By Greg Klein
---- — With a junior-laden team, Cherry Valley-Springfield girls coach Tim Dubben has a couple of years of joy ahead of him.
“I’m pretty excited about our team,” Dubben said. “We’re going to be good this year and we’re going to be even better next year.”
Although Dubben has to replace his leading scorer, his daughter Aria, and his leading defender in Ksenia Hanlon, he has plenty of athletes on his bench to fill in with, starting with his guards, juniors Jordan and Lauren Loucks.
Tall and athletic, Lauren will again be the Patriots starting point guard.
“She’s good at ball control, and she’s quick,” Dubben said. “She’s really got a good head on her shoulders.”
Jordan Loucks will be the shooting guard while sophomore Maddie Archer will play the wing. The duo will be needed to take up the scoring slack from last season’s seniors.
“Maddie, she’s really tough, really hungry,” Dubben said. “She’s going to have to do a lot of the scoring for us.”
Junior Kylie Graham will also start at forward.
“She’s a good athlete,” Dubben said. “She’s very aggressive on the court.”
Dubben said two seniors, Alyssa Baker and JoAnna Bening, will likely compete for the fifth starting spot.
“Alyssa, she’s the workhorse,” he said. “She does the little things on the court. JoAnna, she has the size.
“I guess it is a good problem to have, I guess,” he continued, “I have more than five girls that can start for us.”
Defending Tri-Valley champion Franklin, with all-around athlete junior Jordan Beers, is still the team to beat, both in the West division and overall in the Tri-Valley. However, with last year’s East champ Worcester losing much of its squad to graduation, and with Milford losing Daily Star All-Star Avalon Ward, the East is wide open, according to Dubben.
“Schenevus will be tough,” he said. “Milford, I know they lost a lot of girls, but Jim Weir is a great coach. He will find a way to win with the girls he has coming back. There is no powerhouse in the East, but I think we will be right in the middle of it.”
Clearly Dubben likes his team’s chances this year and beyond.
“I have a great group of girls,” he said. “We’re young but we are jelling
“It is like I tell the girls, coaching them is fun, but it is no fun when we lose. Anything can happen this year in our division. It may be up and down this year, but I hope we will be there in the end.”