OGBR Division II Girls Basketball Preview: Alter-Hathaway Brown IV?

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The Ohio Girls Basketball Report and JJHuddle Division II Preview.

Hathaway brown has made the last four state championship games and captured the last two state titles. Can the Blazer make it five straight? And if they do will they face Kettering Alter on the final weekend for the fourth straight time? Who are the other challengers? Here’s what you need to know…


2010
– 2011 Preview & Prognostications: Ohio High School Girls
Basketball

Ohio Girls Basketball Report started 13 years ago has become over
the last 10 years the #1 single-state scouting service in America.
Currently there are 208 colleges across America that subscribe to Ohio
Girls Basketball Report and rely on the information provided by Tom
Jenkins and his staff in evaluating players from Ohio. Tom has over 45
years of playing, coaching and evaluating experience associated with the
game of basketball. He is devoted solely to the promotion of the game
of Ohio girls basketball through his publication, Ohio Girls Basketball
Report and the promotion of the players of the game through his
services.

Collaborating on this year’s 2010-2011 Preview & Prognostications 
is Bryce McKey, Associate Head Coach at Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown
School and Head Coach of Sports City U, ESPN’s #8 ranked travel team in
the country this past year. Coach McKey is credited in getting HB “over
the hump” in winning their 2nd consecutive state championships in 2009
and 2010. A disciple of the legendary coach Perry Reese, Jr., Coach
McKey at age 24 has been a member of the OGBR staff for the last 5
years.

PREVIEW
VITALS

It seems as though every 6 or 7 years a chapter ends and a new chapter
begins in Ohio girls high school basketball.

A new chapter began in ’96 as interest in the game of girls/women’s
basketball was re-ignited by way of the US Olympic team, in Ohio Regina
reeled off 4 consecutive state championships and then this chapter
culminated with Ohio’s record breaking class of 2003 signing 103 NCAA
D-I scholarships, solidifying our state as one of the 3 national hotbeds
of girls basketball.

The next chapter began in 2004 as Mt. Notre Dame furthered Ohio’s
position as a national hotbed with their run winning 5 state
championships over a 6 year period including 4 in a row and this chapter
concluded prior to the beginning of this season with the dismantling of
the Mt. Notre Dame program, the closing of the doors at Regina, some
schools not even being able to field a team, transfers galore and more
coaching changes than you can shake a stick at.

Thank goodness given the ending of the last chapter, this season is time
for a new chapter in the book of Ohio girls high school basketball to
began. My good friend Eric Frantz here at JJ Huddle / Ohio High Magazine
has asked me to write a statewide all-division inclusive preview for
this upcoming season…so the following is as Bob Seger and The Silver
Bullet Band once sang “is like working on a mystery without any
clues”…here goes…out of 798 high school basketball programs…

PREVIEW
SCHEDULE

Nov. 15: Division IV Preview

Nov. 16: Division III Preview

Nov. 17: Division II Preview
Nov. 18: Division I Preview
Nov. 22: Division IV Preseason Power Poll
Nov. 23: Division III Preseason Power Poll
Nov. 24: Division II Preseason Power Poll
Nov. 25: Division I Preseason Power Poll

Division II Previews

D-II
Barberton Region (NE Ohio)

Note: Schools on the west side of Cleveland go through the Ontario
Region and will be discussed in that region’s section.

Favorite(s):
Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown School

Although
Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown lost three Division I players to
graduation from their state championship team, they have reloaded for
what should be a fifth consecutive berth to the final four.  The Blazers
are talented on the wings with sophomores Vanessa Smith and Nia
Marshall leading the way.  The Blazers also have veteran senior
leadership from guards Tanisha Lawler, Alanna Guy and posts Molly Crosby
(Loyola Chicago) and Sarah Poland (Cornell) who have played key roles
in the last two state championship runs.  Although this team may not be
as deep as in years past, Coach Paul Barlow hopes this team can help
Paul to Paul’s 4th state championship in three years (Coach Barlow is
also the head golf coach at Hathaway Brown, winning the 2010 state
title).  

Challenger(s):
None

Outside Looking In:
Akron St. Vincent / St Mary’s, Akron Archbishop
Hoban, Mentor Lake Catholic & Cleveland JFK

To make a
tournament run you have to have talent, stay healthy and have a little
luck along the way.  Good thing for Akron St. Vincent. St. Mary that
they have the luck of the Irish on their side!  St. Vincent. St. Mary,
led by Akron native, Joe Jakubic will look to build on the school’s
strong tradition in women’s basketball, as the program won state
championships in 1980, 1981 and 1995.  Coach Jakubic has veteran
leadership from senior guards Maria Arnone and Jackie Murray, as well as
one of the top freshmen classes in the area including guards Shannon
Jack and Kiley May.  The Irish will need less luck as they gain more
experience.  Get used to seeing the green in gold in the regional
tournament.    

Competing with the Irish of St. Vincent St. Mary to get to the regional
from the Massillon district is cross-town rival, Akron Archbishop

Hoban,
led by head coach Tracy Miller.  The Knights are led by senior post
Emily Orsini, junior guard Janaya Feaster and sophomore point guard
Allie Griffith.  Last year’s Hoban team went 17-6 and the Knights are
hungry and looking for more.

Expect to see Mentor Lake Catholic reappear in Barberton, representing
the Andover District.  Lake Catholic is lead by senior post player
Colette Hounshell who is back this year after sitting out all of last
year due to an ACL injury.  Running the point for Coach Frank Soria will
be senior Paige Rowan.  Don’t be fooled by their record…Lake Catholic
plays a difficult schedule to prepare them for whatever they may see in
tournament play.

If Eastern Michigan signee Amber Bogard dons the colors of JFK, look for
Coach Leonard Patterson’s Fighting Eagles to take a swipe at everyone
in this region…Hathaway Brown Blazers included.

D-II
Springfield Region (SW Ohio / part of Central OH)

Favorite(s): Dayton Carroll Patriots

The
Southwest Ohio regional is going to be an absolute war.  In this war,
there are a wide array of armies and weapons.  There are Patriots,
Knights, Eagles, Devils, Braves and Cougars. The Dayton Carroll Patriots
bring the heavy artillery with a great balance of talent, depth and
experience.  Carroll, my pre-season #1 in D-II, have as good of inside
outside personnel in the state with top tier guard prospect Kelly
Austria (jr) who can really light it up with mortars from the deep “3”
zone.  Protecting the inside of the castle are a pair of seniors in  6’6
Cierra Triplett (Wright State) and banger Cameron Vaughn. Add the
senior leadership of Molly McGloin and a talented trio of sophomores in
Ciara Poppa, Susan Wollenhaupt and Lindsey Blanford, the Pats could have
a very special year…beefing up their schedule, playing strong
southwest teams and traveling to play teams such as Lake Ridge Academy
(the artist formerly known as Regina) will help prepare for their raid
on Columbus… if they survive the SW war zone.

Challenger(s):
Kettering Alter Knights, Indian Hill Braves &
Tipp City Tippecanoe Red Devils

The Kettering Alter Knights won’t back down from any enemy and always
seem to find a way to conquer and end up back at the Schott come Marc.
Alter returns 3 starters and 5 of their top 7 from last year’s state
runner-up team in three point threat Courtney Christie (sr), Whitney
Dabbelt (sr Walsh), Kaila Howe (sr), Alison Bockrath (jr) and Kelly
Westerkamp (sr).  The big question this year is if Megan Courtney will
continue to play for the Knights, after she recently committed to
national volleyball powerhouse Penn State University.  If she is on the
court, don’t get down on the Knights early, as it will take them awhile
to get Courtney back in the shape for battle.  The Knights will be
marching… but how far they march depends deeply on the status of Megan
Courtney.

From the streets of Cincinnati’s affluent suburb, Indian Hill, comes the
most decorated general in the southwest, Coach Scott Rogers (the
architect of Mount Notre Dame’s rise to a national powerhouse) and a
talented core of upperclassmen.  The Braves’ offensive attack is led by
point guard Nicole Bell (jr) who is a legitimate threat from long
distance and is the little general on the field of battle.  As expected
with a Scott Rogrs’ guard oriented attack the Braves are guard heavy
with Katie Marksberry (sr), Kelsey Mathews (sr), and Natalie Newton
rounding out their attack.  Expect Coach Rogers to have his troops ready
to make their last stand of the year deep into March.

To attack Patriots, Knights and Indians you need something that will
stick and is sharp.  Coach Todd Varvell from Tipp City Tippecanoe is
pretty happy in that case that he has a couple of top players returning
in Breanna Stucke (sr Wright State) and Elise Sharpe (jr).  The Devils
will get more help with experienced post play of senior Amanda Calhoun,
the transfer Morgan Miller from Miami East to Tipp City along with the
emergence of sophomore Erica Comer.  The Red Devils have enough
ammunition on offense, but will need more solid defensive strategy to
stay on the battlefield with other southwest powers.

Outside Looking In:
Dayton Chaminade Julienne Eagles, Springfield
Kenton Ridge Cougars, Bellbrook Golden Eagles & Columbus East Tigers

As
other teams bring their methodical ground attacks, the Eagles of Dayton
Chaminade Julienne will be attacking with speed and depth as they take
advantage of their strong, young guard core. Coach Duane Williams’
Eagles don’t have the big name players you may be used to hearing in
their lineup, but come first of the year Emily Michael (jr), Raytea Long
(jr), Simone Gage (jr) and Krista White (soph) will be household names.
These Eagles will be flying high and going for the kill as they gain
more experience.  Don’t count these Eagles out, for if you do… they’ll
be flying by you on their way to a nice tournament run.

Last but not least is the talented offensive attack from Springfield
Kenton Ridge, led by Colonel Ed Foulk and Sargent Major Terry Toliver. 
The Cougars don’t lack in talent, with top tier prospect Mariah Harris
(jr) and Lindsey Fenwick (jr) leading the way, but have not been able to
put it all together come March.  The Cougars will miss the inside
presence of Alaina Lassiter who’s time was up for the Cougars and asked
to be transferred to Columbus East for a new assignment.  Expect to see
Kenton Ridge play more of an up-tempo style if they want to wait a
little longer to hold up the white flag this year in the tournament.

A year away from being a serious challenger are the Bellbrook Golden
Eagles as they are expected to start 2 juniors (Leisha Crawford &
Shelby Sigman) along with 3 sophomores in Erin Dorn, Gabrielle Etter and
Kelly Neuman.  

6’4 Angel Cooler and 6’0 transfer from Kenton Ridge give the Tigers from
Columbus East as solid an inside game in D-II in the state… often
quoted by Hubie, “post players get you to the tournament (play-offs),
guards advance you”…no matter what the level, no matter what the
gender…that is the question mark for East…who’s gonna step up in the
backcourt?

D-II
Ontario Region (NW Ohio/West Cleveland)

Favorite(s): Sandusky Perkins Pirates

When you think of Sandusky, Ohio…you think of Cedar Point.  Coach Ray
Neill will look to take his team on a ride to remember this year.  Look
for the Pirates of Sandusky Perkins to be steadier in the water this
year as they look to get back to the final four for the first time since
2006.  Coach Neill’s squad is young but powerful and will look to
collect gold as they move from sectional, to district, to regional and
beyond.  Many believe pirates don’t exist in the world anymore.  Those
people haven’t been to Sandusky…those people have not heard of Jordan
Fraley (jr), Shannon Ebert (soph), Darcy Daniel (soph) & Chelsea Smith (soph).

Challenger(s): Lima Bath Wildkittens & Walsh Jesuit Warriors

Expect to see familiar regional face, Lima Bath, challenging for their
own birth to the final four.  Coach Greg Mauk’s Wildkittens are capable,
once again, of pouncing over any team in the division on any given
night.  Coach Mauk’s math historically has been 4 threes beat 5
twos…it will be interesting if he comes up with some “new” math this
year. The Wildkittens have an extremely balanced inside outside roster
this year with another Mauk (Emily), Jessica Johns, Emily Ruhe, Alyssa
Brandon, Taylor Dackin, Liz Brock and Kate Singhaus If the Wildkittens
play with the same confidence defensively, we could see the baby blue of
Lima Bath filling the stands in Columbus.

Coach Z’s Walsh Jesuit Warriors are always competitive and that will not
change this year, even with the graduation of five of their top seven
players and the loss of transfer point guard Rachel Theriot to Midpark. 
The Warriors made their first appearance back to the final four last
year since they won the Division II State Championship back in 2005. The
Warrior’s attack will be led by post Lizzy Reeves (jr) in the middle
along with a trio of guards in Maddie Sheppard (jr), Courtney Lacobacci
(jr) and Sandra Yu (soph). The Warriors get a boost in January when fuel
injecting point guard Alexa DeBord becomes eligible after transferring
last year from Aurora.  

Outside Looking In:
Clyde Fliers & Rocky River Pirates

Also looking to make a jump as an elite Division II team will be the
Clyde Fliers.  Coach John Cahill is excited for the upcoming year as his
team gets more experience and gains confidence.  Clyde will give
Perkins a run for their money in the district and has the offensive
fire-power to do so with their balanced inside out attack.  Expect big
things from the Fliers this year and beyond.

Expect the Sandusky Perkins Pirates to not be the only group of Pirates
searching for treasure in Ontario this year.  Last year’s Rocky River
team made it to the regional tournament for the second straight year,
losing eventually to state semi-finalist Walsh Jesuit.  This Rocky River
teams has one of, if not the best player in the regional in Hannah
McCue (jr).  McCue is versatile, being able to post up smaller guards
and take posts out to the perimeter.  The Pirates of Rocky River have
had a glimpse of the treasure but are searching for the big prize… a
trip to the final four.

D-II
Pickerington Region (SE/part of Central Ohio)

Favorite(s): Washington Courthouse Miami Trace Panthers &
Minerva Lions

Coach James Stutzman of Washington Courthouse Miami Trace may have lost
his best player (Jenna Cobb) to Butler University, but there is not a
shortage of talent on his squad as the Panthers return 5 of their top 8
from last year’s final four team. The Panthers are led by senior pg
Josey Hull and Youngstown State signee Ashley Lawson, a left hander who
can really stroke it. Senior Juliane Mckay along with junior Kristin
Reisinger and sophomore Deidre McKay are tournament tested with a
comfort zone n the big stage. Add in the talents of freshman 6 footer
Abby Schwenk and don’t be surprised to see a cat fight again this year
in the regional final (Minerva Lions and Miami Trace Panthers).

The Lady Lions of Minerva High School and Coach Bruce Wright look to
take a page out of the popular C.S. Lewis Book: The Lion, Witch and the
Wardrobe.  The Lady Lions are led by senior post player and Marquette
recruit Chelsie Butler who is one of the few legit centers in the
state.  Coach Wright will also look to get open shots for senior guard
Taylor Maurer to limit teams from sagging down on Butler inside.  Last
year’s Minerva team, which has all starters back, ended their tournament
run in the regional final, losing to eventual final four participant,
Washington Courthouse Miami Trace.  If Minerva can play on both ends of
the floor with the heart of Lions, while not subjecting themselves to
the magical spells and voices in the stands… they should be walking
through the wardrobe to Columbus in mid-March.  

Challenger(s): Millersburg West Holmes Knights

Returning 3 All-League players has to got to have head coach Lisa
Patterson  excited about the 2010-2011 season for the Millersburg West
Holmes Knights.  The Knights will look for leadership from their
upperclassmen in Paige Asche (sr) and Lindsy Snyder but will rely a lot
on their talented super soph Justice Wright  and freshman phenom Laina
Snyder. With what’s in the grade school and middle school hopper for
Coach Patterson, expect to see the Knights return to their glory days in
the near future, having won state championships in 1984, 1985 and
1986.  They may be a year away to return to the final four, but you can
bet they will be pulling out all the stops as they look to slay the
Lions of Minerva and the Panthers of Miami Trace.

Outside Looking In:
Chillicothe Unioto Sherman Tanks & Lewis
Center Olentangy Braves

Morehead State ought to be arrested for stealing..in signing the Sherman
Tanks’ Mackenzie Arledge…she is load and can carry her team on her
back into the regionals…just gotta keep them from jumping off !!!

It looks like all of Coach John Feasel’s hard work and youth development
programs from years ago are paying off as his Olivia Zwayer (Ohio
Dominican) led Braves could be sending more than smoke signals come
March. Great size a the guard slots and legit inside presence give them
as balanced an attack as there will be in the Pickerington Region this
year.

 

COMING NEXT WEEK…

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