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Ursuline basketball has talent to repeat, but Raiders know target is on their backs

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Dialog reporter

 

WILMINGTON — The 2015-16 season ended with Ursuline cutting down the nets at the Bob Carpenter Center after the school’s second straight state championship, but coach John Noonan said the Raiders have work to do if they want to complete the hat trick.

“The kids who haven’t played a lot, they don’t understand that teams want to beat you,” the veteran coach said. “I tell them, ‘When you lose, people run out on the court.’ That’s not fun. We don’t want to let people celebrate like that.”

Maggie Connolly returns for the Raiders, who have won two straight state titles. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)
Maggie Connolly returns for the Raiders, who have won two straight state titles. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

There certainly is no shortage of weapons at Noonan’s disposal. He returns starters Alisha Lewis, Maggie Connolly and Kryshell Gordy, along with Yanni Hendley-McCalla, Kay Wulah and Liv Mason. In addition, senior Lindsay Brown has played herself into contention for a starting spot.

Noonan spent the preseason trying to find out who will fill the role of the departed Kailyn Kampert, who did “a little bit of everything, and also her leadership was pretty strong. Sometimes you take that for granted when they’re here, and then they’re gone, and you’re like, ‘Whoa, that’s why that kid was so good.’”

As usual, the Raiders have a challenging schedule. They open with two games at the She Got Game Classic this weekend and will be in the main draw at the Diamond State Classic. They also have Cardinal O’Hara (Pa.), Sanford, Caravel and Concord, as well as St. Elizabeth twice.

“We have to play to their strengths and put the pieces of the puzzle in, and pick out our style. We’re going to play fast. I think we’re going to be good defensively. That seems to be where I think we can be the best,” Noonan said.