Head coach: Dan LaBelle (first season). Assistant coach: Rafael Gonzalez.

Last year: Chariho finished 4-9 in a pandemic-shortened season.

Returning to varsity:

Seniors: Eliah King (C, captain), Britney LaBelle (G, captain). Juniors: McKenzie Allen (F), Elaina Ricci (G). Sophomores: Emily Ballard (F), Megan Ballard (G), Lexi Cole (G), Keira Frias (G), Jules White (F).

New to varsity:

Sophomore: Samantha Main (G). Freshmen: Brianna DeGiacomo (F), Erin O’Leary (F).

Outlook: The 21-year-old LaBelle, a 2018 Chariho graduate, said any success the Chargers enjoy this season will start on the defensive end.

“Defense is going to lead to our offense. At this point I believe our best defense will be [man to man],” he said. “We want to get up on people in the half-court. We want to make it tough on the ballhandler. We will also have to box out and be physical.”

LaBelle did say Chariho’s defense could change depending up the strength of its opponents.

Britney LaBelle, coach LaBelle’s sister, and King are both back after missing last year. LaBelle, who damaged a ligament in her knee as a sophomore, will be the team’s point guard. King is an inside player who can score and rebound.

White and Frias will also play a lot. White can rebound and score from 15 feet and in. Frias can drive to the basket and shoot 3s. Emily Ballard will be an inside player, while DeGiacommo and Megan Ballard will also get minutes.

“We need to make better passes in our half-court offense and read what the defense gives us,” LaBelle said. “We want to pass and cut and set screens for each other.”

The girls shot clock has increased from 30 seconds to 35.

Coach’s take: “The goal every year is to get into the state championship game. We want to see constant improvement throughout the year. We don’t want to take a step back.”

— Keith Kimberlin

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