Shermans basketball coaching staff. During her 10 seasons leading the
Tanks, Unioto enjoyed a great run of success that included three trips
to the Division III final four. Now, more than a decade later, Driggs
returns to lead a Unioto team that is loaded with young talent.
“It’s exciting,” said Driggs on her return to Unioto. “It’s always fun to see kids enjoy basketball, and we are fortunate here at Unioto to have kids that have accepted what we want to achieve and they appreciate the tradition that has been established.”
Unioto’s youthful, talented nucleus is led by sophomore Chloe Cottrell. Cottrell stormed on the varsity season last year scoring over 20 points in each of her first two career games before suffering an injury that put the diaper dandy on the bench for much of the remaining season. Cottrell now returns as a sophomore healthy and ready to go and the super second-year player is only one of many talented youngsters that will wear the purple and gold for Coach Driggs.
Freshman Mackenzie Arledge has worked really hard in the weight room to prepare for the junior high to varsity jump. Arledge may be forced into the lineup a little quicker than expected due to an injury to Eliza Elliott. Elliot, who started for much of her freshmen season, is in jeopardy of losing her entire sophomore season due to an injury suffered during soccer this fall. Freshman Janae Driggs will also compete for some time at guard, but has been slowed early in the year with a foot injury.
“We have had some early injuries, but we are confident we have people to step-in and fill those roles,” said Driggs. “If we can stay healthy from here on out, I believe we have the potential to be a good team that improves throughout the year.”
A huge addition to the program comes from Chillicothe move-in Cheyenne Ray. Ray will run the point for the purple and gold this season, and her athletic ability brings a lot of versatility to the Unioto lineup. Ray and Cottrell on the perimeter at the same time make for extremely tough match ups in terms of keeping the ball in front. Ray also gives the Lady Shermans an athletic perimeter defender which helps replace the loss of Jacque Whittle to graduation.
Taylor Karshner and Taylor Corcoran are two juniors that will give Unioto great depth, and even though the talented underclassmen get a lot of attention, Unioto has a pair of seniors in Janelle Hougland and Savannah Fouty that have varsity experience and are proven contributors. Hougland is a versatile player that can score the basketball both inside and out, while Fouty is a strong kid that has played several varsity minutes in the post; however, will be asked this year to play a little bit more out on the wing.
Unioto’s schedule will present quite a challenge for a young Lady Shermans squad. The Scioto Valley Conference will make for tough conference games as defending champion Adena returns several key players and Huntington returns two-time POY in Lydia Bridenbaugh. Add this to non-league opponents that includes road trips to North Adams, Greenfield McClain, and Washington Court House as well as home games with Logan Elm, Waverly, and Teays Valley (Unioto’s season opener), and the Shermans should be well-prepared for the Division II tournament.
“The SVC is a great league,” said Driggs. “The league has great coaches, and you must be ready to play every night out if you hope to be in the race. I feel like we have the potential to be a part of the top three and compete for the top spot, but it is going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of players playing a role for us to reach that potential.”