Weaver may have lost Kenya Stewart to graduation, but the Class M champion Beavers still have a few more Stewarts — namely Kenya's two younger twin sisters, Alyssa and Amanda.
"I've got a solid five," Weaver coach Wendell Williams said. "My starting five can compete with anybody in the league. We just need a little more depth."
Alyssa, now a junior, was the team's second-leading scorer (13.6 points) behind the graduated Fifi Walcott and the second-best rebounder (8.7) behind Kenya. She also averaged 2.1 blocks. Amanda started off the season slowly after breaking her ankle over the summer but still averaged 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 points.
Weaver, which lost only twice — to Class LL semifinalist Manchester in the regular season and CCC champion Glastonbury in the conference tournament — beat Tolland in the Class M final, 55-47.
Williams said that Weaver not only has to replace scoring, blocked shots and rebounding, but also the intensity that Kenya and Walcott brought to the court.
Around The CCC
Don't count E.O. Smith and Tolland out just yet. E.O. Smith may have lost point guard Ashley Forand and center Morgan Olander, and Tolland may have lost its all-time leading scorer, Kristin Schatzlein, and its coach, Rocco Sansone, who resigned after the season, but both teams expect to be back in the mix this season. "I only have two kids back from last year and I know one of them pretty well," E.O. Smith coach Kirk Murad said. That would be his daughter, Murphy, a senior guard, who will be expected to lead the team. Junior Holly Worski has improved and will have a bigger role this year. "We lost a lot but we still have a lot," Murad said. … Vinnie Cianfarani, the former Windsor coach, takes over at Tolland. "The cupboard is not bare," Cianfarani said. Chelsea Domian, a 5-11 junior guard, is the lone returning starter but there are a host of seniors, including Ashley Clawson, Sammie Olson and Jackie Foreman, who all saw playing time last year. … RHAM returns leading scorer Sarah Veilleux (18.2 points). … Northwest Catholic's senior center Alyssa Reaves just signed a letter of intent to play at Hartford, and the Indians return seven more seniors and would like to advance beyond the quarterfinals of the Class L tournament this year. Last year, the Indians started off 3-5 but won six of their last eight games, with their only two losses of that stretch coming to E.O. Smith. "We didn't start great last year but we finished well," coach Karl Herbert said. "The kids got a lot of confidence from that." Northwest hosts E.O. Smith in its home opener Wednesday. … CCC Tournament champion Glastonbury will be tough to beat this year, mainly because it's hard to stop Boston University-bound Courtney Latham, who was the team's leading scorer last year (13.8 ppg). Glastonbury beat Manchester to win the CCC title but then lost to the Indians in overtime in the Class LL quarterfinals. Senior guard Ashley Mulryan can hit threes and junior Kerstan Mahland is an athletic post player. … Manchester's Player of the Year Ashley Perez went to St. John's and coach John Reiser lost seven other seniors from his team that lost in the semifinals of the Class LL tournament to Mercy. "We're going to have six or seven freshmen on the varsity roster," Reiser said. "I've never had anything like that before. It's going to take us a little time."
Mercy Could Make Another Run
Mercy has lost in the past three Class LL championship games by a total of seven points, including a 39-37 loss to Career last year. But coach Tim Kohs is ready to make another run at the title. "I think we have a good returning cast," he said. "We had a good year last year and everybody's back. Hopefully, we can do as well." Seniors Maria Weselyj and Jordyn Nappi are Mercy's top players. … A young Capital Prep team, which lost to a veteran Coginchaug squad in the Class S final, beefed up its schedule with out-of-state teams this year. The Trailblazers are playing Archbishop Malloy and Bishop Ford Central Catholic of New York and Malcolm X Shabazz of New Jersey. "We need a little more challenge outside of our conference," Capital coach Tammy Millsaps said. "That will prepare us to go deep into the playoffs." The Trailblazers graduated senior forward Diamond Thomas but return sophomores Kiah Gillespie in the post and guard DeJane James, who had 19 points in the state final. "Their freshman year was challenging," Millsaps said. "They made some great strides in being leaders."
Around The NCCC
Somers junior guard Diandra DaRosa (20.7 ppg) might be the best player in the conference, and if Somers can improve defensively and get better post play against the better teams, coach Alan Walker thinks his team will be OK. … Ellington graduated Kelly Conley, who averaged 23 points, from the 24-3 Purple Knights. Junior guard Karlee Alves and senior guard Jess Malone are two top returning players. … Avon, always strong in the conference, brings back its leading scorer and rebounder, junior guard Anna Schrecengost (12 ppg, 6 rpg). … Coventry has a new coach in Isabel Caban.
Bacon Academy The Favorite
Not too many people expected Bacon to win the Class L championship last year, not even its coach, Dave Shea. But the Bobcats did, beating top-seeded E.O. Smith 38-34 in the final. Bacon returns just about its entire team, including senior guard/forward Taylor McLaughlin, who can play any position and averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds last year. … Cromwell, which went 24-3 last year, is one of the favorites to win the Shoreline Conference and could make noise in Class M as well. Junior Janelle Harrison and senior Lindsay Langenauer are both 6-footers; senior guard Kelly Flanigan (11.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 5.2 apg) also returns.Copyright © 2015, CT Now