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Eagles looking to extend postseason streak to 8

Ed Marvell didn’t have to travel too far to his new job this winter.

Marvell is the new varsity girls’ basketball coach at Franklin County Technical School, which opens its season today at 3:30 p.m. against Greenfield High School in the first game of the two-day, Eagles Holiday Classic on their home court.

Marvell makes the short trip over from Turners Falls High School, where he served as junior varsity coach last season and has been an assistant coach for the past five years. He’s also been an assistant on the Turners Falls softball team since 2004.

Marvell takes over an Eagles team that is among the best in the Tri-County League every season. The Eagles are on a seven-year tournament qualifying streak. The last time Franklin Tech missed the tournament was in 2004-05.

The streak is even more impressive when you consider that the Eagles have undergone a coaching change in four of the past five seasons, something that Marvell said is not easy to do.

“Everything is new to them,” he explained. “They are trying to learn another system — trying to blend what I am looking to do. But they are blending together as a unit and we are itching to go.”

The biggest issue the team faces as it begins this season is to replace the scoring lost by the graduation of Nikki Vatalaro, who accounted for roughly 40 percent of the team’s offense last season with a 16 points-per-game average as the Eagles went 12-9 and lost to Gateway Regional High School in the Western Mass Division III tournament.

Marvell has some talented holdovers from that squad and he said that he will rely on team quickness and a willingness to shoot in order to make up the scoring.

“We are encouraging the girls to take good quality shots,” he explained. “There is never a penalty for taking a shot, no matter who it is. It doesn’t have to be all one person doing the scoring.”

Junior forward Brooke Meuse is the tallest player on the team and was the second-leading scorer a year ago when she averaged over 7 points per game. She will be joined up front by senior Megan Aldrich, who scored nearly 4 points per game last season but should see that number increase this year.

Senior guard Jasmine Farr-Marcum also has the ability to create her own shot and averaged over 6 points per game last season. She is part of a three-guard set that also features junior Alyssa Andrews and freshman newcomer Brittany Andrews. Senior Haylee Keene and junior Clarissa Hutchinson serve as reserve guards.

Juniors Jaime Judge, Nicole Miller and Melissa Vatalaro are all reserve forwards.

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