Winter Previews: Gray-New Gloucester

Ryan LaChance brings tough post play to the floor for G-NG.

Boys Basketball
Coach: Ryan Deschenes
Last year’s record: 10-10, fell in tournament quarterfinals
Key players returning: Josiah Rottari (sr., G); Zac Brady (sr., C/F); Oliver Grant (sr., G); John Martin (jr., G); Hunter Colby (jr., C); Ryan LaChance (jr., F); Josh Magno (jr., G)
Key matchups: Dec. 8 @ Lake Region, Dec. 15 vs. Freeport, Jan. 11 vs. Yarmouth, Jan. 19 @ Wells, Jan. 30 vs. Fryeburg, Feb. 6 vs. Cape
Outlook: “We return four starters and seven players who were in our rotation at some point during the season from last year,” says Deschenes. “We are hoping to take the next step in our development this season. As always, we face a challenging schedule in the WMC. There will be no nights off and we will have to be at our best each game. Yarmouth and Cape should be the co-favorites, and we expect to be in the mix after them with many other good teams.” Martin, a First-Team All-Conference pick last winter, is the Patriots’ foremost weapon. He led the WMC in three-pointers in ’16-’17, and will no doubt only be 12 months stronger, this time around. Rottari is no slouch from downtown either; he was fifth in threes in the WMC last year, and can be expected to drop in some beauties between now and February. There’s good height on this roster as well: Brady is 6-foot-6, Colby 6-foot-5, LaChance 6-foot-4, and Martin 6-foot-2; so the team should fare well at tip-off and beneath the basket too. “We expect our post play to be consistent and open things up,” Deschenes says, “and have a goal of playing inside-out via post entries or paint touches through penetration. We have a nice blend of speed, length, size and quickness. We have to emphasis the defensive side and adjust to a few changes we have made. It should be a fun season and we have a great group of high-character kids who will get better as the season goes on and we expect to be playing in the tournament in February.” G-NG fans would be well-served to turn out regularly for this team; they were fun to watch last year, and are likely to put on an even better show with more experience under their belts.

Girls Basketball
Coach: Mike Andreasen (seventh year)
Last year’s record: 21-1, Class B State Champions
Key players lost: Grace Kariotis (G), Alicia Dumont (G), Izzy DeTroy (F), Skye Conley (C)
Key athletes returning: Bri Jordan (jr.), Alexa Thayer (jr.), Michaela Ryan (jr.), Jordan Grant (so.)
Key newcomers: Chelsea Davis (jr., G/F); Madysen West (so., PG); Abigail Michaud (so., G); Samantha Fortin (so., F); Eliza Hotham (so., F)
Key matchups: Lake Region, Greely, Poland, Freeport, Fryeburg, York, Wells
Outlook: Graduation last June did a number on G-NG’s lineup, claiming two-thirds of the team’s offensive output in Kariotis, Dumont, DeTroy and Conley. This year’s Lady Patriots are therefore young, with no seniors whatsoever on the roster; still, there’s talent here. Jordan, for instance: “Jordan is the main returnee and will be counted on to carry much of the load,” Andreasen says. Jordan averaged 10.0 points per game last winter, as well as 5.2 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists per game. And then there’s Grant, who “gained much experience a year ago serving as the team’s sixth man,” as Andreasen puts it. Grant averaged 5.4 ppg and 3.9 rpg in ’16-’17. “The Patriots will be athletic and hope to play a full-court game employing a fast break. After a tough initial stretch with away games at Lake Region, York and Freeport, the team hopes to improve as the season progresses.”

Boys Hockey (a co-op with Poland, Oak Hill, and Leavitt)
Coach: Joe Hutchinson
Last year’s record: 11-6-1
Key players lost: Ashton Dozois (G), Lucas Perry (D), Drake Goupil (F), Hunter Soucy (F), Theo Mahaleris (F)
Key players returning: Connor Cyr (sr., F); Bailey Drouin (sr., D): Parker Springer (sr., D); Garrett Derocher (sr., F); Brandon Michaud (sr., F); Austin Taylor (jr. F); Nate Marcotte (so., D)
Key newcomers: Luda Anderhed (sr., F); Jayson Martin (jr., D)
Key matchups: St. Dom, Bangor, Edward Little, Cony
Outlook: “We are a veteran team looking to improve on last year’s success and return to the playoffs,” Hutchinson says. “We are solid defensively and will utilize more conservative forecheck systems. To be successful we need to get better in transition and finish more of our scoring chances. We have six key matchups with four Division teams that will shape the playoff race in Class A North.”

Girls Hockey (a co-op with Greely)
Coaches: Nate Guerin (head), Matt Roy (asst.)
Key players returning: Courtney Sullivan (sr., F); Bridget Roberts (sr., F); Molly Horton (sr., F)
Key newcomers: Leah Walker (so., D); Camilla Lattanzi (fr., D); Maddie Pelletier (fr., F)
Outlook: “Led by Sullivan and Roberts, we will be competitive against everyone this season,” Guerin says. “Our goal is to get our less-experienced players adjusted to the speed of our game as quickly as possible so that we can be a threat to the top teams in the state in February. It’s an exciting group to coach because there is a wide disparity in ability but a common expectation on 100% effort and accountability for all players. If the group can continue to mesh and support each other, the sky’s the limit.”

Indoor Track
Coaches: Todd Mercer (head), Mike Griffin (asst.), Tammi Maclean (asst.), Scott Espling (asst.), Jeff Amos (asst.)
Key athletes lost: Emma MacCallum
Key athletes returning: Andrew Peterson, Nate Gendreau, Ethan Roy, Emily Brewer, Madison Post, Jaley Martin, Lindey Pierce, Jasmine French, Eliza Larivee, Alison MacDonald, Erica Schlichting
Key newcomers: Daniel Stash, Nicole Cobb, Madison Soule, Zoe Barnes
Key matchups: Jan. 26 vs. York, Greely; WMCs
Outlook: The Patriots track program is doing well for itself; this year’s roster is more than 80 long. “We have a lot to work with,” Mercer says. The girls squad has been particularly strong in recent years, and having only lost one standout — MacCallum — to graduation last June, they should look feisty again this winter. “We have some great returning workers on the girls team,” Mercer says, “with athletes like Emily Hargraves, Madison Garcia, Abby Chandler, Emily Terranova and Lilly Wilson. With a good season, any one of these ladies could be impactful at the State level, either individually or in a relay.”

Nordic Skiing
Coach: Jeff McEvoy
Key players returning: Mike Sutherland (jr.)
Key newcomers: William Maines (fr.)
Outlook: “Looking to make Sutherland faster and competitive this season while introducing speed demon Maines to the HS circuit. Small team,” McEvoy says simply.

Alpine skiing coach Evan Mancini couldn’t be reached; cheerleading coach Melissa Burila was unable to furnish remarks.

Mike Hoffer contributed to this story.

Adam Birt can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Ryan LaChance brings tough post play to the floor for G-NG.