Girls basketball season begins


By Steven Wright - swright@aimmediamidwest.com



XENIA — Girls basketball season in Ohio began on Friday, but schools in the Greene County News coverage area will start play Saturday.

With the new year comes some change, as legendary Beavercreek coach Ed Zink will not be on the bench for the first time in five decades. But some familiar faces remain, including Yellow Springs senior Angie Smith, who will shoot to reach 2,000 career points before her high school career ends.

Some scheduling highlights include Xenia playing against Northwestern at Benner Field House next Friday in an all-day post-Thanksgiving event starting at noon.

Bellbrook will play in the annual Flyin’ To The Hoop event held at Trent Arena at Kettering Fairmont High School. The Golden Eagles will face Tri-Village at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 15 in the lone girls game of the four-day showcase.

Greeneview will also compete in an annual holiday tournament held at Miami Trace High School on Dec. 27 and 29.

The state girls basketball tournament draw will take place on Jan. 30 and sectional play is scheduled to begin on Feb. 7.

Here are previews of all area schools:

(Statistics from 2020-21 season)

Beavercreek Beavers

2020-21: 10-14, 3-4 GWOC (5th), lost to Wayne (55-27) in district semifinal

Coach: Aric Seilhamer (1st year, 0-0)

Players to watch: Maci Rhoades, Sr. (9.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.4spg), Ashley Vaughn, Sr. (3.8ppg, 2.0rpg, 40.9 FG%); Lilli Leopard, So. (3.9ppg, 1.8rpg); Mia Grilliot, Sr. (3.3ppg, 2.8rpg, 48.1 FG%), Lauren Hinders, Sr. (3.4ppg, 1.4rpg); Riley Steinbrunner, Sr. (1.4ppg, 1.6rpg)

Outlook: First season without Ed Zink as head coach after 46 years. The team won four of its final six games, had the second best points allowed in GWOC last season, and is expected to have an aggressive group of talented bench players to compliment the starting-five. “The Beavers are going through a culture change that puts a priority on aggressiveness, effort, and teamwork,” said Seilhamer, who takes over for Zink. Rhoades was second-team all GWOC last season.

Bellbrook Golden Eagles

2020-21: 18-5, 11-1 SWBL (1st, Southwestern), lost to Miamisburg (35-27) in sectionals

Coach: Jason Tincher (18th year, 310-103)

Players to watch: Dreann Pryce, Sr. (9.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.6spg, 42.3 FG%), Taylor Scohy, So. (6.9ppg, 4.3rpg), Kelley Griffin, Jr. (7.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.2spg, 6.5apg); Olivia Trusty, Jr. (5.3ppg, 4.7rpg, 42.2 FG%)

Outlook: Highest scoring team in SWBL last season and one of the favorites to win the league this year. Griffin had two double-doubles and five games with 10-plus assists last year as she looks to help lead Bellbrook to a deep tournament run.

Carroll Patriots

2020-21: 20-5, 11-3 GCL (2nd), lost to Napoleon (46-43) in state semifinal

Coach: Cecilia Grosselin (6th year, 109-28)

Players to watch: Sarah Ochs, Sr. (14.7ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.6spg, 47.9 FG%, 41.5 3pt%, 77 FT%); **Ellie Meyer, Jr. (4.5ppg, 1.8rpg); Charlotte Ruble, Sr. (3.6ppg, 1.3rpg)

Outlook: The Patriots lost to eventual state champions in a close game, and return the leading returning scorer in the GCL Co-Ed in Ochs, who had two double-doubles. The team has to replace Ava Lickliter (first-team all-GCL) and Megan Leraas (second-team), who were the third and second leading scorers for Carroll.

Cedarville Indians

2020-21: 11-9, 9-7 OHC (2nd, South), lost to Legacy Christian (47-34) in district semifinal

Coach: Molly Cary (2nd year, 11-9)

Players to watch: Ciara Horney, Sr. (10.2ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.2spg, 71.2 FT%); Mili Smith, Jr. (4.4ppg, 5.5rpg, 52.6 FG%); Kailee Sutton, Jr. (1.1ppg, 0.9spg); Molly Mossing, So. (2.9ppg, 2.4rpg); Ayden Rodgers, Fr.

Outlook: Lost two all-OHC performers from 2021 in Luisa Christian (first-team all-OHC) and Elly Coe (second-team). Cary says an OHC South title is in reach. “Last year it was hard to have fun because of the cloud overhanging everything the whole time,” Cary said, noting the team has been able do many more activities together outside of the gym this year compared to last. “We are young and we are still working on becoming a team. It’s all about the journey and we’re not quite there yet, but hopefully we’re going to do some really cool things this year.” Horney should be one of the league’s top players.

Fairborn Skyhawks

2020-21: 2-19, 1-17 MVL (5th, Valley), lost to Wayne (76-26) in sectionals

Coach: Brooklyn Summitt (3rd year, 9-35)

Players to watch: Nakiah Dunman, Jr. (7.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.4spg); Isabella Dunwiddie, So. (7.3ppg); Ava Williams, So. (4.5ppg, 2.1rpg)

Outlook: The Skyhawks will be looking to put last year’s struggles behind them with another young group. The team only had one junior on last year’s roster with the remainder made up of freshman and sophomores.

Greeneview Rams

2020-21: 5-17, 5-11 OHC (5th, South), lost to Mechanicsburg (83-37)

Coach: Vince Purpero (2nd year, 5-17)

Players to watch: Ellie Snyder, Sr. (10.0 ppg, 3.4spg, 2.4apg, 71 FT%); Madyson Ackerman, Sr. (8.2ppg, 2.9rpg); Kinley Saunders, So. (5.3ppg, 4.8rpg, 41.6 FG%); Kelsi Eakins, Sr. (3.4ppg, 2.7rpg)

Outlook: Snyder was second-team all-OHC in 2021 and could be a top performer in the league this season. The Rams have potential to one of several teams with sleeper potential.

Legacy Christian Knights

2020-21: 21-4, 8-0 MBC (1st), lost to Tri-Village (53-42) in regional semifinal

Coach: Mark Combs (8th year, 132-35)

Players to watch: Francis Park, Sr. (6.1ppg, 4.8rpg), Caroline Kensinger, Jr. (2.8ppg,4.5rpg)

Outlook: The highest scoring MBC team which won 16 straight games after an opening loss. the Knights graduated its top three scorers including three-time POTY and Emma Hess (Ohio player of the year in Division IV), Kathleen Ahner (first-team) and Katie Leach (second-team). Establishing new roles early in the year will be crucial to continue recent success.

Xenia Buccaneers

2020-21: 13-10, 9-9 MVL (2nd, Valley), lost to Tecumseh (69-32) in sectionals

Coach: Jessica Threats (3rd year, 17-29)

Players to watch: Kendall Sherman, Jr. (13.7ppg, 4.6rpg, 2.7spg, 30.8 3pt%); Bri Randall, Jr. (7.3ppg, 5.9rpg); Amarie Withers, Jr. (5.9ppg, 2.8rpg); Alaiya Meaux, So. (5.6ppg, 4.7rpg); Mya Diamond, Sr. (4.6ppg, 3.3rpg)

Outlook: Xenia was second highest scoring MVL team at 49ppg and turned it late by winnning seven straight near end of season. Sherman and Randall had two double-doubles each, including Randall ‘s 29-point, 14-rebound game against Fairborn. Sherman is a first-team all-MVL returnee and a player of the year candidate. Threats was southwest district coach of the year in Division I.

Yellow Springs Bulldogs

2020-21: 10-7, 3-5 MBC (4th), lost to Dayton Christian (39-31)

Coach: Nick Minnich (2nd year, 10-7)

Players to watch: Angie Smith, Sr. (22.9ppg, 5.7rpg, 4spg, 5.1apg), Aaliyah Longshaw, Sr. (7.3ppg, 6.7rpg, 3.5spg); Corinne Totty, Jr. (6.2ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.4spg)

Outlook: Smith is 119 points from 1,500 and has averaged above 20ppg all three years. She may be athlete of the year favorite with the graduation of Hess and the chase for 2,000 point will be a story to follow all year.

By Steven Wright

swright@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.