NEWPORT–This year it is going to be about the doing the little things right for the North Country girl's basketball team.
"I emphasized to the girls that the little things are going to make a difference this season," said coach Christiane Brown. "Making our lay-ups, pushing the ball forward, not losing who we are guarding and finding a body to box out. The little things are going to be what puts us over the top this season.
"I want us to put points on the board, but it is going to be all of the things that lead up to that are what's important to me."
With the departure of perennial double-double machine Noelle Pinard, and the gritty hard-nosed captain Emma Joslin, the Falcons will be searching elsewhere to create offense this season.
"I am really going to be looking towards my four seniors, not really to dominate, but to be the ones that fuel our fire, which creates a spark for our other players," said Brown. "You are always going to be looking for those people who are going to put the ball in the hole. Anna might not have had one the greatest shooting seasons last year, but she would never show that to you, being the gamer that she is. So I expect her to get hot this year and build that confidence like she had as sophomore when she was lighting it up.
"Desiree Coffin, when she is on, she is on, and we are going to look to have her be on consistently because she brings a lot of attributes to the game.
"Britni Jewer was a quiet player coming off the bench last year, but she made a lot of key buckets for us, 6-8 points off the backboard in transition and I don't expect anything less this season.
"Michaela Stanley is a great rebounder, but she hasn't shot much, so we are going to work with her to get her to shoot more. She will be in there rebounding and she will get those down and dirty points, 6-8 a game, hopefully more."
Said Bingham, "I think it is going to be a really good year. In our scrimmage we showed really good chemistry and I believe we will work really well together."
Joining that senior group is a host of other talented players, starting with the junior class of Kelsey Cutting, Katelyn Bowen, Ashley Robishaw-Morin, Hollie Smith and Brittany Verge.
Said Brown, "You hear me say those names and they are mostly guards, but I am looking for some tremendous growth from them."
Verge will have the unenvious duty of spelling Bingham and Coffin from time, Smith is a rangy player that should be tough on D, Cutting can drop a three with the best of them, and could be a go-to player from downtown, and Ashley will be another asset on defense, being a player that battles with a fighter mentality, but Bowen is the one that could sneak up on the Metro Conference this season.
"I like to call her my silent sleeper," said Brown. "In our scrimmage this weekend, in not even a series, she had four steals. It is the quiet things she does, nothing extravagant, but she will battle with the best and she is a smart player on the court."
"They all work together and they understand what it means to be a team," added Coffin about the underclassmen.
A lot of the offense is going to depend on the players ability to display savvy in-game shot recognition.
Brown explained how she works with her players to help build that in-game confidence.
"I share with all of my athletes that they have the green light to shoot, but they need to know what a good shot is. Sometimes they are wondering 'is this a good look or is it not.' If you have a good look, you've got to shoot, not pass it up."
On defense it is going to be a group effort, with everyone from the seniors on down expected to do their part.
Sophomore MyKayla Tanguay figures to be another big part of the Falcons D.
"She is going to be one of the girls that will be asked to shut down one of the other team's top players. I'm not saying she is the fastest player out there, but if I need someone to shadow the opposition's top player, then I can rely on her to handle that role," the coach said.
All in all it looks to be a season where the Falcons will have to have a balanced approach on both sides of the court if they hope to achieve success in 2012-2013.
The season gets rolling on Tuesday when North Country plays host to Lyndon Institute.
JV's tip-off at 5:00 with the varsity squad getting underway at 6:30.