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Boston City League girls' basketball preview

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  December 6, 2012 05:37 PM

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Here's a preview of the the 2012-13 season:

Latin Academy

Coach – Emily Hunter-Coleman (second year)
Last year's record – 11-9

Strengths – Speed and chemistry. A lot of the girls have been playing together since eighth grade.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook – Hunter-Coleman believes her team has the skill level to make up for its youth.

“I’m excited, I really believe we’ll go farther than last year because we’ve done so much through the offseason,” she said. “They went to a lot of camps and trainings and I can't wait to see how that will play out.

“They didn’t have the opportunity last year so I'm excited to see how that unfolds on the court.”

Returning starters

Senior captain and forward Fiona Sugrue
Sophomore point guard Julia Rosario


Coach – Gertrude Fisher (23d year)
Last year's record – 12-1

Strengths – Defense.

Concern – Whether four guards can play on the interior.

Outlook – Fisher has high expectations and thinks the Tigers will go far this season.

“They’re working hard right now and playing in the Christmas tournament,” she said. “I expect them to return to the level of skill we had last year and reach the city tournament.”

Returning starters

Senior forward Kiana Daley
Junior guard Yonetta Harris
Junior forward/guard Saran Kaba
Junior forward Raven Kelsey


Coach – John Lilly (fifth year)
Last year's record – 12-6

Strengths – Determination and willingness to work.

Concerns – Loss of seven key players, with just one returning starter.

Outlook – “We have a young team, but a hard-working and dedicated team,” Lilly said. “They will face a ton of challenges, but my outlook is for them to improve slowly over the season.”

Returning starters -

Senior forward Amy Bernardez

Coach – John Evans (first year)
Last year's record – 0-8

Strength – Improving skill level.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook – Evans just wants to help the girls learn the game and play to their potential.

“I want to develop them into great players, give them experience. help them learn the game,” he said. “I just want them to know what is expected of them on the court.”

Returning starters – None.

Coach– Christopher Collotta (first year)
Last year's record – 0-2

Strength – Defense.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook – The team had to forfeit last season after two games because of a lack of players. That is not an issue this year. Collotta is also proud that all the girls that tried out met the BPS GPA requirement.

“I want to teach the girls the fundamentals of basketball and get them to come back next year,” Collotta said. “We didn’t have a team last year so we’re the underdog in the Boston league.”

Returning starters – None.

Coach – Alexandra Ventura (first year)

Last year's record – 1-7

Strengths – Speed and defense.

Concerns – Lineup changes.

Outlook – “I hope to have a blossoming season and have a good time while we learn,” Ventura said. “Hopefully we’ll build a new culture for the Charlestown girls' basketball team this year.”

Returning starters

Senior shooting guard Sara Centeio
Senior point guard Stephanie De Pina
Senior point guard Carlita Chambers Walker
Senior center Natalia Reynolds
Senior forward Shannon Simpson
Junior forward Kayla O’Brien.

Coach – Raul Brown (second year)
Last year's record
– 7-11

Strengths – Team unity and work ethic.

Concern – Player confidence.

Outlook – “We want to improve our record this year and our girls would love to accomplish something that has been so elusive to our school for years,” he said. “This is a chance to make it to postseason play.” Brown said he wouldn't trade this group of girls for any other in the city.  

Returning starters

Sophomore guard Kymisha Kelly
Junior guard Phylis Nyamunda,
Junior forward Brenda Nyamunda
Senior center Natalie Leary
Senior guard Karina Velez

Coach – Justine Grace (third year)
Last year's record – 5-5

Strengths – Guard play and senior leadership.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook –“As a coach and former player, I have high expectations for my team but I have to meet my players where they are,” Grace said. “ It has been a challenge for me to plan a practice where the new players are learning and building confidence, and at the same time my returning players are improving and are challenged regularly.

“I focus on one practice and one game at a time and I try to challenge them each practice to work harder. “

Returning starters
Senior guard Trayana Mair
Senior guard Annie Mora
Senior point guard Ashley Louis-Jean

Coach – John Rice (second year)
Last year's record – 20-3

Strengths – Talent and chemistry.

Concern – None given.

Outlook – "My goal is to be successful on and off the court and just see them do their best," Rice said. "I want them to be very competitive every night.

"I'm looking to have a real successful season and go as far as we can."

Returning starters

Senior point guard Tajanay Viga Lee
Junior shooting guard Cadeija Matthews
Sophomore forward Jalissa Ross
Sophomore shooting guard Laura Escolero
Senior shooting guard Lorena Escolero
Senior guard forward Charlise Jones

Madison Park
Coach – Carla Hands (fifth season)
Last year's record – 6-3

Strengths – Defense and determination.

Concern – Lack of size.

Outlook – “I think we’ll have a successful season and get carried by our senior guards,” Hands said. “I have a great bunch of girls and I think we’ll have a remarkable year.”

Returning starters -

Senior guard Krystal Edwards
Senior guard Amber Edwards
Junior forward Retti Johnson
Sophomore point guard Kanisha Thomas

Coach – June Robinson (16th year)
Last year's record – 8-8

Strength – Potential.

Concern – Lack of home practice facility.

Outlook – “I’m excited about this season and I know that a lot of other teams are starting over as well,” Robinson said. “It will be a learning season, but I’m hoping it will be a great one.”

Returning starters – None.

South Boston
Coach – Andrea Higgins (second year)
Last year's record – 8-9

Strength – Commitment.

Concern – Inexperience.

Outlook – “Our outlook on the season is improvement,” she said. “If we work hard to improve each day, we can improve our record from last season.”

Returning starters
Sophomore forward Destinee Morris
Junior forward Daitanah Smith
Junior guard Elaina Wright-McCarthy

West Roxbury
Coach – Arturo Clemente (fourth year)
Last year's record – 10-9

Strengths – Defense and “hard-nosed” players.

Concern – Lack of size.

Outlook – Clemente is confident the Raiders will have a better season than last year.

"I think we’ll finish in the top three of our division,” he said. “We always have trouble with New Mission and O’Bryant but I think we’ll take care of the rest of the league.”

Returning starters

Senior forward Marissa (Fresh) Serrette.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

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