COACH: Chris Spaulding (second year)
2014-15 record: 6-11 (no postseason)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: David Davol (Senior), Eddie Daigneault (Junior), Jeremiah Hammond (Junior), Ethan Spaulding (Junior), Mason Jones (Sophomore)
COACH’S COMMENT: “We believe this team will continue to improve. We have four starters who have been together for at least three years and this will be the fourth year that three of them have been playing together. We’re still relatively small even for Class D, but the boys have grown up and can play a more physical game. In addition to the team’s maturation, the addition of Len MacPhee to our coaching staff is a tremendous asset. I will step back and learn from Len right alongside the boys.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Lions, who play their home games at XL Sports in Saco, just missed out on the playoffs a year ago and believe they will be more competitive and triumphant this winter.
Hammond will run the offense from the point guard position. He’ll score his share of points as well. Davol, a four-year starter, is a top scoring threat, who can also camp out down low when needed. Spaulding is another dangerous shooter who can fill in at point guard. Daigneault hopes to play a bigger role this season and primarily coming off the bench in 2014-15. Jones is the other top returner. A center and three-year starter, Jones has size and will be tough to match up with in the paint. Freshmen guards Jeremy Daigneault, Killian Patterson and Jeremy Powers saw time as eighth graders and should step into bigger roles in the weeks to come. That nucleus is complemented by a promising eighth grader, Christian Patterson, who provides depth. The addition Coach Spaulding is most excited about is Len MacPhee, who returns to the program as an assistant coach. MacPhee coached the Lions in 2010-11 and also coached Rangeley and the University of Maine-Farmington. Oh by the way, MacPhee happens to be a New England Basketball Hall of Famer. His wisdom and experience will help the program in a major way.
GPCS will measure itself against several top teams in the weeks to come. Some early success would go a long way toward punching a playoff ticket. Look for this group to be strong at both ends of the floor and to impress some folks this winter. A winning record and a playoff berth is distinctly possible.
COACH: Keith Dawson (seventh year)
2014-15 record: 5-11 (no postseason)
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: Ashlee Dawson (Senior), Angie Jones (Senior), Clarissa Jones (Senior), Erin Robinson (Senior)
COACH’S COMMENT: “We look to make a trip to the Class D tournament after a two-year absence. We return three starters and three of our top scorers from last year return. Depth will be an issue, but a strong freshmen class will help.”
THE FORECASTER’S FORECAST: The Lions are hopeful of moving up the standings and getting back to the tournament. This team will need to rely on some newcomers to help get them there, but it is a realistic goal.
GPCS will be led this year by Dawson, both Joneses and Robinson. Dawson is a four-year starter, captain, guard/forward and the team leader in 3-pointers and blocks. She may see some time at point guard as well. Angie Jones is a two-year starter at point guard and can hit the outside shot. Clarissa Jones is another four-year starter, who is a top rebound and scorer with great range. Opponents will rue leaving her free. Robinson, a forward, is a top defender who can also hit from the perimeter. Junior Natalie Smith (a forward who is active in the paint) and freshmen Kaeley Brann (a 3-point specialist), Megan Smith and Courtney Spaudling (a top defender) also have varsity experience. They’re joined by freshman guard Anna Good and eighth grade forward Clairette Kirezzi to round out a promising team.
Coach Dawson, who is assisted by Kimberlee Dawson and Ted Smith, has reason for optimism. The Lions figure to steadily improve in the weeks to come and if they can win some key games, their goal of earning a shot to play at Augusta will be realized. The seniors know it’s now or never and they’d love nothing more than the opportunity to play on the big stage before they graduate.