Muskie hoopsters looking for right mix

The Muskie senior girls’ basketball team will be looking at a bit of the old and some of the new to lead them to victory this season.
Clearly, the squad will be looking for another good season from veteran players like Laureen Cousineau, Christine Noonan, Siobhan Devlin, and Sarah Vanderplaats. But the key may lie in their future stars.
Making the jump from the junior squad–and fresh off winning NorWOSSA gold a year ago–will be standouts Christine Thomson and Sarah Noonan.
Particularly since veteran coach Gord McCabe has elected to go with a three-guard offensive set that will feature a more “run-’n-gun” style of play to take advantage of the larger floor of the new gym.
But while McCabe said he was still undecided Monday over who will be moving the ball upcourt in their new offence, he hinted a week ago that a perfect scenario may see Christine Noonan–whom he feels is one the top defensive players in the league–do that job and dish the ball to the likes of Cousineau and Devlin.
Noonan also will be looking to set up her younger sister, Sarah, who led all juniors in scoring last season.
“Our real asset is that we have some forwards that are pretty quick and we’ll use a pressing defence,” said McCabe, who will be sharing the coaching duties with Kent Kowalski.
Still, much will hinge on how well the rookies make the transition from the junior game to the senior one.
“I think we’ll be OK,” McCabe said earlier this week when asked about his team’s chances this year. “We’ve certainly lost some size from last year but we’ll have Devlin back and Kelly Crawford will move up to forward.”
The Muskies will try to use Devlin’s offensive talents–not to mention her 6’2” frame–underneath the basket by feeding her inside. Crawford, meanwhile, will be looked upon to crash the boards along with Vanderplaats to haul in those all-important offensive rebounds.
“I expect a strong year from Sarah, who is in her OAC year,” said McCabe.
The Muskies began their exhibition schedule last weekend at a tournament in Dryden, winning one game and losing a pair against three Thunder Bay teams.
After defeating Fort William Collegiate 38-37 on a game-winning shot by Laureen Cousineau with five seconds left in overtime, the Muskies lost 38-21 to St. Ignatius and then were handed a 61-35 drubbing at the hands of St. Patrick’s.
Cousineau led all Muskie scorers with 15 points in the win while Sarah Noonan added 11.
McCabe said he was impressed with his team’s defensive play in the loss against St. Ignatius, adding they had trouble cracking their opponent’s zone defence.
Still, despite the one win in three tries, McCabe said he was pleased with his team’s effort–and play–and is optimistic for the season as the Muskies prepare to host the Dryden Eagles in their NorWOSSA season-opener tomorrow.
Heading into last weekend, McCabe admitted he wasn’t all that concerned with wins and losses at the tournament.
“It really doesn’t matter how you start but it’s how you finish,” he stressed. “We learned that lesson when we went undefeated in NorWOSSA last year and then we came out flat in the final and lost.”