BELLBROOK — Bellbrook received recognition across the state last season as being great. Now the team gets one more chance to show what the ceiling could be in 2022-23.
The Golden Eagles plans to shoulder the burden of expectations with greater strength than it used for its accomplishments a year ago as the season gets underway Friday.
“We had a great year and they were all pretty much underclassman,” Coach Jason Tincher said. “Now they’re becoming seniors. So it’s trying to get them to take it to the next level.”
Tincher said the key will involve not being content with what they did last season, which won’t be easy as they achieved an awful lot.
The Golden Eagles went 23-3 and were ranked in the Division I state AP top 10 during the season. The unbeaten SWBL champions advanced to the district title game before running into the state’s No. 1-ranked team from Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame.
Bellbrook had boosted the competition on its schedule, but that season-ending loss gave one of the state’s smallest D-I schools a taste of the greatness that lies at the very top.
Providing the strongest certainty Bellbrook could be in for another great season is that it returns all starting five players from a year ago in guards Kelley Griffin, a senior, and junior Alayna Meyer; junior combo player Taylor Scohy; and with senior forwards Ashley Frantz and Olivia Trusty.
Scohy is the reigning Southwestern Buckeye League player of the year in the East Division and a first-team Southwest District selection. She also was first-team SWBL along with Frantz, Griffin, and Meyer. Trusty was a honorable mention pick.
“It’s really a big help to pick up where we left off with our five starters back,” Frantz said. “We’ve played together for four years and I’ve played with Kelley since third grade. Having that connection is so important as a team and we’re all really close and get along.”
As already evidenced by their individual accolades, it’s not just their experience which is expected to carry the team, but that they are all good basketball players too.
Scohy led the SWBL in shooting at better than 60 percent while averaging more than 14 points per game and also being top-three in steals. Griffin already has the BHS career record for assists and flirted with an assist-to-turnover ratio close to three last season. Meyer holds the league’s record for three-point percentage. Frantz can block shots and pull in rebounds while remaining a shooting threat from beyond the arc. And Trusty can light up the stat book in any manner as an all-around player.
“Every single person is a leader in our way,” Griffin said. “Everyone feeds off each other. It’s not just one person encouraging others, it’s everyone that steps up.”
It’s been an upward grind for the Golden Eagles despite winning 61 games combined across the last three seasons.
OHSAA enrollment numbers show Bellbrook will be the seventh-smallest of the 120 schools in D-I this season. Tincher said the team’s recent success was bonus while the focus has been on completing the transition to D-I beginning three years ago.
“We can’t complain about it, we know what it is,” he said. “We figured out what it takes to get to a district final as one of a few teams from a Dayton area which has some of the best teams in the state. Now that we know what it takes to get here, we have to find ways to keep it up in the program and know what to do to take it to the next level.”
The hope is another tough schedule will again be beneficial. Games against four GWOC schools, an opportunity to play in the two-day Kemba Classic over the holidays, and a date at 2022 state runner-up Mason will continue to provide tests throughout the season.
“I’ve always played D-I schools, but we just got to continue to play the best,” said Tincher, who is the reigning SWBL coach of the year. “Iron sharpens iron and if we’re going to be good we got to go out there and get our kids used to playing the best.”
They got another look against MND in a preseason scrimmage a few weeks ago and won a half. A final tuneup at home against reigning GWOC champion Centerville saw Bellbrook win by 18.
It’s all confidence boosts for a group which has done a lot to build it up already. Griffin said they’ve already realized the work put in last season should only be a foundation, however, and doesn’t believe it should be an obstacle to overcome.
“There’s just no expecting we’re going to be as good as we were last year just because we have the same people back,” she said.
It certainly isn’t a bad thing the group is back though. And they’re excited to be the ones to potentially take the next step for Bellbrook’s program.
Greene County Team Capsules
(Statistics from 2021-22 season)
2021-22: 15-9, 9-5 GWOC (4th), lost to Sidney (58-47) in sectionals
Coach: Aric Seilhamer (2nd year, 15-9)
Players to watch: Liv Walther, Jr. (8.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 75.4 FT%); Lilli Leopard, Jr. (9.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 41.3 FG%); Abbey Garcia, Jr. (4.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 36.2 FG%); Hannah Hunt, Sr. (1.4 ppg, 58.3 FG%); Larkyn Eysoldt, So. (DNP)
Outlook: Solid defensive group which played nearly every team it faced last season close and didn’t let games get away from them. Good chance the Lady Beavers will finish in the top half of the league once again.
Bellbrook Golden Eagles
2021-22: 23-3, 13-0 SWBL (1st, Southwestern), lost to Mount Notre Dame (67-27) in district final
Coach: Jason Tincher (19th year, 333-106)
Players to watch: Taylor Scohy, Jr. (14.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.0 spg, 60.4 FG%, 71.6 FT%), Kelley Griffin, Sr. (8.2 ppg, 8.2 apg, 3.5 rpg, 1.9 spg, 75.4 FT%); Olivia Trusty, Sr. (9.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.8 spg, 46.7 FG%); Ashley Frantz, Sr. (6.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.2 bpg); Alayna Meyer, Jr. (9.2 ppg, 46.0 FG%, 48.1 3pt%)
Outlook: Entire starting five returns and a loaded non-conference schedule awaits them. A potential title grouping of league, sectional, and district sounds like the initial goal.
2021-22: 10-15, 3-7 GCL (5th), lost to Eaton (53-45) in sectional final
Coach: Cecilia Grosselin (7th year, 119-43)
Players to watch: Ellie Meyer, Sr. (8.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.1 spg); Lyla Oliver, So. (5.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 64.7 FT%); Meghan Parlette, Jr. (3.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg); Kiera Healy, Fr. (DNP); Maggie Bush, Fr. (DNP)
Outlook: Talented freshman make up the supporting roles of a talented team. Need to replace the reliable scoring of a first-team all-state player in Sarah Ochs.
2021-22: 10-14, 5-11 OHC (4th, South), lost to Fayetteville Perry (46-34) in sectional final
Coach: Molly Cary (3rd year, 21-23)
Players to watch: Mili Smith, Sr. (6.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 50.0 FG%); Kailee Sutton, Sr. (3.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.6 spg); Molly Mossing, Jr. (11.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.8 spg); Ayden Rodgers, So. (6.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 85.0 FT%); Anna Shepherd, Sr. (DNP)
Outlook: The combo of Rodgers and Mossing have the potential to be a guard-forward duo frequently heard from in the area. Taking care of the ball will be a factor toward success.
2021-22: 0-23, 0-18 MVL (5th, Valley), lost to Centerville (67-13) in sectionals
Coach: Chelsea Nichols (1st year, 0-0)
Players to watch: Stephanie Parrish, Sr. (6.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.3 spg); Ella Bowman, Jr. (3.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg); Ava Williams, Jr. (7.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 27 3pt%); Morgan Hollon, Jr. (2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg); Erin Bradford, So. (2.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
Outlook: Only good things lie ahead for the Skyhawks which were a reliable group to see play hard last season. The goal would be for it to translate into wins this year.
2021-22: 7-16, 5-11 OHC (5th, South), lost to Mechanicsburg (55-37) in sectionals
Coach: Vince Purpero (3rd year, 12-33)
Players to watch: Kinley Saunders, Jr. (6.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg); Hailey Fannin, Sr. (4.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.5bpg); Brooklyn Erisman, So. (4.7 ppg, 0.9 apg, 33.3 3pt%); Sadie Trisel, Sr. (4.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 61.9 FT%); Monet Vest, Fr. (DNP)
Outlook: There will be a solid mixture of experience and youth in Jamestown. The Rams kept teams off the scoreboard last year but need to pick up its own scoring this year to accompany it.
Legacy Christian Knights
2021-22: 11-11, 8-1 MBC (1st), lost to Cedarville (51-47) in sectionals
Coach: Mark Combs (9th year, 143-46)
Players to watch: Caroline Kensinger, Sr. (4.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg); Natalie Strickle, Jr. (5.2 ppg, 2.3 ppg, 40 3pt%); Alli Graves, So. (5.2 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.2 spg); Audrey Stanley, Jr. (4.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg); Alayna Allport, Jr. (4.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Outlook: Will be seeking a sixth straight league title and have the players to attain it with a pair of young guards leading the way. Three players which were second-team all-league from last season are back.
2021-22: 6-15, 6-12 MVL (4th, Valley), lost to Centerville (76-32) in sectionals
Coach: Jessica Threats (4th year, 23-44)
Players to watch: Kendall Sherman, Sr. (9.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.7 spg, 81.1 FT%); Bri Randall, Sr. (6.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 spg); Amarie Withers, Sr. (6.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.1 spg); Alaiya Meaux, Jr. (6.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.3 spg); Nataiya Madison, Fr. (DNP)
Outlook: Optimism following a late season surge could turn into a chance for a good start with core contributors returning and a young paint presence.
Yellow Springs Bulldogs
2021-22: 15-5, 9-1 MBC (1st), lost to Newton (52-42) in sectionals
Players to watch: Corinne Totty, Sr. (8.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.4 apg); Lacey Longshaw, So. (3.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg); Jocelyn Herring, Jr. (2.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 44.6 FG%); Tiger Collins, So. (0.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg); Naveah Smith, So. (2.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
Outlook: Impossible to replace 2,000-plus point scorer Angie Smith, but several pieces turn over which could turn into a good group.