Cavalier girls hope to rebound behind Balsamo

A year after winning the title, Hollis Brookline didn’t make it past the quarters this year but that may have had more to do with the draw – a tough quarterfinal opponent in eventual champion Hanover on the road – than anything else.

Next season? All-State point guard Christina Balsamo will be a senior, and if her game develops even further, the Cavs will be a factor. When she gets going so does her team. “You got it,” HB coach Bob Murphy said after the team’s tourney prelim win. “She smart, but she’s also quick, she knows the game of basketball, she’s really fun to watch and she’s great to have as a point guard. She handles the ball, distributes the ball. … She makes everybody else look good. She really does.”

HB will miss graduating center Elizabeth Atkinson and guard Brodie Kelley, but if other regulars like Elizabeth Bonnette and Amanda Goclowski can take things to a senior level, watch out.

Problem is, title winner Hanover loses just three seniors and runnerup Kennett four, plus 17-1 Lebanon two. The competition in Division II at the top has gotten tougher (top five teams a combined 82-9 regular season).

The other local teams Milford and Souhegan, both 3-15, may find it tough to compete. Milford is struggling with numbers – not enough for a JV team – but they lose just two seniors. Souhegan went through the growing pains of losing eight seniors from last season, so expect a step forward.