The St. Mary’s High School girls basketball team, ranked as high as fourth in the state in one preseason poll, is preparing for a trip to Florida where it will play in the KSA Classic inside Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
Head coach Jeff Newhall and his Lady Spartans will fly out of Logan Airport next Wednesday bound for Orlando where they will compete in a national tournament.
Actually, it’s international because St. Mary’s opens the tournament against a high school team from Ontario, Canada.
The reasons for the very high expectations for the 2010-11 season are plentiful: a returning cast of outstanding seniors who led the school to 18 victories last year complemented by a highly capable group of underclassmen that includes some freshmen that should make immediate contributions at the varsity level.
St. Mary’s showed some of its potential during a series of scrimmages on Cape Cod this past weekend against such teams as Gloucester, Harwich, Nauset, Groton-Dunstable, Monument Mountain, Nantucket, Sabis, Sandwich.
“I think we did a lot of things very well in the scrimmages,” said Newhall. “We still have to continue to work as hard as we can each day.”
The four captains of the Spartans are Tori Faieta, Cassi Amenta, and Kristen Ferrari, and Molly Carey. Faieta, who has received a scholarship to Stonehill College, Amenta, and Ferrari will be back in the starting lineup while Carey is sidelined as she recovers from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee surgery.
Faieta, Amenta, and Ferrari are all excellent all-around players individually. Together they will form the top threesome on the North Shore.
Ann-Marie Idusuyi, who is 5-11, will be prominent in the rotation of forwards. Senior Erin Fahey will be an important contributor in the backcourt. Another talented guard is Maggie Carey, who will be one of the team’s top defensive players. She is the younger sister of captain Molly Carey.
Other forwards who will play key roles are Rachel Faieta, Melissa Kennedy and Rachel Stueve. The freshmen players – Jennie Mucciarone, Sharell Sanders, Brianna Rudolph, and Melissa LeFave – have been impressive in their first week with varsity.
“We’re optimistic about the season ahead,” said Newhall. “Our seniors are ready to go and a lot of people have worked hard in the off season. We have some younger players in the mix. I think the quicker they respond to the competition and the speed of the game, the quicker we’ll start finding out how good we can. But the potential is there to have a very successful season.”
The Lady Spartans open their regular season Monday (6:30 p.m.) against Austin Prep at the Conigliaro Gymnasium.