by Todd Smith
WOODSVILLE N.H. - Engineer coach Bill Grimes is optimistic about the upcoming girls basketball season. With four returning seniors and a promising crop of underclassmen, Grimes has been pleased this pre-season with his team's combination of size of speed.
Woodsville will be looking to exploit their multi-faceted arsenal to improve on last season's 8-12 finish.
In citing his team's most predominant strength for the season, Grimes said quot;I really think we're bigger than most Class M teams and we have a lot of speed. We've been conditioning to play an up-tempo game that will hopefully include a smothering full-court press. I've been impressed with how quickly the team has gotten into shape.quot;
According to Grimes, the success of the Engineers' season will ultimately depend on balanced scoring and team defense. In contrast to years past, the Engineers don't boast an undisputed scoring leader.
Instead, they will exploit the experience of their four seniors, who Grimes said have been playing together since the first grade, and continue their balanced distribution of scoring in the pre-season.
Initially, Grimes had his concerns about the significant presence of underclassmen and their relative inexperience. After the Engineers' performance in the Jamboree Classic last weekend, however, those fears have largely subsided.
Grimes said quot;I thought the lack of varsity experience might hurt us. We seem to have good chemistry, though, and I'm no longer concerned. Our game plan is going to require significant contributions from everyone and I saw that we are capable of that. In fact, one of our high scorers was freshman point guard Kristin Pushee.quot;
The Engineers lost four players to graduation and now floor a team of four seniors, one junior, three sophomores and two freshmen. The loss of their leading scorer Shauna Brown has led to the shift in offensive philosophy. With their difficulty in schedule, the Engineers will have ample opportunity to test their balanced approach.
In revealing some of the goals for the season, Grimes says quot;We want to improve on last year's record and finish above .500. We're counting on making the playoffs and then playing good team basketball.quot;
The Jamboree Classic serves for some as a source to gauge the condition of opponents. While Grimes acknowledges that most coaches hold back during these games, he felt that quot;we can be competitive with most of these teams this season.quot;