Wiscasset Middle High School’s girls’ basketball program, a work in progress last season, is slowly coming together for Coach Tom Philbrick of Boothbay. WMHS will open the Mountain Valley Conference season at home against the Mt. Abram Roadrunners at 5 p.m. Dec. 9.
One big change this season is the Wolverines are foregoing their junior varsity team and concentrating all their efforts at improving the varsity squad. A dozen girls on the roster. Because there are no longer jayvee games, most of the girls’ and boys’ games will be played back-to-back the same night. An exception are the games with Boothbay Region High School, who the Wolverine girls won’t play until Jan. 10.
Another first for the Wolverines is they have scheduled four pre-season games that started this past Saturday with a pair of games hosted by Searsport High School. This coming Friday, Nov. 29, they’ll travel to Waterville to play Temple Christian Academy and then take a long bus ride to Bingham to play Valley High School on Dec. 3. Between the Temple and Valley games, the Wolverines will host the annual Alumni Game at Stover Gymnasium at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. This game, always well attended, has been a post-Thanksgiving Day tradition since the 1970s. The past few years, the Alumni have dominated the contest but maybe this year things will be different.
“Practice games are something you can never get enough of,” Philbrick said. This past Friday, he had his charges running through a series of offensive and defensive drills and practicing their free throw shooting.
“You’re going to be in some close ballgames this season and may find yourself in some pressure situations when making foul shots will mean the difference between winning and losing,” he told his players. He demonstrated how it’s done by swishing a pair of foul shots and then sending his players on the court to practice their free throws.
WMHS’s assistant athletic director, Bob “Radar” Applebee, is returning again to help coach the team. “There’s still going to be a few junior varsity games for the underclassmen. We’re hoping, too, that we can host a multi-team jayvee tournament maybe sometime in January,” he said. Applebee will coach the jayvee games.
Both Wolverine coaches are looking forward to the season. Last year, the team was winless. “We’re improving and learning something new every time we take the court,” added Philbrick. “We had a lot of fun playing summer basketball and came away with a couple of wins.”
Seniors on the roster include Natalie Potter, Jade Rego and Kateleen Trask. The juniors are Zoe Waltz, Kylie Peoples and Emily Richardson; sophomores, Madison Carrier, Brianna Orr, Latisha Wright and D’Nisha Dawkins. Freshmen Kailee Colby and Dezaray Orne round out the team.
Trask and Waltz are the most experienced ball handlers and aren’t afraid to take the ball to the hoop. Orr and Wright provide some accurate outside shooting from both inside and outside the three-point circle. Rego, Carrier and Richardson will supply the rebounds and inside baskets. Peoples and Potter will see plenty of action, too. The Wolverines put 45 points on the scoreboard during their scrimmage game at Searsport.
Before coming to WMHS last year, Philbrick coached junior high and high school basketball for five different school systems, including Orono, Rockland, Camden, Rangeley and Mt. Blue.