Last year, the Southampton girls basketball team went into the season with nearly its entire squad lost to graduation, but it still had one of the best players in the county in guard Noelle Hodges, as well as a solid frontcourt player in Sydney Katz.
This year, however, the Lady Mariners will need to have a more balanced attack if they want to be competitive in League VII games. Hodges, a two-time All-County player who was, at most times, a one-girl show last year, is now playing with her older sister, Paris Hodges, at Brandeis University. Her loss leaves head coach Juni Wingfield without a standout talent, and he said his team will need to work hard on improving its basketball IQ throughout the season.
“I have kids who are willing to try their best,” he said of a young squad. “We won’t be able to shoot our way out of things, so we’ll have to execute our way out. We have to be more methodical, and we can’t play man-to-man defense.”
A trio of seniors will lead the team as captains this year, and they’re all forwards, including Caroline Ricca, Jackie Minogue and Catilin Pressley. Also returning to the varsity are junior guards Chloe Scheuch and Brook-Lynn Walker as well as sophomore guard Margarita Trujillo. Junior guard Tavia Jeffries joins the team after playing at Stony Brook last year, while forward Samona Ward is back on the team as well. Junior Zoe Dupree is up from the JV, while Wingfield said he has not yet decided what other players he will bring up from the junior varsity.
Wingfield admitted that his team will struggle to compete against Hampton Bays, the defending county Class B champion that brought back most of its players and is the favorite to win the league. He said Mattituck could give the Lady Baymen a run for their money, although the Lady Tuckers lost their top player, who transferred to St. Anthony’s. Wingfield said Babylon should be strong as well.
Southampton will start the season at home on December 2 at 6:15 p.m. in a non-league game against East Hampton.