Thursday, April 1, 2010

Early Look at Next Year's Hoops Season...Girls Edition

I did an "Early Look Article" for the boys, now it's time for the girls to get some coverage. Here's an early look at the players and teams to watch out for next season. I know that some of you might be surprised to see this, since I usually cover boys hoops. But I saw some girls games this year. I also some of the top girls players around play over the past couple weeks. First it was my Showcase Event a couple weeks ago. And last Sunday it was the Crusader Jamboree, where virtually every top girls player in New England was on display.

Boys vs. Girls?
This is for anyone who is skeptical about me writing an article on girls hoops...for the class of 2010, there are 6 girls who are scholarship players. On the boys side there are zero. Of the 6 girls who have scholarships, 3 will be playing Division I basketball.

I'm not saying that the boys players in NH are bad. I'm just saying that the girls players in this state deserve more respect.

Now an early look at who the top teams and players will be next year...

Division I

Falling from Grace?
For the first time in a long time, there will be no clear cut favorite in this division. Last few years it's been Winnacunnet and then everyone else. The Warriors have won 4 titles in a row. But this year they are hit hard by graduation. They graduate almost their entire team, including 3 time Player of the Year Tiffany Ruffin (Boston College), Emily Siegart (St. Francis) and Lindsey Mahoney.

However, Winnacunnet does have a very good coach in Ed Beattie and a winning culture. You need players to win though, and unfortunately they graduate almost their whole roster. Samantha Corcoran is one player who does return though. She's a solid player and will be a senior next year. Also look out for Megan Hartnett, who will be a junior. The Warrios will likely be a middle of the pack team.

Winnacunnet isn't the only team getting hit hard by graduation. Pinkerton and Central are as well. This past season, those 3 schools had 7 of the top senior players in the state.

With those 3 teams losing so much, it will open the door for other squads to have a chance. Here's a look at the contenders:

The Pioneers will only the #10 seed this past season, but they return virtually their entire roster. Jasmine Theroux is a very good point guard. Other key returners include fellow senior Emilee Marro and junior Lia Nawn. I saw this team play firsthand this past season and I was impressed. Their team was all juniors and a couple of sophomores. Next season they will be very tough.

The Lancers graduate one of the top players in the state, SNHU recruit Callie King. But this team will still be very good. They'll have one of the top seniors in the state in Savannah Butterfield and one of the top juniors in Lindsey Bolduc. Butterfield is a very tough player who can play inside or out and is a very good rebounder. Bolduc is possibly the best sophomore in the NHIAA. She is an excellent ball handler and drives hard to the basket.

Bishop Guertin
BG will likely be the favorites to win Class L in 2011-2012. They're a year a way from really being a dominant team. But next year they will still be a very good basketball team. The Cardinals were a top 8 team last year and have most of the roster returning. Key players will be junior guard Alex Cohen, sophomore forward Meghan Green (sister of Connor), sophomore forward Nikki Hayner and sophomore guard Madison Gibbs (daughter of head coach Kevin Gibbs).

Manchester Memorial
Speaking of top sophomores, you have to mention Memorial's Allie Hartford. Hartford is lightning quick and can shoot the heck out of the ball. Memorial is another team that returns most of their talent from last year. Other top returners will be senior Ashley Gendron, sophomore Danielle Fletcher, junior Taylor Leonard and sophomore Amra Elezovic.

Here are some other teams to watch out for:

Deanna Purcell will be one of the top seniors, she can really shoot the basketball. Katie Donovan and Cassie Larocque also return to give the Broncos a very good trio of seniors.

The Green Wave lose some key players, but they return a very solid backcourt with senior Nichaela Neal and junior Allie Mahan.

There are a lot of players who are question marks on the boys side as far as whether they will go prep or not. One question mark on the girls side is Exeter's Maddy Blais. If Blais returns to Exeter she will likely be the state's top player. But there is a chance that she will transfer to New Hampton and reclassify. If she returns, Exteter should be a pretty good team. The Blue Hawks will also be bringing back senior forward Kayla Janowski, a tough, hard nosed player.

Manchester Central
The Little Green were a consensus top 4 team in the league all year this past season. They will not be as good next year. Central graduates two of VERY good players, Christiana Bakolas and Samantha Walker (2 of last year's top 10 seniors). Central will still have a couple of solid guards to keep the team competitive in senior Olivia Lacroix and junior Ashley Giampetruzzi.

The strength of this team will be their inside play. They'll return senior Jenn Bujnowski and junior Kerry White.

Other teams who will be competitive

The Astros are another team that graduates 2 excellent players, in A.J. Guidi and Laura Pierce. They will be a very young team next season. But they will have 4 talented sophomores who will get big minutes in Elizabeth Laing, Sam Breslin, Nicole Yannalfo and Sarah Cote. They'll take their lumps next year, but this could be the team to beat in 2013 when all four of those players are seniors.

Rachael Carter and Kate Cole give the Tomahawks a solid duo. They will be compettive and could certainly finish higher than the #14 seed they were this past season.

Katie Matatall will be a senior and Emily Rose will be a junior. The Owls return the most of their top players and will be an improved team from this year.

Nashua South
Caitlin Ackerman will be one of the division's top players. The 6'0" forward has an excellent all around game. She'll keep this team competitive.

This team will really miss Cammie Warner. Warner has a scholarship to play at Division I Quinnipiac. Look for junior Ashley Clough to take on a larger role on the team.

Division II

Kennett = The Favorite
There will be no clear cut favorite in Division I. But not in Division I. Kennett is the favorite, and I expect them to win it again next season. Kennett will be the defending champs, and they'll return their top 2 players in Allie Wagner and Melissa Frase. After seeing these two play firsthand a couple times recently I am not at all surprised that they won the title. These girls can play.

Other teams that will be strong:

Their "Big 3" this past season was Rosa Drummond, Ali Beauregard and Susie French. Next year they will return two of the 3, with only Drummond graduating. Beauregard and French will make for a very nice 1-2 senior punch for the Clippers.

Oyster River
Danielle Walczak won Class I Player of the Year this past season as a junior. She'll be back next year and will be looking to lead the Bobcats past the quarterfinals. They graduate Emily Sherry, who was a very solid player for them last year. Look for Kelsey Brown to take on a bigger role next year in support for Walczak. Brown was one of the top freshmen around last season.

Jane White should be in for a big year next season as a junior. She is a very good shooter. Other returning players that will make this a good team are senior Christan Wojtas (another good shooter), and a pair of solid forwards in Ceara McNamara and Lauren Cordts.

Other players to watch: Katie Cullerot of John Stark, Laconia's Shayla Hubbard and Dina Pitsas of Milford.

Division III

Conant = The Favorite
Conant won Class M this past season for both boys and girls. The boys team will not be favored to repeat...the girls team will be. The girls return Brooke Springfield, who will be the best player in the division for a third straight year. In a division as small as this one, if you have a player that is this good and this much better than anyone else you're going to win games.

Another team that will be strong:

Kristen Hrubowchak will be one of the top seniors in the division, and Rebecca Arnone will probably be the division's top junior. The Cougars will challenge Conant, but Conant should win it.


  1. The cupboard is not bare at Winny. They will be strong again and should be a top five team.

  2. Jeremy, by the middle of next season you will take back your quote that:

    "The Warriors will likely be a middle of the pack team."

  3. Why is that, 9:14? Anything to back up such a strong statement? Did they have a top JV team who will be filling the shoes of the graduating stars? Corcoran is good, but who else will they have?

  4. Winnacunnett has a very strong Sophomore class. Most of them play AAU. Undefeated this year as well as the Freshmen girls. Kirstin O'Neill, Avi Morrison both saw minutes for varsity.

  5. Also Anna Sullivan, sophomore, started for Varsity after Mahoney was injured and is a very good player.

  6. Heh 10:56 pm I think that's enough information from 849 and 857 for you to see why Winnacunnett WILL NOT BE A MIDDLE OF THE PACK TEAM next year. Any other questions?

  7. Memo to 10:56 pm: The Winnacunnet JV team was undefeated and won the JV state tournament. I think that backs up 9:14's statement in spades, don't you think ????

    Gee, let me see, Pinkerton won the JV state tournament last year and bingo, the Astros won the state tournament this year. I'm not saying that Winn girls will win the state tournament next year, but they certainly won't be a "middle of the pack" team.

  8. How do you leave the Lebanon girls out of Division II. I know they are not a southern team and don't have a main scorer, but they did go undefeated in the regular season. They will be losing two or three players but for the most part they were almost all underclassmen. They made it to the championship game starting two freshman a sophomore and a junior. A little respect please.

  9. winny will be ok but the one person they turn to when it gets tough tiffany ruffin she is movin on winny needs to learn to win without her.there will be some growing pains hopefully they figure it out.remember winny does not get close 4 straight titles without ruffin

  10. Jeremy,

    With all due respect. undefeated started 4 freshmen

    Lebanon girls will destroy all of those teams



  11. Jeremy,

    Lebanon wouldn't win 6 games in our division. Name one kid they have had go on and play in college.


    Class L

  12. Thanks for not writing Dover off - they lost a couple of seniors but come back next year with a strong team. This year Dover lost many games by a basket or 2 including almost beating Pinkerton in OT. The issue at Dover is a weak girls basketball coach who is a fill-in and NOT a basketball expert. Its unfortunate that Dover high school doesn't think as much of their girls program as they do the boys - and most unfortunate for the girls who might miss out on playing college ball because of it.

  13. Jeremy,
    Thanks so much for the coverage of lady's hoops. Lots of talent. And a lot less ego than some of the high school boys! Hard work knows no gender. The posts are much appreciated!

  14. 9:21 We don't need to criticize boys hoop to make girls hoop look better. Trust me there is plenty of ego in girls hoop.

    That being said this state has some great girls basketball


    Class I

  15. You really think there is great girls basketball talent in NH? I don't see it. In fact, watching a couple of the Class L playoff games, my thought was these are the best girls teams in NH? Much easier to have a dynasty in girls hoop than boys.

  16. What about Fall Mountain? Jen Allen returns coming of 20pts in the semis...add her to the other two returning starters plus Russ Pickering's undefeated jv team and they've gotta be in the mix for the DIII crown!

  17. Hey 9:21PM Did you read jeremy's quote?
    "Boys vs. Girls?
    This is for anyone who is skeptical about me writing an article on girls hoops...for the class of 2010, there are 6 girls who are scholarship players. On the boys side there are zero. Of the 6 girls who have scholarships, 3 will be playing Division I basketball."

  18. Maybe some good individual talent in girls, the majority of teams in class L were not strong. The Competition to get a scholarship for girls much easier than boys.

  19. "Maybe some good individual talent in girls, the majority of teams in class L were not strong. The Competition to get a scholarship for girls much easier than boys."

    And you get this information from?? Can you back this statement up?

  20. "The competition to get a scholarship for girls is much easier then boys" that comment is egotistical. New Hampshire girls basketball does not get you scholarships if that is what you are implying. The girls in New Hampshire that are going on scholarship to colleges for basketball did not waste their time trying to be superstars in NH highschool basketball. They all play on teams that travel the country, Cammie Warner - Bombers AAU, Tiffany Ruffin - New England Crusaders, Emily Siegart - New england Crusaders, christiana Bakolas - New england crusaders... the list can go on with great like Aj Guidi, New Hampshire High School basketball didn't get this girls anywhere, ask any of them it's aau that gets them recognition. So go ahead and think that NH girls basketball lacks talent, that just means your an uneducated onlooker who thrives off putting other down. The competition in NH to get a scholarship for boys and girls is both tough, without AAU in different regions none of these players would be who they are now.

  21. Winnacunnet's Sophomore class was better than most Class L varsity teams. Beattie has a great feeder system in Hampton youth sports. Their travel and AAU teams compete at a very high level. He teaches his girls to play hard nose basketball and they love it. I think they should be in the final four.

  22. Exeter has a nice point guard in Andrea Batchelder. If Blais stays they could possible contend for a championship. Those Exeter kids have played together for a long time.

  23. Have you ever seen Lebanon's defense? You don't need future college players to win games. You need defense that leads to offense. And I can name 4 Lebanon girls who have gone on to play college in the last 5 years. Meghan Daigle: St. Joe's, Casey Drake: St. Joe's, Ashley Hutton: New Enlgand, Jasmine Hardy: New Haven

  24. The reason people think Winnacunnet is a middle of the road team is because they weren't watching the players that were brought up to Varsity in the middle of the season. Morrison(Soph) and Oneil(Soph) could have started for any of the other teams in Class L in the state. You need to realize that no one was going to break into that line up this past year. Sullivan(Soph) was Tiffany's back up for most of the season and then started in place of Lindsey Mahoney and the team didn't miss a beat. In fact Morrison actually played more minutes in the State Final than the rest of the Winnacunnet bench. Winnacunnet is going to be bringing up a Freshman Carli Gould 5'11 who will be a stand out post player by mid season. Micheala Withee, coming off a knee injury, will also help under the boards. With a JV team that won the State JV Tournament, the bench will back up a stand out starting line up of Corcoran, Sullivan, Morrison, O'Neil and Withee or Gould. This team looks to be a Top 4 Team that will look to take a Fifth Straight State Title in 2011. And look out for 2012.

  25. you winny people are dreaming winny will no way make the final 4 talk to me in feb beatie will not bring them to the stonehill tournament they will get smoked and he knows it maybe they will win the maine tournament probally not reality check no ruffin no title wake up

  26. i heard rumurs that blais was going to transfer to winny big mistake stay home beatie will mess with your game its good enough stay at exeter and smoke winny

  27. hey 11:42. Whose your kid on that team Morrison or Sullivan? Without Ruffin the program is toast. They are going to Stonehill, we'll see what they have then. In the meantime put the pomp pomps down for your kid. Don't they have tryouts at winny? You have already set the line up. What's your connection to the program?

  28. Blais will be back at Exeter.

  29. hey 9:21 Maybe the connection is that they just follow Winnacunnet Basketball which apparently you don't. If you had any knowledge of the team, you can see the talent that they have throughout the line up. Oh By the way, check out the Stonehill tournament. Winnacunnet made it to the semi finals. Lost by 5 to the number 1 seed in the tournament. Is your toast burnt now.

  30. check out the stonehill college summary of the tournament. 4 players of the 48 stand outs named in the article are from Winnacunnet (there were more than 170 players) i just don't know how the team will be able to compete this year.

  31. I hate to burst your bubble but Winnacunnet has an awesome team this year. Watch out one by one they will be running past everyone. This team already knows what it takes to be a winning team and will not let anyone get in there way of another title #5!

  32. This thread has so much written about this upcoming year's Winny team, does anyone know where they are playing this fall? If they are half as good as 3:28 says I would like to them play.