November 30, 2011 - By Joe St. Henry
An experienced roster of upperclassmen and a talented freshman should make for an interesting 2011-12 season for the Lake Orion girls varsity basketball team.
Head Coach Steve Roberts says he has eight girls returning from last year's team that finished 9-13 and was competitive in every game. All of them either started or played significant minutes during the season, which should pay off this year, he added.
"We played young last season, with the long-term plan of being more experienced and better this year," Roberts said.
The Lady Dragons opened their season on Tuesday against Linden, with a starting lineup of junior Emilie Kipp, a two-year varsity player, at center; seniors Marissa Secontine, a three-year starter, and Laura Turnbull, a two-year varsity player, at forwards; and senior Dana Schrauben, a three-year varsity player, at one of the guard spots.
"Our leaders (captains Secontine, Turnbull, Schrauben and senior Maddie Hutchison) have the most game experience," Roberts said. "They're quality kids and I think they will be great role models for our younger players. I expect them to handle the responsibility."
Freshman Hannah Hamay is starting in the other guard position and Roberts thinks she will fit right in with the older players.
"Hannah is the best incoming freshman I've ever had," Roberts said. "She handles the ball well and has great court awareness. She's already played at a high level in club ball and is a floor leader."
Hutchison, a three-year varsity player who averaged ten points a game last season, would normally start at one of the guard positions, but she is out until January with a shoulder injury, said the coach.
Rounding out the experienced roster are senior center Nicole Dascich, a two-year varsity player who is currently injured, and junior forward Melanie Heath, who also has spent two years on the varsity team. Sophomore guard Nicole Krier is a two-year varsity player. Her classmate Melanie Gagan, a guard, is on the varsity team for the first time. Freshman Megan Hall also is on the squad and will be another role player.
"I think we're really balanced this year, in terms of our classes," Roberts said. "This will work to our advantage in future years, too."
Roberts said he expects this year's team to be very athletic and be aggressive on defense, playing with a lot of hustle. He did admit, however, the girls may struggle putting the ball in the basket.
"We're going to have to look for good shots and scoring opportunities," Roberts he said. "If we can score, then everything else will click better."
Realignment in the Oakland Activities Association this year moved Lake Orion from the top Red Division to the White Division. The head coach thinks the Lady Dragons, which played against stronger overall competition last year, should fare well.
Roberts warned, however, that Farmington High School won the Blue Division last year and moved into the White Division, too. Farmington, along with league members Farmington Harrison and Troy Athens, have Div. 1 college prospects on their teams. Rochester returns its starting lineup from last year and Oxford is more experienced.
"On paper, we look good," he said. "When the games start, though, we're going to have to play and compete.
" Still, I think our goals of winning the OAA White and a district championship are realistic."
After Linden, Lake Orion plays games against rival Clarkston (Red Division), Waterford Kettering and Notre Dame Prep. League play s tarts after the holidays.