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Musgrove leads St. Anthony's title dreams

St. Anthony's guard Rebecca Musgrove controls the ball

St. Anthony's guard Rebecca Musgrove controls the ball during a game against St. John the Baptist. (Dec. 18, 2012) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

St. Anthony's has already established itself as one of the best teams in New York the last two seasons. The Friars want to take that next step and win a state CHSAA AA championship.

It's a tough task trying to get through the city teams, but the Friars have been competitive, losing to Nazareth in the state semifinals two years ago in the waning moments and in the quarterfinals last season to Molloy in overtime.

The Friars won their second consecutive NSCHSAA championship last year and broke into the national rankings. They return four starters led by Brown-bound Rebecca Musgrove, who averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.2 steals last season.

Junior 5-10 forward Chastity Taylor, 6-2 senior Johanna Impellizeri and junior guard Tyla Parham join junior guard Charise Wilson to round out the starters. Wilson sat out last season because of transfer rules following her departure from North Babylon.

The Friars don't have the size compared to recent seasons, but the guard play is excellent and they rebound well.

St. Mary's has a vastly different look and will be a contender in the CHSAA and one of the top teams on the Island. The Gaels had a one-point loss to Molloy, one of the top city teams, last week and haven't quite blended with each other.

Three transfers from Mary Louis elevate the Gaels. Sophomore point guard Mei-Lyn Bautista can do it all and 6-1 sophomore forward Jordan Augustus is a great athlete and a force around the basket. Sophomore guard McKayla Hernandez also came over from Mary Louis.

Senior 6-foot center Alyssa James, a four-year starter, is the lone returning starter. Jasmine Bryant, a 5-7 junior, returns after missing her sophomore season with a torn ACL. St. Mary's did lose Elizabeth Durchhalter, an excellent three-point shooter, to a torn ACL two weeks ago.

St. John the Baptist returns nine players, including two starters with junior guard Lauren Williams and senior guard Aliyah Smith. Sydney Zambrotta, a freshman guard, transferred from Upper Room and will be the big scorer for the Cougars. Lauren Parra, a 6-2 senior, is back after missing most of last season with a torn ACL.

Italee Brown-Smirkle, a 5-10 freshman guard, and Meghan Oberg, a 6-foot freshman forward, transferred from Islip and sophomore Kayla Hill came over from St. Anthony's.

Kellenberg is a young, inexperienced team with talent. Candace Belvedere, a 6-2 junior center, is receiving a lot of Division I interest. She averaged 11 points and 10 rebounds last season. Getting Belvedere the ball will be junior guard Brenna Dennelly. The junior varsity was undefeated last season and several players were brought up, including junior guard Kaitlyn Stackpole and junior guard Taylor Casey.

Senior guard Genna Pasquale and senior forward Erin Tully are returning starters for Sacred Heart. Senior guard Victoria Spagnolo and senior guard Ashleigh Orr will also be key pieces for a team that is more athletic than recent seasons and will be an aggressive defensive team.

Senior Kelly Carey leads the way for Holy Trinity, sophomore Samantha Lynch leads an Our Lady of Mercy team with one senior and St. Dominic is paced by senior guard Dana Campbell.

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