Girls basketball season will be kicking off Friday for the Three Rivers Conference and Western Ohio Athletic Conference teams.
Here are season preview for area teams.
Danny Elam takes over as Bethel girls basketball coach, the Bees third coach in three yers.
The cupboard is full for Elam as the Bees were 20-3 a year ago and TRC co-champs with a 12-2 record.
Senior guard Karley Moore led the TRC in scoring (16.4 points per game) and steals (5.3 per game) a year ago, while pulling down 7.0 rebounds and dishing out 3.3 assists per game.
Senior post Kerigan Calhoun scored 11.3 points a year ago and grabbed 5.9 rebounds per game, while sophomore Maddie Montgomery grabbed 6.5 rebounds from her guard spot.
Also returning at the guard spots is Rhyan Reittinger and she will be joined by Annabelle Adams and Izzy Halleg.
Returning at the post will Emma Evans and she will be joined by Lauryn Lammers.
The Bees will run a motion offense, predominately through the seniors and play pressure defense to take advantage of their athleticism and length.
“We should be able to compete for a conference title,” Elam said.
Brandon Studebaker returns as Covington coach after the Buccs went 20-5 a year ago and shared the TRC title with a 12-2 record.
The Buccs must replace 1,000-point scorere Claudia Harrington and Claire Fraley in the starting lineup.
Returning starters are 5-10 junior Carlie Besecker, 6-foot sophomore Maggie Anderson and 5-9 junior Gracie Anderson.
Besecker averaged 11.4 points and 7.4 rebounds a year ago and Maggie Anderson averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds.
“Carlie (Besecker) and Maggie (Anderson) will be our inside presence, but are also versatile enough and step outside and play the guard position.
Gracie Anderson leads the guards, averaging 6.7 assists and 3.2 rebounds a year ago.
Also at the guard sports will be seniors Meg Rogers and Erika Gostomsky and freshman Avery Koffer and Delaney Murphy have the ability to bring the ball up the floor and score.
Covington will run an uptempo, free lance offense and man-to-man defense.
“We will look to defend our league title this season with the task being a more difficult,” Studebaker said. “I feel the league will be stronger than last year as most teams return a core group of girls who now have another year of experience who will give you their best shot every night.”
Chad Platfoot takes over as Lehman Catholic girls basketball coach.
The Lady Cavaliers were 8-14 a year ago.
Leading scorer in junior Mara O’Leary returns after averaging 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds a year ago.
Also returning inside are junior Taylor Geise and sophomore Layla Platfoot.
Geise will also see action at guard and sophomore Kailee Rank is a new addition to the team at the guard spot.
Lehman will run a motion offense to allow the Cavaliers athletes space to create and just play basketball.
Lehman will play mostly man defense, mixed in with zone. They will look to be aggressive and get out and run.
”We feel with our returning players and some of the newcomers we can challenge for a league title,” Platfoot said. “We know we are in a very competitive league so each game will be a challenge but we are looking forward to seeing how we stack up. I can’t wait for the season to get going.”
Kevin Evans takes over as Miami East coach.
The Vikings were 17-7 a year ago and 11-3 in the TRC.
Returning letterwinners include senior Sera Rush, juniors Maryn Gross, Abigail Kadel, Camryn Francis, McKayah Mussleman and Logan Phillips and sophomore Jacqueline Kadel.
“We feel our guard play will be a strength,” Evans said. “Maryn Gross, Jacqueline Kadel, Logan Phillips,Abigail Kadel and Sera Rush all are returning letter winners at guard. We will also benefit from guards Katie Paulus and Rachael Haak off of a very successful JV team who have improved from last season. We are excited to see how freshman Mara Fine develops as she could see some varsity playing time as well.”
He also feels good about his post players.
”We return McKayah Musselman in the post who had a really productive off-season improving her game,” Evans said. “Camryn Francis is also much improved from last season. Newcomer off the JV team will be senior Lauren Barnes.”
Miami East will run a 4-out, 1-in offense and will mix man defense with zone and trapping.
“Bethel and Covington are the favorites as defending league champs,” Evans said. “Covington returns much of their core and Bethel returns everybody from their league championship team. Both are very well coached but we hope to be in the mix as well. Competition in girls basketball in the league overall should be much improved this year.
“The girls have been working hard to try to learn some of the changes being made on both ends of the floor. We have a lot of skilled athletes who will be relied on for leadership and scoring.The really nice thing about this team is that they can all score in multiple different ways.Improvements on the offensive end along with consistency at the defensive end will determine our success this year. We likely won’t have a 25 point scorer but we could have multiple players average in double figures.”
Katie Roose returns as coach.
The Bulldogs were 8-14 a year ago and 5-9 in the TRC.
Returning at guard spots will be sophomore Jenna Brumbaugh, junior Ava Berberich and senior Kearsyn Robison.
They were the top three scorers a year ago.
Brumbaugh averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.3 assists a year ago.
“Jenna returns for her sophomore season and we are looking forward to her confidence continuing to grow with a year of varsity basketball under her belt,” Roose said. “She is quick off the dribble and has a nose for the ball on defense. Hoping for big things for Jenna this season.”
Berberich averaged 7.6 points, 3.4 steals and 3.2 assists a year ago.
“Ava really showed a lot of growth last season in terms of her ability to lead our team,” Roose said. “She is a good vocal leader, she sees the floor well, and sets the tone for us on defense.”
Robison averaged 9.0 points a year ago and gives the Bulldogs a scoring threat from the perimeter.
“Kearsyn can really be a sharp shooter for us,” Roose said. “She has worked hard to improve her defense. We are looking forward to a great senior season for her.”
In the post, junior Rachel Jacobs returns after missing all last season with an ACL injury, along with junior Shannon Brumbaugh and senior Annie Smith.
Brumbaugh averaged 6.9 points and 6.0 rebounds a year ago.
“Rachel missed her sophomore season due to an ACL injury,” Roose said. “Since returning, she has been fearless. She is a force to be reckoned with on the glass and is working hard to establish herself in the post offensively. Shannon is working to grow her confidence and ability to perform consistently for us. We are looking forward to her being strong on the glass and in the post this season.”
Smith bring a lot of energy to the floor.
“Annie is a senior who has a high motor,” Roose said. “She works tirelessly for us defensively and is able to knock down shots for us when given the opportunity. We love her spunk and look forward to her leadership in her final season.”
The Bulldogs will look to utilize their continuity offense and combine that will some set plays, while mixing things up on defense.
“I think defending co-champions of the conference in Bethel and Covington look to be favorites once again this year, along with Miami East,” Roose said. “We hope to put ourselves in a position to contend in the top tier of the conference as well.”
Tony Ferraro returns as Troy Christian coach.
The Eagles were 11-12 overall last season.
Junior Brooklyn Lavy (5-10) averaged 10.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.0 assists a year ago, while 5-10 junior Kathleen Johnson pulled down 5.0 rebounds a year ago.
Other key players this season will include 5-7 senior guard Hope Carroll, 5-5 sophomore Joecy Hill, 5-8 freshman Riley Orange and 5-5 freshman Karis Miller, Christian Brubaker and Reign Wilkins.
Josh Siedling takes over as Bradford coach.
The Railroaders were 16-9 overall and 6-5 in the WOAC a year ago.
Brooklyn Crickmore, a 6-foot-1 junior averaged 5.3 rebounds a year ago for the Railoaders.
Isabella Hamilton, a 5-7 senior, also returns.
Rounding out the roster are 5-5 senior Shayleigh Wick, 5-5 senior Cheyenne Buchanan, 5-7 senior Bella Brewer, 5-10 sophomore Avery Helman, 5-5 sophomore Daphne Lavey, 5-7 freshman Claire Hill and 5-7 freshman Ryleigh Dotson.
Ryan Fiely returns as Newton coach.
The Indians were 9-15 a year ago and 3-8 in the WOAC.
Guard Reese Hess averaged 9.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a year ago, while post players Mercedes Craig averaged 6.9 points and 7.0 rebounds and Layla VanCulin pulled down 5.5 rebounds.
Also at guard will be Emm Szakal and Brooke Hines and Arianna Vannus is a returning letterman.
Newton would like to run a fastbreak offense as much as possible but when in the half court willo run a Princeton-type offense.
The Indians will play man defense with some 1-3-1 half court as well.
The top of the conference will be tough once again with Tri-Village and Preble Shawnee,” Fiely said. “Mississinawa Valley will compete with those teams as well. When we play well we can play with anyone in our conference.“
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]