2011-12-01 / Sports

Change to a Class B schedule gives teams new challenges

BY GEORGE ALMASI AND BOB CONN Times Record Staff

BATH — The Morse High School winter athletic teams are competing in Class B, save for swimming, so it’s somewhat of a new beginning for the Shipbuilders.

Boys basketball

Finished 0-18 under head coach Todd Flaherty and opens Dec. 13 at home against Oak Hill.

Returning seniors include Ted Cole (F) and Alex Crosby (C), while newcomers include Zach Fone (center, newcomer to the program), Cody Snyder (guard, played indoor soccer last season) and Cody Hardin (guard, football injuries kept him off the court during sophomore and junior seasons).

Among juniors look for Kevin McKellar (F), Matt Munster (F), Jordan Lister (G, currently recovering from a shoulder injury), Keegan Drouin (F, played last year at NYA), D’Vaughn Myers (G, did not play last season) and Paul Whalen (F).

Sophomores include Liam McDonough (F), Christopher Paulus (F), Trenton Moore ( G) and Jacob Freemen (F).

“Ted Cole and Matt Munster were two of our best scorers last season,” said Flaherty. “They return, but we really expect to be balanced offensively this year with the maturity of our younger players and the return/addition of a couple of the older players.”

“The kids have turned out,” added Flaherty. “Our program numbers are up at every level starting in the third grade. So far, our players have been enthusiastic, which is a necessary ingredient for us to learn and improve as a group. We have so many new players with young players sprinkled in that we have really focused on breakdown drills and fundamentals in the early part of the season.”

So far, Flaherty likes what he sees on the court.

“We have some long, athletic players on our roster,” said Flaherty. “We have 15 players on the varsity practice squad. Every player in the group has a real shot at earning quality varsity minutes. We believe that our athleticism matched with daily competition will result in steady improvement throughout the season.”

Still, this is a relatively young group.

“We are either young, inexperienced or both at a few positions,” offered Flaherty. “Early in the season, we will have to work very hard and smart to overcome this weakness, especially when playing teams with a lot of veterans.

“We have dropped down to Class B this season. As a result, we play new teams, in new locations, with a different league format. We play four teams twice each and 10 teams one time each to make up our 18-game schedule. We are located in a strange spot geographically which pushes us into a primarily Eastern Division regular season schedule. But if/when we qualify for tournament play we would be designated to the Western region. The change is different and demanding in various ways, but we look forward to the challenges.”

Girls basketball

Went 17-1 under Mike Hart and earned the top seed in Eastern Maine Class A. However, lost to Messalonskee 53-43 in quarterfinal play.

Visits Oak Hill (and former Morse coach Tom Morong) on Dec. 13.

Returning seniors are Katie Henrikson (G), Tori Field (G), Brianna Bigelow (G/F), Kerry Cummings (G) and Crystal Leavitt (G).

Returning juniors include Sadia Crosby (C), Megan Hixon (G), Hannah Rossetti (C) and Allison Barter (G), while newcomers are seniors Hannah Russell ( C) and Lauren Crosby (F), and freshman Sophie Sreden and Leia Graves.

“So far preseason has gone well,” said head coach Mike Hart. “I like the effort and enthusiasm I am seeing in practice from this group. As is the case in any given year, the point of emphasis for us is to teach our systems layer by layer. We tend to focus heavily on the defensive end of the floor as we believe that is what makes our program strong. A good deal of focus is also put on fundamentals early on to encourage good practice habits throughout the year.”

This is a team that works well with each other.

“ Our team unity will be our biggest strength this season,” added Hart. “I really feel that this team works very well together as shown in our first game versus Sanford at the Augusta Civic Center.

“Secondly, our defense and ability to get out in transition will be another strength of ours. Lastly, our senior leadership on this year’s team will help keep the locker room united and will give us some good leadership on the floor.

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