WINSLOW — Even with a new coach, expectations are high for the Winslow High School girls basketball team. That’s what happens after you win a state championship.

“We have a big target on our backs. Like we’re doing right now, we’ve got to work hard,” senior Maeghan Bernard said during a break in practice Monday, when most winter sports teams opened their seasons (girls hockey opened Nov. 5).

For the Black Raiders seniors, new coach Brenda Beckwith is a familiar face. Beckwith coached their junior high basketball team. Beckwith coached the Winslow High freshmen boys basketball team last winter.

Maine Basketball Hall of Fame member and Winslow girls head basketball coach Brenda Beckwith works with the team during practice Monday night in Winslow.

“Being a head coach is a different set of expectations and responsibilities because you’re in charge of the whole program, K through 12. With the freshmen, I took my directive from Ken (Lindlof), the head coach,” Beckwith said. “It was fun, but when I got this opportunity to coach my daughter (Maddie Beckwith) and the crew of junior high kids when I was coaching, they’re all seniors now.”

The Black Raiders begin defense of their Class B state title on Dec. 7 at home against Mount View.

Inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame this past summer for her high school playing career at Lawrence, Beckwith most recently was a head coach with the Messalonskee girls basketball program. Beckwith coached the Eagles to the 2009 Class A championship game. Beckwith takes over for Lindsey Withee, who stepped down last spring after accepting a promotion to a regional manager’s position with Jobs for Maine Graduates. Withee led the Black Raiders from the No. 6 seed in the Class B North tournament to the state title with a 43-29 win over Lake Region in the championship game.

“When I found out it was coach Beckwith, I was very happy. She used to be our coach back in junior high, so I was happy to have her back,” Bernard said.

Winslow’s Jennifer Ferry dribbles two balls during practice Monday in Winslow.

The Black Raiders graduated five players from last season’s state championship team, but return a strong group of veterans, including Weslee Littlefield and Bernard.

“High school and college coaches know, they have four years with certain athletes. We don’t get to go out and get somebody better. We work with what we have,” Beckwith said. “Lindsey did a great job with these girls and everything fell into place and they had great athletes, and they got a Gold Ball. I hope they work as hard for me as they did for her, and we’ll see what that end product is.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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