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Cougar girls' basketball preview
DIXFIELD -- There will be plenty of things to work on, but the Dirigo Cougars girls' basketball team returns a solid group and could be a surprise to the rest of the competition.
The Lady Cougars slipped a little last winter, after having won 12 games in each of the previous two seasons. They will need to be consistent throughout this season and that means being ready to play every game. Things to attend to include boxing out, rebounding, ball handling skills and outside shooting.
'' The team lost five players from last year,'' said coach Reggie Weston. ''Four were senior starters which was most of our offense. We are fairly young but have some speed and quickness. We want to focus on defense and rebounding. If we do that, we'll be okay.'' A point of emphasis during preseason was to continue working on physical and mental toughness. The four seniors are Gretchen Bradbury, (5-6 guard), Kayla Gaudin (5-9 forward), Lexi Noyes (5-1 sr. guard) and Ambyr Wilson (5-8 guard/forward).
Each have good qualities. Wilson is an intense defensive player; Gaudin utilizes her speed and has inside moves; Noyes is hardworking who makes very few mistakes; Bradbury crashes for rebounds and posts up very well. Junior Lindsy Crutchfield (5-4 guard) is smart, with good court sense and sees the floor well, always looking for an assist, but can also drive to the basket. Kelsey Wilson and Megan Bradbury are 5-5 guards.
The losses were Hannah Knight, Alyssa Wade, Paige Murphy, Miranda Shurtleff and Angela Ronan. Dirigo will have size in the paint and depending on rotations, should be better matched up if teams play a halfcourt game and work the ball inside. The 5-9 sophomores are Rachael Knight, Jessica Conant and Kelsey Hutchins.
The defensive game will need to be relentless and force turnovers, in order to create a strong transition game. Freshmen who could contribute Sabrina Daud (5-4 guard), Makenzie Lord (5-4 guard), Emma Lueders (5-3 guard) and Lauren Henderson (5-7 guard/forward). In the wings are sophomore Gabby Scott and freshmen Mariah Lafleur, Kyle Palmer, Summer Bradbury, Haley Turner and Anna Morrow.
"This group can be fun,'' said Weston. ''They work hard and are not afraid to hit the floor. The MVC looks tough again this year, but we want to be right in the thick of it.''