The future isn’t now — yet

  • Newport’s Skylar Nelson looks for a teammate to pass to after catching a rebound during a game against Mascenic Regional High School at Towle Elementary School in Newport, N.H., on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Newport won, 43-28. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news / report for america photographs — Alex Driehaus

  • Newport’s Maddox Lovely shoots the ball during a game against Mascenic Regional High School at Towle Elementary School in Newport, N.H., on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Newport won, 43-28. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

  • Newport’s Taylor Fellows dribbles down the court during a game against Mascenic Regional High School at Towle Elementary School in Newport, N.H., on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Newport won, 43-28. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

  • Newport head coach Ross Dole talks to his players during a game against Mascenic Regional High School at Towle Elementary School in Newport, N.H., on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Newport won, 43-28. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/19/2022 7:17:45 PM
Modified: 1/19/2022 7:16:41 PM

NEWPORT — Riely Skarin knew a special group could be on the horizon.

As the senior captain of the Newport High girls basketball team, Skarin communicates frequently with head coach Ross Dole about building the program. The Tigers have not had a winning record or a playoff victory in Dole’s tenure — the last time they did both was in 2016, the year before he arrived.

But with three freshmen starting this season, Newport has a core of Taylor Fellows, Maddox Lovely and Skylar Nelson to build around for the next three years.

“We could see this coming for a while,” Dole said. “Obviously, it all had to fall into place. They play the right way; they play hard. It’s tough as a freshman playing varsity basketball because you’re playing older girls, so as a coach I needed to see if they were going to be able to handle that. They have been.”

Fellows leads the Tigers (3-5) in scoring with 10.8 points per game. She has Newport’s two highest single-game point totals of the season, scoring 19 in a win over Hillsboro-Deering on Jan. 6 and matching that number in Tuesday night’s victory against Mascenic.

Her full skill set was on display against the Vikings. She showcased her ability to score in the paint and from outside, made smart, accurate passes and anticipated where the ball would go on defense.

“She is so special,” Skarin said. “She’s a huge asset to the team, and I’m sad I won’t be able to play with her in the future, but I know she’ll fill my void quickly. There’s never a ball she’s not diving for. She plays so hard, and that’s what we all need.”

Lovely has also found her way into the starting lineup and is third on the team with 8.3 points per game. She’s been in double figures twice, with 10 points against Hillsboro-Deering and 11 in a loss to Kearsarge on Jan. 10.

Dole said Lovely likes to drive to the basket, and her next step is to develop her midrange and three-point shots so that her drives will become more open.

“She did all the right things (Tuesday),” Dole said. “The ball wouldn’t go in for her, but I told her you can’t always go by results. She’s working on everything we’re trying to get her to do.”

Nelson dealt with foul trouble Tuesday and scored just three points, but she too has had a pair of double-digit scoring outputs. Nelson had 10 point in the Tigers’ first win against Inter Lakes on Dec. 17 and 12 in the victory over Hillsboro-Deering.

Nelson said the three freshmen are close off the court and play other sports together as well — Lovely and Fellows were both on the varsity field hockey team in the fall, while Nelson played varsity soccer.

“I work very well with them,” Nelson said. “Getting trust on the court is hard, but we’re getting there, and it’s easier once we understand each other more. If we work like we do and keep going as a team then, our senior year, we’re going to be a great team.”

The freshman trio is usually joined by a sophomore starter, Tanya Sanchez, who did not play Tuesday. That will presumably give Newport four three-year starters two seasons from now, and Dole said his goal is for that group to make it to a final four.

Skarin won’t be around then, but she hopes her impact still will. A four-year varsity player herself, Skarin said she did not have much in the way of senior leadership to rely on during her freshman year, so she wants the current freshman to feel the support from older teammates that she never received.

“We’re creating such a family within the team,” Skarin said. “I hope they think of me like a big sister, because I think of them as my littles. I’m here with them every night after practice rebounding for them, doing one-on-one stuff with them. They trust me, which is a big thing for me.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com.




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