TOWNSEND — When looking at the North Middlesex girls basketball team, one might see a puzzle with a lot of different pieces. It will be veteran coach Pat Murphy’s job to figure out what fits best to create the right mix. Finding the best combinations from game to game could lead the Lady Patriots back to the Districts for the first time in four years.

“We have a good amount of talent, but there is no set formula with this team,” said Murphy. “There are no set line-ups and we will do a lot of mixing and matching depending on situations. The key is putting girls in the right situations. If we can do that, I think we can be successful.”

Leading the way will be four seniors captains – Justine Chenelle, Raven Grinstein, Jess Thonis and Emily Durette.

“Justin is a guard/forward with a solid inside game plus a good jumper,” said Murphy. “We are looking for her to pick up the scoring slack left by the graduation of Kelly Donovan. Raven is an undersized power forward who plays bigger than her height. She does everything well and she has improved her shooting. Jess will be our shooting guard and has excellent range. Her speed has improved and she has had an excellent pre-season. Emily will be our point guard, but will also play some wing. She can get to the hoop, she has a strong set shot and her court vision is improving every day.”

The roster contains eight juniors, led by returnees Ally Watkins, Laura Pelletier, Jenn Kirk and Sarah Lieneck.

“Ally is a tough, physical player and a solid rebounder,” said Murphy. “She can go both left and right in the post offensively, and she provides solid defense near the hoop. Laura will play both forward slots and is a strong defender. Offensively, she can get to the basket and her shot is improving. Jenn came on strongly at the end of last season and that has carried over to this season. She works hard and is really improving her total offensive game. Sarah is a fast point guard who can get to the hoop. She had a nice summer and is continuing to get better every day.”

Shelby Aminti, Kelcey Murphy, Meghan Cameron and Maddy Ledoux are the four juniors new to the team.

“Shelby is a strong, physical forward who has the quickness to defend any of the frontcourt spots,” said Murphy. “She is coming off an outstanding soccer season and that confidence has carried over. Kelcey is a forward/center with good size and solid athleticism. She has a good offensive game in the post and she is improving her jumper. Meghan is a 6-foot center who is a presence around the basket. She has worked hard on her foot speed and her all-around game is improving. Maddy is an excellent shooter with three-point range. I am looking for her to be an offensive spark off the bench.”

Sophomores Hayley Lynch, Emma Delaney and Mackenzie Sharp round out the roster and they will be given a chance to contribute immediately.

“Hayley is a fast guard who brings intensity to the defensive end of the court,” said Murphy. “She will get a good share of minutes. Emma is a quick point guard who can get to the basket, and she is putting in a lot of work on her game. Mackenzie is an aggressive forward with good size, and she does a solid job off the boards.”

What are the goals for the season?

“The challenge is to get to the District Tournament and see what happens,” said Murphy. “I really think we have a shot if things work out. We have to win the games we are supposed to and sneak a couple of wins from the toss-up games. With our schedule, there are no chances to take a night off. I like this group of girls and I think we have a chance to surprise some people.”