Originally posted on www.seacoastonline.com by Jay Pinsonnault
Chloe Smedley grew up in Eliot and attended schools in the Marshwood school system. She started playing basketball in the fourth grade and then got involved in AAU basketball, playing for the New England Renegades.
It is with the Renegades that she got to know and play with Shannon Todd, Erin McCafferty and Emma Thompson.
The girls would be teammates for the Renegades, but Smedley and her Marshwood Middle School team had little success against York in regular season play.
So, when the opportunity to move came up in the summer prior to her freshman year in high school, Smedley suggested to her mother that they move to York.
Smedley's mother liked the idea of living near the ocean, while her younger sister, Riley, originally balked at the idea, but eventually came around and the family made the 10-mile move from Eliot to York.
Smedley was now on the same high school team as her Renegade teammates.
"I like being their teammates a lot more than playing against them," Smedley said. "They were a great middle school team, we could never beat them."
Smedley had a solid freshman season and had a team-high 13 points in York's 47-39 win over Cape Elizabeth in last year's Western Maine Class B quarterfinal game at the Portland Expo.
She averaged 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds a game, and was the leading free throw shooter in Western Maine Class B last year.
"I think she (Smedley) surprised some people out there last year, but she didn't surprise me," York coach Rick Clark said. "Now, they know about her. She's not going to get away with that stuff this year; teams will be all over her."
There was no letdown for the sophomore in Friday's season opener against Falmouth as she scored a career-high 22 points in York' 57-45 win.
Smedley had eight baskets in the paint and went 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.
"I really didn't know I would do that well," Smedley said. "I thought we would move around a lot, get comfortable with each other on the floor since it was the first game. I guess I ended up in the right place at the right time."
Junior Paige McElwain added 10 points for the Wildcats, while sophomore Mia Briggs had eight.
"I don't know if I was surprised, but there were some moments where we looked brilliant and other moments where we didn't look too good," Clark said. "We started out like gangbusters and in the second half, the girls pretty much did what I wanted them to do."
The Wildcats played without Shannon Todd, who is out for the start of the season due to mononucleosis.
"Right now we have to work with what we have," Smedley said. "We're still a strong team without Shannon, but once Shannon gets back we'll be really strong."
Smedley believes the Wildcats are in for a solid season.
"We have a great group of girls and I think we'll do well," Smedley said. "We have great chemistry and we're all great friends. Mia (Briggs) has worked really hard and improved a lot since last season and Suzanne (Donovan) is a great outside shooter."
The Wildcats were scheduled to face Wells on Tuesday. Results were not available at press time. Wells opened its season last Friday with a 45-32 win at Cape Elizabeth.
York will then play its home opener on Friday against Tiana-Jo Carter and Lake Region. Carter led the Lakers with 14 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots in last year's 50-24 win over York in the Western Maine Class B championship game.
"We're going to play our hardest," Smedley said. "They are the only team we lost to last year and we're going to prepare for them."
Smedley expects to defend Carter at some point during Friday's game.
"I played in a fall league against two 6-footers and I feel I've gotten stronger," Smedley said. "I think you have to see how someone plays before you know how to defend her. I am going to try to front her a little bit, try to push her a little, get her uneasy, see what she does and go from there."
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