The Messalonskee High School girls basketball team graduated five seniors off last year’s team that went 17-4 and reached the Class A North final where it was beaten by Lawrence High of Fairfield.
Despite having only three seniors this season, the Eagles from Oakland are looking to go even further. The sit atop the Heal Point standings with their 11-0 record.
Messalonskee has limited opponents to an average of 36 points per game while scoring 62.
The Eagles are tenacious defenders and generate points of the turnovers they create.
Coach Keith Derosby’s team is extremely athletic and deep as he routinely uses nine players which wears down opponents.
Derosby also has a game-changer in senior guard Sophie Holmes, who was a Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl third-team selection a year ago when she averaged 20.8 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocked shots.
The 5-foot-8 Holmes is averaging 22 points per game this season and is also among the team’s top rebounders.
Derosby said one of the keys to his team’s success has been “their ability to understand the game.
“We also run the floor very well,” said Derosby, who has six players who stand at least 5-8.
Another important factor has been the development of junior point guard Ally Turner, who is averaging six assists per game along with eight points. She creates matchup problems because she is 5-11.
“She’s much more confident this season,” said Derosby.
Senior center McKenna Brodeur (5-10) supplies them with a talented post presence who can score and rebound inside. Senior Lydia Dexter (5-6) is an all-purpose guard/forward and 6-1 freshman guard/forward Gabrielle Wener has been a valuable addition.
“Gabrielle is a complete player. She can handle the ball, she can rebound, she passes well. She’s had a couple double-doubles for us,” said Derosby after Wener scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds and made two steals in a 56-41 at Hampden Academy last Friday night.
Wener hit five three-pointers.
“She’s always been a great shooter,” said Holmes. “We were excited about her coming up this year.”
DeRosby has also received productive minutes from sophomore swing players Emily Parent and Alyssa Genness, sophomore forward Katie Seekins and junior guard/forward Makayla Wilson.
Holmes said they have a complete team.
“Coach has 11 players he can play at any time and we’re comfortable. That’s really helpful for us,” she said.