and Jason Winchell
For The Dialog
WILMINGTON – It’s a new-look St. Elizabeth girls basketball team that will take the court this season, beginning tomorrow afternoon against visiting Woodbridge at 2:15 p.m. Three starters return, along with a few other girls with varsity experience, but this is a young roster. Still, the Vikings believe they have the talent to make a deep playoff run after having reached the semifinal round last year.
Alexis Bromwell, Sarah Metz and Alanna Speaks are back from last year’s starting lineup. Kailee Gautier saw significant minutes last season, but the team’s a little light after that when it comes to time on the court.
“I’m bringing up players that played jayvee last year that will be getting quality time on my team this year,” third-year coach Dan Cooney said during a late-November practice.
The roster is filled with sophomores and juniors, along with eighth-grader Julie McCarron, who will provide some size.
“We don’t have one senior on the team. We’re very athletic and very quick. I have to get these kids to blend in and used to playing with each other. It’s coming every day,” Cooney said. “Once they get used to playing with each other, we’ve got enough talent. We’ll be fine.”
Speaks, a junior, is beginning her third year on the varsity. She said the preseason has been about getting everybody on the same page. She echoed her coach’s sentiments.
“We’re still pretty good,” she said. “We have bigs, point guard. Pretty much everyone plays everywhere. We’re going to be fine.”
The schedule looks a bit different than in past years in that there is only one out-of-state opponent, Damascus (Md.), but even that game will be played on the Vikings’ home court during the Diamond State Classic. There are a lot of Henlopen Conference teams on the schedule; Woodbridge features senior forward Altia Anderson, who has signed to play with Marquette University of the Big East Conference. Other foes include the Catholic Conference, Caravel, Archmere and William Penn. Counting the Diamond State Classic, 12 of their games are at the St. E Center.
“I wanted to stay in state with this group, being as young as they are and a little bit of inexperience. The quality of basketball is fine in the state. I’m glad that teams agreed to play us,” Cooney said, noting that Delaware schools haven’t always been willing to schedule St. Elizabeth.
Schedule (home games in CAPS)
12/12/15 WOODBRIDGE 2:15 pm
12/15/15 CAESAR RODNEY 6:45 pm
12/18/15 @ Sussex Central 6:15 pm
12/28/15 vs Damascus (Md.) @ St E Center 7:30 pm Diamond State Classic
12/29/15 vs Howard or Caesar Rodney @ St E Center TBA Diamond State Classic
01/05/16 @ Ursuline 7:15 pm
01/09/16 PADUA 1:45 pm
01/15/16 @ Caravel 7:15 pm
01/21/16 ST. MARK’S 7:15 pm
01/22/16 ARCHMERE 6:45 pm
01/25/16 HOWARD 6:45 pm
02/02/16 @ Milford 6:15 pm
02/04/16 @ St. Mark’s 7:15 pm
02/09/16 URSULINE 7:15 pm
02/11/16 @ Cape Henlopen 6:15 pm
02/13/16 DOVER 2:15 pm
02/16/16 WILLIAM PENN 6:45 pm
02/18/16 DELAWARE MILITARY ACADEMY 6:45 pm
02/20/16 @ Padua 1:45 pm
02/23/16 @ Mount Pleasant 5 pm