The Dexter High School girls basketball team has a new look this season.
It is very much a building year for the defending Class C North titlists, who wound up 16-7 a year ago.
Six-foot center Megan Peach, a 1,000-point scorer who dominated the paint during her exemplary career, has taken her talents to Bangor’s Husson University. Productive guards Abby Webber and Ashley Reynolds and resourceful forward Kayli Cunningham have also departed.
That has left coach Jody Grant with just two returnees with noteworthy experience in 5-4 guard Kaitlyn Webber, Abby’s sister, and 5-10 forward Becca Batron, who were part-time starters a year ago.
So Grant has found himself starting three freshmen along with Batron and Webber: 5-4 guards Peyton Grant, Cheyenne Beem and Avery Herrick.
And they have been getting the job done.
Dexter will take a 5-1 record into a Wednesday game at Bucksport.
The Tigers’ only loss came on the road to Central of Corinth, which went 14-6 in Class B a year ago and lost to Class B North finalist Foxcroft Academy 52-44 in the quarterfinals.
Grant, daughter of the coach, has been a prolific scorer with several 20-point games already this season. She can score both outside and inside.
“Peyton has played real well and Avery and Cheyenne are both versatile,” the Dexter coach said. “They can play inside or outside. They do a lot of things for us.”
Grant, Herrick and Beem are already battle-tested thanks to their exploits this fall.
Grant and Herrick helped lead Dexter’s 12-5 soccer team to a berth in the regional final where the Tigers lost to eventual state champ Houlton 4-2. Grant and Herrick scored the goals in Dexter’s 2-1 semifinal win over Central and Herrick scored again in the 4-2 loss to Houlton.
Beem started for the Tigers 13-3 field hockey team which reached the regional semifinals where it was beaten by Winthrop 2-1 in overtime.
“The freshmen have definitely stepped up and helped us a lot [already]. And they’re going to improve,” said Webber, who was also an integral part of the field hockey team along with Batron.
“This is going to be a completely different experience for us,” Jody Grant said. “We’re going to work really hard and get better. Hopefully, through the course of 18 games, those freshmen are going to have to grow up.
“I expect to see a lot of growth out of those kids,” Grant added.
He pointed out that last year’s seniors had four years of practices and games under their belts while his current freshmen have six games and around 20 practices.
“There’s no substitute for [experience],” Grant said. “It’s going to take some time. We’ll see what happens.”
Batron will provide the Tigers with an inside presence and Webber is a multi-purpose guard who guards the best scorer on the opposing team.
Juniors Addyson Herrick, Danielle Cummings and Kaylee Deering are among those who will provide depth off the bench.
“We’ve had really good defensive players in the past,” Webber said. “My sister played a really big part on defense. We have to fill those spots as well as [Peach’s] offense. I think our shooters with Peyton and Avery and all the other ones will fill in for Megan’s shooting. I think they will definitely fill in for the seniors we lost last year.”
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