By MICHAEL KELLY
GALWAY -- At Wednesday's girls basketball practice, Galway head coach Deb Wilday said she is not interested in discussing whether her team is one of the favorites in the Western Athletic Conference North Division this season.
"We try to fly under the radar here," she said.
That might prove difficult for the Lady Eagles this time around, as Galway returns a host of key contributors from a club that posted a winning record a season ago. Wilday's bunch includes seven returning varsity players, a group that senior guard Erica Chase -- a four-year varsity player -- highlights.
"I think we're going to be really, really good this year," said Chase. "We're big. I'm excited."
The Lady Eagles did lose several key contributors from a season ago, but junior forward Morgan Ritter said the club's foundation was still strong.
"We lost a lot, but at the same time, we didn't because we still have a lot here," she said. "We're still pretty deep. I think we're going to do awesome."
Galway figures to be one of three teams likely to compete for the WAC North title, as Canajoharie and Fort Plain -- the last two division champions -- will also be in the mix. Senior guard Felicia Snyder said the Lady Eagles' advantage is the continuity they possess after working out together in the offseason.
"We're pretty much picking up where we left off last year," said Snyder. "So, now, we're getting more technical and trying to make things better than they were."
The top task for the Lady Eagles this season is for the team's leaders to step up their scoring. Like usual, Wilday said her team's goal is to do its scoring "by committee," but the coach -- whose team opens next week with a tournament game against Fonda-Fultonville -- said it might need some more punch from certain players.
"That's our mantra, that's what we do, but each of the committee is going to have to score a little bit more," Wilday said.
"We're going to have to press a bit and run a little bit more because we don't have those kids we know will score from the outside," she added.
Early in the season, Wilday said it will be important for her team's seniors to adjust to their new role as the club's leaders. If the Lady Eagles are to contend for the league title, Wilday said Chase and the team's other returning impact players will have to be ready from the season's opening tip.
"These guys have not had the weight of the world on their shoulders yet," said Wilday. "But now it's on them."
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