Pierrepont in the first round to open the defense of their NAC East Game and Heuvelton and Edwards-Knox will square in a matchup two talented NAC West teams.
NEW LOOK JACKETS
Madrid-Waddington open the season with a wholesale new look after the graduation of four four-year varsity players from last year's team which 12-0 in the East Division and the absence of junior Emma Plumley who will not make her return from ACL surgery to Jan. 1.
But Coach Bryan Harmer looks for this year's Yellow Jacket edition to compete and execute a high level.
"We will be a fairly inexperienced group this year, but the girls have been working very hard through the first week and a half to pick things up," said Coach Harmer.
"We aren’t very big, but we are pretty athletic. They make it very enjoyable to be in the gym every night. We may be down a bit this season, but I guarantee that this group will improve individually and as a team and they will be a nice group of girls to coach."
Entering the new season Harmer looks for four seniors to set the tone at both ends of the court in Alexis Sullivan, Jaelynn Uppstrom, Anna Brady and Lydia Thomas.
"Alexis Sullivan was a Second Team All-NAC selection last season. We need her to be more of a scorer this year, especially with Emma out. ]Jaelynn Uppstrom is a high energy guard who defends well and can shoot pretty well from the perimeter," said Coach Harmer.
"Anna Brady and Lydia Thomas are forwards who will need to give us an element of toughness in the post. They will both need to rebound well and score when they get their chances."
The team also featured three juniors in their first varsity season in Kayla Dinneen, Chloe Tiernan and Keli Kingston.
"Kayla Dinneen provides some size in the post and has shown a lot of promise in practice. She will definitely compete for some playing time in the post. Chloe Tiernan and Keli Kingston will give us depth at both the forward and guard positions as each can play either position," said Coach Harmer who looks to sophomores Lily LaMere and Laney Tiernan and freshman Grace Plumley to continue the M-W tradition of underclassmen competing well at the varsity after playing at the JV level for Coach LaMere.
"Lily (LaMere) will compete for a starting guard spot and I have been pleased with her progress and decision-making so far. Laney Tiernan is a forward who will see a lot of court time. She rebounds and passes very well," said Coach Harmer.
"Grace (Plumley) is a guard who should develop into a pretty strong player. She will help us in transition and with our full court defense."
Heuvelton Coach Rob Powers has been directing a rebuilding project in the preseason but the process has been complicated by injuries.
"We are definitely rebuilding and we still have to find our identity as a team which has been tough because of injuries and the short time between the start of practice and the opening of the season. "We will people to step up and be the leaders of the team," said Coach Powers who must replace the floor leadership of guard Madison McCormick who is now playing in the NCAA Division II ranks at Roberts Wesleyan.
Returning from last season's regular rotation which produced a 10-2 NAC West record are: sophomore Bella Doyle, juniors Molly Williams and Grace Mills and senior Rayna Cameron who earned All-NAC West Second Team honors last season.
Doyle has the size and skills to play all positions on the floor. Williams will take over at the point with the ability to score and defend outside and inside.
Cameron has already established herself has a three-point threat who can scored at the rim while Mills is a high energy performer who can play guard and forward and will be looking to expand her offensive contributions.
Moving up from the junior varsity level are: junior guards in Amber Cunningham and Trista Ashley, sophomore guard Dakota Mouthorp, junior guard-forward Dakota West and junior post player Jenna Lira.
"Bella Doyle, Molly Williams and Rayna Cameron, when she is fully recovered from a soccer injury, will be our leading scorers and now we have work on our defenses," said Powers.
"We need to develop quickly as a team because our division will be tough once again headed by an outstanding Hammond team. Hermon-DeKalb will be a very tough opening game."
H-D LOOKS TO STEP UP
Hermon-DeKalb Coach Jake Rowley has presided over some very spirited practices as the Green Demons show an intriguing composition. Five seniors return from last season's team which went 3-9 in the NAC West and are mixing the starting five of last year's outstanding junior varsity team.
"We are bigger than we were last year and I think our outside shooting will be improved. If the ball is going in for us we will be very good. The big key will be making defensive improvement," said Coach Rowley.
"We are looking to be very competitive in the NAC West headed by an extremely good Hammond team. We have had some very spirited practices. All 10 players we have can play."
The senior core of the team features three guards in Jordyn Whitton, Kali Hernandez and Hailey Gollinger, guard-forward Maddie Brabaw and cente rHailey Bouchey.
The JV graduates feature a similar makeup with guards Emery McQuade, Bri Grant and Hillary Jones and forwards Bella Marcellus and Audra Tehonica.
"The girls are working very hard and they are excited about the season," says Coach Rowley.
"I told the girls that they had to work very hard because we had a tight window. We had 10 delays of practice before the Madrid-Waddington Tournament and our first practice was cancelled by the snow storm."
Parishville-Hopkinton (3-14, 2-10): Second-year coach Amy Mitchell lost half of last year’s team to graduation and will be counting on leadership from the senior duo of Brenna Woods and Sydnie Phippen.