CHSAA girls basketball preview
St. Anthony's won its first CHSAA girls basketball championship since 1988 last season and is a heavy favorite to repeat. The Friars have a lot of talent, led by 6-2 senior center Symone Kelly, who will attend Siena. Junior point guard Rebecca Musgrove improved tremendously during the offseason and is set to play a big role.
Sophomore Chastity Taylor played a handful of games last season after transferring from Central Islip and missed some time with a broken nose. The 5-10 guard displayed her upside with 10 points in the CHSAA final against St. John the Baptist. Junior forward Johanna Impellizeri, sophomore guard Tyla Parham, and senior guards Shannon White and Jennifer Sixsmith provide the Friars with a lot of depth.
St. John the Baptist likely will be St. Anthony's stiffest competition, with two Division I recruits in Anastasia Williams, who mans the post, and swing guard Brianna Thomas. Both will attend Fairleigh Dickinson. The Cougars also made a key acquisition in point guard Lauren Williams, who transferred from rival St. Anthony's. St. John is very athletic, though depth may be a concern after the starting five.
Holy Trinity has a vastly different look with a new coach and several players transferring. Katie Poppe, one of the top players on the Island, leads the way. She averaged 16.5 points last season and will attend Boston University. Junior guard Kelly Carey and senior forward Allison Brennan return. Senior forward Michaleh Ryan missed last season with a knee injury and junior Kara McQuillan will start at point guard.
Sacred Heart has a good backcourt with seniors Nina Corcoran and Kyle Carey. Senior forward Becky Conto rebounds well and can score inside or outside. Junior guard Jenna Pasquale and senior forward Ally Rosenthal round out an athletic starting lineup. Sacred Heart is a good defensive team that runs the floor well and has experience.
Kellenberg is returning three senior starters in center Khadijah Donaldson, forward Katie Sirna and guard Carly O'Boyle. Sophomore Candace Belvedere, who is 6-2, will help lead one of the tallest teams in the league. Expect the Firebirds to use that advantage and pound the inside, while sophomore point guard Brenna Dennelly's outside shot will help lend balance to the attack.
A seasoned Our Lady of Mercy starts three seniors, led by guard Olivia Walsh. Point guard Shannon Brady, a sophomore playing her second season at the varsity level, has made strides and will look to control the tempo and get the ball to the team's cadre of solid three-point shooters. The team is more athletic than it has been in past years and, if it can handle the pressure of stiff competition, likely will have an improved record.
St. Mary's will be led by senior point guard Neila Collins, a four-year varsity player with excellent court vision and an accurate shot. Junior 6-1 center Alyssa Hames is one of the best big girls in the league and likely will lead the team in blocks and rebounds. There are questions after those two spots but the team still looks to be improved from last year's challenging campaign.
St. Dominic returns seven players, including junior Dana Campbell and senior guard Katie O'Brien.