WOONSOCKET – With only two seniors and a lot of sophomores and freshmen on its roster, along with a new head coach, the Mount Saint Charles Academy girls’ basketball team opened up its Division III season last Thursday night at home with a 34-28 loss to Narragansett High.

Ed Cunanan takes over as the Mounties’ head coach after serving as the junior varsity coach last year. He said that it’s an honor and a blessing that he got the opportunity to get the head coaching spot.

“This is a wonderful group of kids,” he said. “I’ve been around them for two years now, and a lot of them I actually coached in middle school, so I’ve known these kids a long time.”

Of course, he admitted that it’s disappointing to start off your head high school coaching career with a loss, but he’s hopeful that his team can fix its mistakes and be competitive this season.

Last week’s game was a competitive one that saw the Mounties take a 9-6 lead after a quarter of play, but the Mariners battle back in the next quarter and grab a 22-15 lead at halftime.

The Mounties reclaimed their lead at the start of the third quarter by scoring the first eight points, as back-to-back layups off steals by junior guard Kylana Chauvin gave Mount its 23-22 lead.

Unfortunately for the Mounties, they didn’t score again until late in the game, and during that stretch, the Mariners put together a seven-point run to reclaim the lead for good.

“(We were) a little sloppy, and we have a lot of things we need to work on,” Cunanan admitted. “We have to work on offense – it kind of broke down a little bit – and we had a couple of defensive lapses as well, but the kids didn’t give up and I’m proud of them for that.”

The Mounties are led this season by their four captains, senior forwards Mallory Mongeon and Katie Mahon, Chauvin, and sophomore forward Emma Roberts.

“They are quality kids,” Cunanan added. “They take that leadership role very, very seriously. The culture that we’re building here means a lot, so they understand what I expect out of them.”

Last Thursday’s game saw Roberts lead the Mounties with 12 points, and another up-and-coming player, freshman forward Adelaide Stojanowski, score six in her high school debut.

“We have a very young team,” Cunanan said. “We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, and in games like tonight, where it’s close, the experience factor kind of weighs against us a little bit. But they’re going to learn, and they’re going to learn quickly by fire. And they’re going to be in there, so the experience will come.”

And while the experience will come, so will the wins. The Mounties returned to action on Monday by busing to Warwick for a matchup with Pilgrim High, and MSC was able to grab a 41-36 victory that saw most of its scoring come from Roberts (11 points), Stojanowski (eight), and Chauvin (seven).

The Mounties were scheduled to play North Smithfield on Wednesday night, and two neighboring teams that Cunanan highlighted on their schedule were the Northmen and Lincoln. He said that N.S. probably has the most talented squad, while Lincoln has height, which Mount is lacking.

“Our expectation is to compete,” Cunanan said about the season. “We expect to be very competitive in this division. Certainly, we didn’t get off to the start that we wanted to, but we expect to grow from (last Thursday’s) loss.”

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