FAIRFIELD >> The Notre Dame-Fairfield girls’ basketball team isn’t trying to duplicate last season. A year ago the Lancers advanced to the Class M state championship, winning 23 games in the process. They finished as the South-West Conference and state runner up
This winter brings in a much different appearance. The team returns versatile 5-foot-10 senior Brianna Mann, who started every game for the Lancers. Along with Mann, senior Alex Danas and junior Nakia Mabin are the only two who come in with quality varsity experience.
“I think that we should just take it game by game,” Danas said of expectations of the season. “You can’t go off of last year. It’s a whole new team, different ideas, different concepts and just go with it, game by game.”
That is the philosophy for the team. Head coach Eric DeMarco said it’s been more of a slower, patient process getting everyone on the same page and trying to find the rotation of consistency defensively.
“We have to reconstitute an entire team,” DeMarco said.
The three leaders for Notre Dame will the veterans in Mann, Danas and Mabin. The trio will be asked to lead throughout the season and set a tone early for the younger kids.
“I just think the three returning kids have the potential to be double digit scorers,” DeMarco said. Added Mann: “I know defense was one of the biggest keys to why we did what we did last year, and that’s what all three of us have to push.”
DeMarco said beyond the three players, he has seen flashes of great play from a handful of individuals but it’s going to be a work in progress to find that consistent level of play. The team isn’t ruling out making it to the state tournament or contending for a title, but again, it goes back to taking it game by game and making strides each day.
“We’re going to go as far as the level of commitment we can get collectively out of from seven or eight kids as the season progresses,” DeMarco said.
But what the Lancers do possess is a solid and balanced game.
‘Our strength, we have size this year,” Mann said. “We have four, five players with height and we have Alex (Danas) a great 3-point shooter. We can mix and match inside and our guards know how to shoot outside and our posts know how to shoot outside so we can come outside and go inside.”
Added Mabin: “Everyone has potential and that’s a good thing. It’s just we all have to see that potential.”
The Lancers open up the season on Dec. 20 on the road against Kolbe Cathedral at 7 p.m.