1. Capital Prep
Taylor Williams is already headed to Sacred Heart University and Kiah Gillespie and Desiree Elmore are both high Division I prospects. This team has the most talent in the state, a great coach in Tammy Millsaps and plays a tough out-of-state- non conference schedule against teams like the No. 14 ranked team in New Jersey, Eastside (NJ), on Jan. 4 and 9-1 Potters House (FL) on Jan. 10. The Trail Blazers are also in the stronger, more competitive Class L. Capital Prep could end up playing Weaver, which now boasts the Trail Blazers starting and back-up point guards from last season, in the state tournament.
2. Career’s Tanaya Atkinson
The Temple-bound, do-everything swing player performs with a passion that can’t be coached and does it all with a smile. Coming off am All-Area MVP and All-State season where she played and guarded every position, the sky is the limit for the senior. With former starting point guard Alyssa Alston attending prep school on Long Island, Atkinson will have to shoulder more of the load. However, after what she did last season, there should be no doubt that hard-working senior can and will handle it.
3. The future is here
Any given night you could be watching a girl that will be playing Division I or II basketball next winter. 15 girls have already signed in the state and that number will increase when talents like Shyla Osmond (Hillhouse) and Trayneice Mims (Hyde) settle on a college. Even underclassmen, like All-Area and All-State sophomore Taylor Ceballos of Foran and All-State Mercy juniors Maura Fitzpatrick and Sarah Gallo, show promising potential beyond high school. Try to get an autograph now, the line for one could get longer in the near future.
4. Moving on up
As mentioned earlier, Capital Prep moved up from Class S to Class L, due to the new success rule for non public schools. Any school that can draw talent from outside of the town it is located in is subject to the rule. Three straight strips to the state quarterfinals moves them up two classes, and two trip in the last three years moves them up one. As a result, five teams moved up.
5. Remember the time?
If last season’s buzzer-beater in the final, courtesy of Mercy’s Maria Weselyj to down Lauralton Hall 54-53 in the Class LL title game didn’t make you a believer, you’re probably just not a basketball fan. It’s okay, we don’t judge here. (We do actually, C’MON MAN!!!!)
FIVE GAMES THAT’LL MAKE YOU A GIRLS BASKETBALL FAN THIS SEASON|
- Amity at Mercy, Fri., 7 p.m.: The defending Class LL champion Tigers, led by Fitzpatrick and Gallo, take on Chloe Briton’s Spartans in what could be a strong year for an experience, senior-laden Amity team.
- Cromwell at Morgan, Fri., 7 p.m.: Hartford-bound Janelle Harrison takes on one of the best complete teams in the Shoreline Conference.
- Mercy at Career, Jan. 17., 7 p.m.: A rematch of the 2013 Southern Connecticut Conference championship game, in which Career attempted to milk the clock for the entire fourth quarter en route to a victory.
- Lyman Hall at Amity, Jan. 17., 7 p.m.: If Amity is the sleeper to capture the SCC this season, Lyman Hall is right behind them. With Nicole and Taylor Mierzejewski and Krista Peterson leading the way, the Trojans could shock some teams, and Amity, this season.
- Coginchaug at Morgan, Jan. 20., 7 p.m.: Sami Ashton and Jen Dawson lead the Huskies into a possible Shoreline Conference final preview against the Blue Devils.