Girl's Basketball Preview
November 17, 2010Aiken High School
By Tony Meale
In the last two years, the Mount Healthy High School girls' basketball team has gone 26-16 - including 17-3 in the Fort Ancient Valley Conference - and won back-to-back league titles.
Luckily for the Lady Owls, all the pieces are in place to make it three conference crowns in a row.
Mount Healthy returns three starters, including senior forward Jonessa Moore, who last year led the FAVC-Scarlet in points (14.6) and blocks (1.8) and finished third in rebounds (10.1).
Moore is a three-star recruit according to ESPN.com.
Seniors Tracey Wallace (F) and SaCoya Ellery (G) also return following fine junior campaigns.
Wallace led the Buckeye with 13.4 rebounds per game, while Ellery finished second in assists (3.9). Both averaged more than seven points per game.
Other top returners include senior Quisia Dockery and sophomore Chelsey Borden.
The Owls will be coached by Jim Pugh, who has more than 25 years of coaching experience.
Pugh replaces Kevin Grant, who resigned for undisclosed reasons in February.
"(I like the) experience of our returning starters, (our) team chemistry (and our) team intelligence," Pugh said.
Mount Healthy, which has recorded three consecutive winning seasons, is now a member of the FAVC-East, which added Harrison and Winton Woods to the former Scarlet division.
The Lady Owls open the season with a tough road test Nov. 30 against Colerain, which returns four starters from a team that last year finished second in the Greater Miami Conference.
Mount Healthy returns home for a game against Fenwick Dec. 2 before hitting its conference schedule. The Lady Owls play against Northwest (Dec. 4), at Edgewood (Dec. and against Winton Woods (Dec. 11).
Other girls basketball teams in the Hilltop Press area include:
Head coach Angela Harris returns three starters - Eshira Gooden, Sheyante Robinson and Cheyenne Gray - from a team that went 9-11 overall and 6-6 in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference last season.
Newcomers include Kady Fall, Venitra Premise and Reynisha Murdock.
"This season we start off with a promising group of young ladies who have committed themselves to improvement over the summer months," Harris said. "I expect us to finish first in the CMAC and to make some gains in tournament play. We are a well balanced team whose success depends a lot on the success of our defensive philosophy."
Aiken lost 40-32 to Ross in the first round of the playoffs last year.
The Lady Wildcats return three starters from a squad that finished 15-7 last year, including 10-4 in the Cincinnati Hills League.
Leading Finneytown is second-team, all-league performer Lela Colvin, who last year led the team in points (10.0) and steals (4.5).
The Wildcats return three of their top four scorers, including junior center Inez Stewart (8.8 points and 9.3 rebounds) and sophomore forward Tamara Mayes (8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds). Stewart and Mayes also finished first and second, respectively, on the team in rebounds.
Also returning are junior guards Ashley Davis and Chelsea Williams.
"We will be competitive with three returning starters along with our supporting case," Finneytown head coach Donald Crawford said.
The Lady Wildcats went 1-1 in the playoffs last year, beating Bethel-Tate and losing to league-rival Wyoming.
The McAuley basketball team went 13-9 a year ago and the Mohawks return some quality players.
McAuley returns NKU-commit Kaitlyn Gerrety, the team's leading rebounder in 2009-2010 with 8.1 boards per game.
Leading scorer Jenny Burgoyne is back in the mix, as she led McAuley with 11.7 points per game last season and the leading scorer from two years ago, Malia Hess, is also back. Hess missed much of the 2009-2010 season due to injury, but averaged nearly 10 points per game through six games. Melissa Sherpenberg and Becca Jones are two more players to watch
Head coach Andrew Schroer said he likes the experience his team has.
"We return some very strong players with big-game experience and we have quickness and speed coming up from the younger levels that we haven't been able to utilize in a couple years," he said. "If we can reduce the number of turnovers this year, we will find ourselves in a better position to win games."
North College Hill
The Lady Trojans went 3-15 overall last season and 1-8 in the Miami Valley Conference.
The Lady Spartans struggled to a 4-18 finish last season, including 0-10 in the Girls' Greater Cincinnati League Grey Central division.
Second-year head coach Tod Schachleiter floors a small yet fast squad led by senior forward Malika Ashe, who was second on the team last year in points (7.5), steals (1.6) and blocks (1.2).
Other top players include juniors Kara Vetere, Chelsea Welsch and Dennyce Smith, as well as senior Megan Hanson.
Also in the mix are seniors Brittany Bollmer, Jeanna Graham and Dominique Jordan; junior Markisha Rainey; and sophomores Molly Wolterman and Zhane Bromfield.
The Lady Spartans last won a league title in 1994-95.
The Winton Woods lady Warriors will look to compete for an FAVC championship and rebound from a 3-18 season in 2009-2010.
Head coach Calvin Johnson said it will be difficult with the realignment of the FAVC as Winton Woods will have to contend with Harrison, Mt. Healthy and Ross.
The Warriors will be led by Shaq Stokes, who recently signed with St. Louis. Stokes missed the 2009-2010 season due to an ACL injury but she did average 7.8 points per game as a sophomore. Chanel Stokes, her younger sister, was an all-FAVC performer at point guard last season and led the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game.
Peyton Harris and freshman Immani Partlow will compete for a starting position at center and two sophomores, Taylor Johnson and Dominique Harper, are much improved, according to Johnson.
Tyra James will be a key incoming freshman with a lot of talent and Johnson said the will be the leadership from the two seniors, Shaqeia Stokes and Racquel Phillips.