For BAHS, new coach, system may translate into increased success
Belfast — The following is a synopsis of the 2012-13 Belfast Area High School girls varsity basketball team:
Coach/years coached current team: Stan Sturgis, first year.
Last year's record/playoff information: 6-12, 16th in Eastern Class B. The Lions did not qualify for the playoffs.
Roster: Seniors Katrina Lapham (guard), Courtney Drinkwater (guard/forward), Brianna Flagg (forward), Lexi Nelligan (forward/guard) and McKenzie Thibodeau (center/forward); juniors Madison Cummings (guard), Ashley Littlefield (guard/forward) and Hannah Bailey (forward/center); sophomores Madison Littlefield (forward) and Brogan Leppanen (guard); and freshmen Breann Cummings (guard), Mariah Sturgis (guard/forward) Abigail Flagg (guard), Anna Simmons (forward), Kasey McLeod (guard) and Kelci Faulkingham (center/forward). Sturgis is the coach's daughter.
Outlook: The Lions have a new coach and a positive attitude, which they hope will translate into increased wins.
If the preseason is any indication, the Lions appear on their way. The Lions won four of five preseason games, with their one loss coming to Mount Desert Island, a team that will be in contention for the regional title.
Sturgis, who replaces veteran coach Amy Dyer-Kelley, said the team has responded well to his new system and coaching methods.
"You go so long with one coach and then switch it up and really you've got a few weeks to learn a whole new system," said Sturgis. "But I couldn’t be any prouder of them with how they’ve responded and what I'm expecting out of them."
While players such as Nelligan, Lapham, Littlefield, Drinkwater and Thibodeau will be a key part of the team's success, it will take a full team effort for the Lions to succeed, the coach said.
"We're not going to go anywhere if it's not all 12 of us," he said. "We're going to rely on all 12 to put the ball in the hoop and play great defense."
Coach Sturgis likes his team to play with energy on the court, including pressuring the ball on defense, forcing turnovers and getting out and running on fastbreaks. He stressed the importance of defense to his players, who, in turn, are responding to that philosophy.
"If you look at the top 13 teams that made the tournament last year they were the top 13 defensive teams," said coach Sturgis. "We were second to last in the league in defense last year."
The first-year coach's goal is to be one of those top teams in February.
"We have the talent to get there and that is our goal," he said of qualifying for the regional tournament and making an appearance at the Bangor Auditorium. "We want to be competitive in every game, it just comes down to how bad the girls and I want it. Hard work pays off always. If I had to bet the house on it I think they make the playoffs. They're extremely talented, [so] it's just how well do we keep our heads and how hard we work every night in practice."
Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.