Winslow was one of the teams knocking on Class B’s door last season. The Black Raiders finished 15-3 and reached the B North regional semifinals, where they lost to eventual state champion Houlton. This year, they’re looking for a little more.

“We have a different mindset this year,” Winslow coach Lindsey Withee said. “They want to take care of business.”

The team returns all but two players from a year ago and has added a significant transfer. Senior Heather Kervin leads the group of returnees. Last season the 5-8 forward led the Raiders in scoring and rebounding and enters the season needing 261 points to reach 1,000 for her career. Just about all the returning players saw significant action a year ago as Withee often platooned her players five at a time so they could run and press the entire game.

That game plan remains intact although Withee is unsure whether she’ll platoon wholesale again. Kervin and Ciara LeClair are the only seniors on a team loaded with quick players and good shooters but little size. Withee hopes junior Haley Ward, a 5-foot-8 transfer from Cony who averaged in double figures last season, will help in that regard.

“Ward will give us a great presence inside,” she said.

The schedule includes tough Class B games against Lincoln Academy, a team that went 16-2 last season, and several crossover games against Class A competition. They include a pair of games against Erskine Academy and single contests with Lawrence, Skowhegan and Waterville.

“These kids have played a lot of basketball and we’re setting the bar high,” Withee said.

Jordan Larlee takes over a Maine Central Institute team that returns some talent from a 6-12 last season. Jody Bickford is the team’s lone senior but junior guards April McAlpine and Sydney Morton return to the starting lineup, along with 5-11 sophomore Christa Carr. The Huskies are otherwise small and plan to push the ball.

“We’re very guard heavy,” Larlee said. “We’ll try to pick up the pace. Carr runs the floor and handles the ball well.”

Larlee is also counting on some of his freshmen to contribute.

“We hope to have some depth,” he said. “Our team goal is to make the playoffs. I think that is definitely attainable.”

Mount View has one the taller players in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference in 6-2 junior Andrea Crosby. Coupled with 5-10 sophomore Shala Davis, the Mustangs have one of the better defensive tandems in the KVAC.

“I really like our size,” coach Tony Staffiere said. “Crosby and Davis played very well for us. They blocked a ton of shots last year.”

Crosby is comfortable facing the basket while Davis is more of an interior player on offense. Still, Staffiere doesn’t see that as a team strength although he has a seasoned point guard in Hailee Reynolds.

“We’re not going to light up the scoreboard,” he said. “We’re going to grind people in the half court.”

Mike Labonte takes over at Oak Hill and inherits a team with a four-year starter in Bri Mulherin, who is also the team’s tallest player at 5-8. Still he sees the Raiders pushing the ball inside to Mulherin and Abby Nadeau when things slow down.

“We’re going to try to push the ball a little bit and mix up defenses,” he said. “We’ll be fighting for a playoff spot.”

Maranacook went winless a year after reaching the Class C state championship game. They graduated most of the players and moved to Class B which proved a dangerous combination. This year they return three starters led by senior Justice Merrill and junior Lauren Clough.

“I have a good core group coming back,” coach Jeannine Paradis said. “We’re pretty athletic overall.”

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