Windham’s Elizabeth Levesque and Bangor’s Emmie Streams go after a loose ball during first half action of the girls Class AA North quarterfinal game at Bangor High School on February 16, 2022. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

When junior forward-center Mimi Quinn and junior guard Lily Chandler decided not to play for the Bangor High School girls basketball team this season, fourth-year head coach Jay Kemble had to alter his game plan.

“Mimi is a tremendous passer. So we went to a high-low game with her out there. Now we’re going to spread it out. We will have four out [of the paint] and one in,” Kemble said. “That will force defenses to have to guard our ability to handle the ball and our quickness.”

Six-footer Quinn and her six-foot senior sister Abbie were in the paint last season and could either take the ball to the basket or kick it out to the perimeter shooters.

This season, Abbie Quinn will be the lone player in the post and the senior-laden Rams will have four guards on the court with her.

The new look will play to the Bangor girls basketball team’s strength: its speed. Bangor, 13-7 a year ago, including a 42-31 win over Windham in the Class AA quarterfinals and a 50-45 loss to Oxford Hills of South Paris, will open the season against defending state champ Cheverus of Portland at the Red Barry Gym in Bangor at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

“We are definitely a faster team. We work hard to get up and down the court,” said Abbie Quinn, an All-Maine honorable mention. “We’re continually progressing.”

Kemble called this year’s roster the “quickest team” he’s had during his head coaching tenure at Bangor, adding that the Rams also have five freshmen and sophomores who are athletic and coachable.

“They understand what it is we’re trying to do and we’re catching them up to the pace the seniors are playing at,” Kemble said.

Emmie Streams, a Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl second teamer last season, added that the team is closer this year and work really well together, even the young players.

“It is going to be a little different without [Mimi Quinn and Chandler], but we have people who can definitely fill their roles,” Streams said, adding that the team has nice depth.

During regular season play, the University of Maine-bound Streams averaged a Class AA North-leading 4.3 assists per game to go with 2.6 steals and 9.6 points.

The speedy and relentless Streams was chosen the AA North Defensive Player of the Year.

Quinn averaged 13 points, 9.3 rebounds and a blocked shot.

“Abbie has really expanded her shooting range. She is confident in her ability to shoot from 15 feet in and I have confidence in her taking a three-pointer,” Kemble said. “Any time you have a real talented point guard and a really talented big, you have a chance to be really successful. One can get down the court and penetrate and the other can dominate from the foul line in.”

Quinn said she has worked at developing her shooting range and Streams intends to take more shots when she’s open and be more of a leader.

Vastly improved Cassidy Ireland, a good all-around guard, and guard Taylor Coombs will be the other senior starters. Coombs started last season.

“Cassidy had a tremendous summer. She got stronger and quicker,” Kemble said. “Taylor is extremely athletic. She is 5-foot-10 and is a tremendous leaper. She can get rebounds. She has expanded her game. She hit three 3-pointers in our exhibition games and is more comfortable handling the ball.”

Sophomore Ayzlynn Gifford will be the other starter and is “extremely quick and a good ball-handler” in the mold of Streams, according to Kemble.

Senior Lilly Rice is a solid rebounding big who saw significant minutes off the bench. The other senior on the team, Carmen Maddix, is a guard who can score and handle the ball, Kemble said.

Kemble has two “really athletic” sophomores in Emily Adams and Teaghan Atherley, who are expected to contribute off the bench. He also has two quality freshmen who have large upsides in Delaney Horr and Avery Clark.

“They don’t play like freshmen. They have really good toughness,” Kemble said.

Bangor will continue to play suffocating team defense. The Rams allowed just 32 points per game in their 20 games a year ago.

“That has to be a staple. We need to use our quickness to our advantage,” said Kemble, whose team will be putting a lot of defensive pressure on its opponents.

Streams and Quinn both said the Rams are capable of making a deep playoff run this season.