MANCHESTER - It may only be pre-season, but so far Burr and Burton girl's basketball coach Terry Merrow likes what he's seeing out of this year's squad.

In spite of graduating starting guard Marjean Conlon and forwards Naomi Johnson and Sam Labate - as well as guard Jessica Antonez and forward Kelsey Towslee who came in off the bench - Merrow expects the players he has this year to be able to fill the void.

"The way it looks right now we're really deep in [the] guard position. We have four or five guards," Merrow said. "Center position, we have three kids, four kids there too. One just happens to be a freshman who shows a lot of potential. When she adapts we'll be all right, but again the forwards it's wide open.

The BBA girls varsity basketball team takes time out of a recent practice for a casual team photo. Their season begins Dec. 11.
The BBA girls varsity basketball team takes time out of a recent practice for a casual team photo. Their season begins Dec. 11. (Gary Baker photo)
People are going to compete for playing time."

Though there is a lot of depth on the team, in an interview on Monday, Merrow said it was unclear as to how many girls would play in the rotation. While it may only be pre-season, Merrow said he has noticed a lot of strengths in this year's team.

"We're quick. We're real quick," Merrow said. "We have a desire to play defense and that's very rare when you get to this level. They're really buying into the defensive part of the game. So, I'm excited."

One of the other things that Merrow said he has been impressed with out of this year's squad is their work ethic.

Though there are many positives to this year's team, a potential Achilles heal that Merrow sees is the team's youth - something some members of team think may be an obstacle to overcome entering this season as well.

"I think the biggest challenge going into the season is that we're such a young team," said senior co-captain Rory Halligan. "It will be the experience of playing on a varsity team and the competition that comes with it, but I feel like we're up for that because what we've seen in pre-season so far is that the freshmen and sophomores are willing to take the risk and work as hard as they can to achieve our goals as a program."

Senior co-captain Devin Brown, however, felt adjusting to the pace of the game would be the most difficult thing going into this season.

"I think just the transition, the pace the game is played at from middle school to high school or JV to varsity," said Brown. "But over the summer and in the pre-season we saw a lot of dedication and I think we're going to be a quick team."

Although the inexperience of the team may be somewhat of a concern, there was at the very least one thing Merrow indicated he was not worried about.

"There are not going to be many teams that will outwork us," said Merrow. "These kids work hard. I'm real happy so far in the first week just to see the enthusiasm from them. It's just amazing."