Eagles face growing pains in new campaign
ARLINGTON >> Over the past two seasons, the names were all the same — Elwell, Lacoste, Hawley and Solari.
That group has gone, and for Arlington girls basketball coach Larry Andrews, his Eagles are a whole new team. But he knows talent abounds from the Eagles' nest.
"We lost a lot of buckets from the senior group, but each game we'll get better and hopefully we're playing at the end of February," said Andrews, who is in his fifth year leading the Eagles.
The team is led by senior Avery Bucchieri and junior Riley Lane, the only two non-seniors from a year ago to get significant playing time.
"It's their team. This is Avery's fifth year and Riley's fourth and they've both come a long way," Andrews said. "They help pull along the younger girls and they've come a long way in just two weeks [of practice]. They're coachable and they all want to learn."
The rest of the team are bench players or new junior varsity callups. Two that fit into that mode are sophomores Jamie Keel and Katie Berger.
"They've been a pleasant surprise in the post so far," Andrews said.
In fact, Arlington has five sophomores out of its roster of 10, the others being Gracie Smith, Xandria Hoyt and Erin Murphy. Elizabeth Fisher and Lane are juniors, while Michelle O'Shea, Bucchieri and Maggie Murphy are seniors.
Arlington expects to change up the formula from the past couple of seasons. With players like Hawley and Elwell knocking down threes at a furious clip last year, this year's group has half the roster at 5-foot-10 or taller, including the older Murphy.
"We have a lot of height, but three or four guards too," Andrews said. "
Andrews said he knows the team could struggle in the early going, and he and assistant coaches Kelly Kennedy and Brian Lacoste are trying to instill some confidence in the young squad. Kennedy coached at the sub-varsity level at Mount Anthony for more than two decades, Andrews said.
"We can't get discouraged early, because we could be a dangerous team in the second half of the season," Andrews said.
The Eagles start the year on the road at Leland & Gray and host Bellows Falls in its home opener.
They'll face Proctor twice, once on the road in January and then at home on Feb. 16 on Senior Night.
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