After being hit hard by graduation following last season’s trip to the Division 2 North quarterfinals, Gloucester girls basketball coach Lori Sanborn knew she’d be faced with the trying task of reloading this winter.
Fortunately for the second-year coach, that reloading process will be bolstered by senior Kali Cook’s return to the hardwood. Cook, a star on the Fishermen’s soccer team, had been a touted basketball player growing up, but stepped away from the game when she started high school.
That is, until this season. And while it’ll surely be a difficult transition back into the game after her hiatus, Cook’s speed and athleticism are just what Sanborn was looking for.
With Cook in the mix with returners like senior captains Katie Ciaramitaro and Sophie Black and fellow seniors Sammy Oliver and Marlee Melvin, the Fishermen look to have successfully pulled off their reload.
“We’re psyched,” Sanborn said. “We’re thrilled to have (Cook) back. I’d never met her before the beginning of the season, but she’s just a great athlete. Her speed’s going to help us. With her and Katie, their speed’s really going to help us out.”
Still, the departures of last season’s NEC Small MVP, guard Heather Cain, and fellow NEC all-star Audrey Knowlton have left gaping holes in the Fishermen’s lineup.
A grueling preseason, Sanborn hopes, will season the new-look Fishermen to the point that they can move past the loss of those two stars.
Since tryouts opened up last Monday, the Fishermen have already scrimmaged Cape Ann League powerhouses Ipswich and Masconomet and will square-off with Rockport this afternoon.
“I like to come right out of the gates with two tough scrimmages because you’ve got to get them prepared,” Sanborn said. “We’ve had two scrimmages so far and we have a third one on Friday. We have an almost brand new team this year and the dynamic of the team is very different. But I think in just two days, we’ve had a lot of growth from the two different scrimmages.”