By KEITH KANE Sports Editor
---- — SARANAC LAKE — The North Country Community College women’s basketball team didn’t look like themselves a season ago.
The Saints went 7-17 during the 2012-13 season, and coach Jerrad Dumont wasn’t happy with the way they were forced to play.
“We played a slow-tempo game last year,” Dumont said. “It didn’t fit what we are used to doing at North Country. It really didn’t fit our style.”
This season, though, looks to be a year of getting back to North Country basketball they way it was supposed to be played.
The Saints return just two players from last season’s team in Veronica Uras and Emily Lapage, but welcome in 11 new players.
“Veronica and Emily are coming back and both have played in 24 games,” Dumont said. “They will be my captains this year and are already explaining and showing the girls what to expect and how to compete.
“They understand what it takes to compete at this level and what it takes to win. They have been leaders for us throughout the year, which has been really good.”
The Saints are looking to get back into an up-tempo style of play, with full-court man-to-man pressure and the roster portrays that.
North Country has 10 players on the roster listed in the guard position, with only a few listed to play in the post.
“We are going to be able to play an up-tempo game and really get up and defend,” Dumont said. “As opposed to last year we played a lot of 2-3 zone. This year we are going to put a lot of pressure on the basketball … as much as we can.”
One new player coming into the fold for the Saints is former Chateaugay player, Courtney Boyea.
Boyea was an all-state athlete in soccer, basketball and softball for the Bulldogs during her senior season.
“She has been playing really well,” Dumont said. “And it’s nice to be able to have her play for me (as a former Chateaugay player myself).”
Boyea will join Lapage and Uras in Dumont’s starting lineup to start the season.
Tori Pennington, a 5 foot, 6 inch guard from Bear, Delaware, will also be in the starting lineup, while Shaneika Smith and Brianna Burgess will split time as the fifth starter.
“Burgess is left handed, about 5 foot, eight inches and she has done a really good job rebounding during our scrimmages,” Dumont said. “Hopefully that can carry over to regional play and into our season.”
Former Franklin Academy athlete Abbey LaPage has also caught Dumont’s eye early this season.
“She has been playing really well,” Dumont said. “She is also left handed and she comes from a great program in Malone.”
Northeastern Clinton graduate Skyler Hebert and Brushton-Moira graduate Caitlyn Lapage will also see time for the Saints this season.
With so many guards on the floor, Dumont is hoping to hide the fact that North Country is lacking in the height department.
Burgess stands at 5 foot, 11 inches, but the next tallest players on the team are all 5 foot, 8 inches.
“Against certain teams it could be a problem,” Dumont said. “We will be able to get up and pressure, and because we aren’t huge we really need to come ready to play. We will need to get the intensity up and defend well.
“If we can do that then I think we will be fine, but if we slack off our man we will get the ball pounded inside on us and we will be in trouble.”
With 11 new freshmen joining the team, the future definitely looks bright for the North Country women’s program. But, Dumont is hoping to the future might be now.
“My expectations are high,” Dumont said. “We can do well in the region as long as everyone buys in and everyone eally wants it.
“If we stick together as a team I think we will be great in the future. Hopefully these 11 freshmen come back with the next class — the future is really bright for us.”
North Country Community College
2013-14 women’s basketball roster
1- Veronica Uras, 5-7 sophomore guard, Windsor, Ontario/Vincent Massey Secondary
2- Alexis Bridges, 5-5 freshman guard, Columbus, Ohio/Northland
3- Reukiah Smith, 5-5 freshman guard, Akron, Ohio/Canton McKinley
4- Skylar Hebert, 5-7 freshman guard/forward, Champlain/Northeastern Clinton
5- Vivencia Philippe, 5-4 freshman guard, Miami, Fla./Archbishop Curley Notre Dame
10- Kaneshia Kimbrough, 5-7 freshman guard/forward, Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta
11- Abbey LaPage, 5-7 freshman guard, North Bangor/Franklin Academy
12- Tori Pennington, 5-6 freshman guard, Bear, De./Pencader Charter
15- Courtney Boyea, 5-8 freshman guard, Chateaugay/Chateaugay
21- Brianna Burgess, 5-11 freshman forward, Highstown, N.J./Highstown
23- Shaneika Smith, 5-8 freshman guard, Tifton, Ga./Valdosta
30- Emily Lapage, 5-8 sophomore center, Moira/Brushton-Moira
33- Caitlyn Lapage, 5-7 freshman center, Moira/Brushton-Moira
Head coach: Jerrad Dumont
Assistant coach: Adam diVincenzo
Monday, November 4- Word of Life, 6 p.m.
Monday, November 11- at Mohawk-Valley Community College, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, November 13- Word of Life, 5 p.m.
Saturday, November 16- vs. Corning Community College, Chateaugay Central, noon
Sunday, November 17- Finger Lakes Community College, Chateaugay Central, 1 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 21- at Elmira junior varsity, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 23- at Broome Community College, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 24- at Tompkins-Cortland Community College, noon
Saturday, Dec. 7- Onondaga Community College, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 8- Cayuga Community College, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 14- at Jefferson Community College, 1 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 9- at SUNY Adirondack, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 11- Hudson Valley Community College, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 14- at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 16- Schenectady County Community College, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 18- SUNY Delhi, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 22- at Herkimer County Community College, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 25- Mohawk Valley Community College, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 5- SUNY Adirondack, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 8- at Hudson Valley Community College, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 12- Fulton-Montgomery Community College, 5 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 14- at Davis College, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 15- at Schenectady County Community College, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 18- Word of Life, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 19- at SUNY Delhi, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 22- Herkimer County Community College, 3 p.m.