Another year with a roster full of talent and another promising start. But this time, West Haven vows there won’t be a late-season meltdown.

The Westies lost nine of their final 10 games last year and failed to qualify for the state tournament for the third straight time. Coach Jim Eagan said it was his most disappointing season in his 33 years.

“We’ve learned from that,” Eagan said firmly.

West Haven enters 2012 with a 6-1 mark. Its only loss is to Mercy, the state’s sixth-ranked team, in which the Westies held a lead with 3 minutes to play.

“I usually go into the locker room at halftime (when we play Mercy) and tell them play the second half for pride, it’s 0-0,” Eagan said. “I told them I didn’t want to give that speech tonight. We proved we could play with a team like that. It’s a game we could’ve won.”

The Westies are very athletic and have good size. Junior guard Jayva Johnson is averaging 18.2 points per game and has emerged as one of the top players in the Southern Connecticut Conference. Senior forward McKenzie Farquharson, a Register All-Area pick last season, is having a solid year and is putting up 15.2 points per game.

Senior Rae Matteway has given the Westies consistency at the point guard spot, and 6-foot-3 center Gabby DeSisto (transferred from Hamden) has been a big addition inside.

If West Haven continues to play up to its potential, it should win around 15 games.

BAILEY HAVING SOLID SEASON

Cheshire may have lost both its games at the Plainville Holiday Tournament last week, but Rams point guard Missy Bailey continued what has been a strong sophomore season.

Bailey scored a game-high 16 points in a 44-38 loss to Plainville and followed with a game-high 18 points in a 47-42 loss to Trinity Catholic in the consolation game. She is averaging 15.7 points per game.

Bailey is a quick and physical point guard with a good stroke from the perimeter. Rams coach Sarah Mik said she flew under the radar last year. Bailey quietly had an impressive freshman campaign, averaging 10 points per game and earning All-SCC Housatonic Division honors. Despite teams taking notice now, she hasn’t slowed down.

“She understands how to play with teams pressuring and keying on her. It’s nice to see her take the team on her back. You would never know she’s a sophomore.”

ROSEBORO OUT FOR YEAR

Career has a handful of talented guards, which was on display in the Panthers 60-52 overtime win Thursday over Hillhouse.

That didn’t include would-be starting point guard Alivia Roseboro. Roseboro, a junior, was on the bench with a knee brace. She tore her ACL during a scrimmage in the preseason and will miss the year.

“She would’ve been our defensive catalyst,” Panthers coach Kevin Walton said. “She gives us another ball handler and some experience. We’ll definitely miss her.”

LOOKING AHEAD

A quick note for next season: Naomi Van Nes, remember the name.

She’s a 6-foot-6 eighth-grader at Hamden Hall and is on track to play for coach Meg Borelli and the Hornets next season. Van Nes and high-scoring sophomore Rachel Plotke should give Hamden Hall a dangerous inside-outside combination. Van Nes is the younger sister of Fairfield 7-foot freshman Vincent Van Nes.

Chris Hunn can be reached at chunn@nhregister.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Hunn. To receive breaking news first, simply text the word nhsports to 22700. *Msg & Data Rates May Apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.