Madawaska girls have new coach, determined to succeed

MADAWASKA, Maine — On the heels of a season that never was last year, the Madawaska Middle/High School girls varsity basketball team is ready to return to the hardwood this winter. 

The Owls have a new coach in Bailey Bellefleur. This will be Bellefleur’s first year coaching varsity basketball, and she is approaching the role with enthusiasm and a solid plan for the team. 

“As we prepare for the upcoming 2021-2022 season, we will focus on rebuilding the basketball program,” Bellefleur said. “Basketball requires a variety of skills, and this year we’re bringing good footwork, rebounding, ball handling, a wide shot range, and a fast-paced competitive game to the table.”

The Madawaska’s girls basketball program was canceled last season due to a lack of players, exacerbated by COVID-19, when some potential players chose not to participate due to the virus. 

This year the team sports a solid 11-player roster and the lack of a season last year has only added to the Owls’ determination and passion for the game of basketball. 

“COVID-19 has made a big impression on every community regardless of how you look at it. For the young ladies playing this season, their excitement at having a team this year and getting to play on the court is unmatched,” Bellefleur said. 

Bellefluer will rebuild a team that held much promise three years ago, when head coach Dean Gendreau led the Madawaska girls to a 14-4 regular-season record that earned the club the No. 3 seed in the Class C North tournament. 

When they last competed during the 2019-2020 season, the team was significantly reduced with the loss of four graduated seniors and two other players who chose not to play. The Owls finished that season 4-14 and did not qualify for the playoffs.

“The young ladies who will be playing this season are very hard workers and are determined to succeed,” Bellefleur said. 

The Madawaska girls’ starting five are senior forward/center Chantal Ackley, “a strong rebounder, defender and shooter’” junior guard Mallory Corriveau, “a solid shooter and defender;” junior forward/center Grace Robinson, “a strong rebounder and defender;” and junior guard Taylor Pelletier, a “strong shooter and defender,” according to the coach. 

Sophomore guard Alyssa Lajoie, a “strong shooter and defender,” will round out the team’s starters, Bellefleur said.

The roster also includes senior Chloe Dumond; junior Kayla Collins; and freshmen Payton Pelletier, Nicolette Martin and Naliyah Love. 

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