TRC Girls Basketball Preview

With girls basketball season opeing Friday night, a number of Miami County teams will be part of the inaugural season of the Three Rivers Conference.

COVINGTON

Brandon Studebaker returns for his third season as Covington coach as the Buccs join the Three Rivers Conference.

The returning letterwinners include seniors Claudia Harrington, Claire Fraley and Parker Metz and sophomores Gracie Anderson and Carlie Besecker.

Harrington, a 5-7 guard and Besecker, a 5-9 post, both averaged in double figrues a year ago.

Gracie Anderson, a 5-8 guard and Fraley, a 6-foot post were both starters a year ago, while Metz, a 5-6 guard was a key role player.

“Claudia Harrington will look to lead us from the point guard position again being a threat at both the offensive and defensive end of the floor,” Studebaker said. “Gracie Anderson ) returns as another key player.

”Claire Fraley returns for her senior year as an inside threat at both end of the floor. Carlie Besecker looks to improve and lead the Lady Buccs again this season as a threat from both ends of the floor.”

Joining the roster are 5-11 freshman Maggie Anderson and 5-7 junior Erika Gostomsky.

“Maggie Anderson looks to bring more versatility to the roster this season,” Studebaker said. “Parker Metz and Erika Gostomsky will look to play valuable minutes this season.”

Covington will feature an uptempo, free lance motion offense and man-to-man defense.

Studebaker expects to do well in the TRC.

“We will look to compete in our first season in what should be a competitive TRC,” Studebaker said. “We will also have a competitive non-conference schedule with the likes of Anna, Versailles, New Bremen, Jackson Center to name a few.”

LEHMAN CATHOLIC

Mark Mays takes over as Lehman girls coach.

Returning letterwinners include Taylor Geise, Mara O’Leary, Caroline Wesner, Colleen O’Leary, Heidi Toner and Daria Lee.

The guards will include Layla Platfoot, Kailee Rank, Colleen O’Leary,Wesner, Anya Kolb and Bailey Cooper.

The forwards include Geise, Aubri Karn, Mara O’Leary, Lee and Michaela Burkhardt.

Joing Toner in the post will be Callie Giguere.

“At the moment we are still working on our starters and the subs for the varsity,” Mays said. “The competition has been pretty good for those spots. We have a scrimmage at home against Jackson Center this Tuesday to figure out our starters. There are eight players working hard to win those positions.”

Mays said Lehman will be versatile on offense.

“Offensively, we will be doing a few combinations of things, motion will be our base offense and depending what we think we can do against what our opponent we will change it up from there,” he said. “During our scrimmage season we have been working hard with confident passes and dribbling skills. That’s something that we will do all year and off season.”

The Cavaliers will operate out of a man-to-man defense.

“During our scrimmage season we have put a lot of time into footwork developing team discipline on defense,” Mays said. “Depending on our opponent will dictate what we have to change to defensively.”

Lehman joins the TRC and Mays expects it to be competitive.

“As far as the Three Rivers Conference, very tough,” Mays said. “I know the teams in this league very well, being at both Bethel and Troy Christian. You have to prepare your team for a physical fast pace game. There are great coaches in this league as well. As the head coach here at Lehman, I’ll have to be ready for everything the other coach might bring to the game.”

MIAMI EAST

Bruce Vanover returns as coach.

The Vikings were 12-12 a year ago and will also be joining the TRC.

Returning letterwinners for the Vikings include senior Paxton Hunley (5-5), Mara Posey (5-7), Kayly Fetters (5-10) and Kyliegh Kirby (5-6); and sophomores Abigail Kadel (5-6), Camryn Francis (6-0) and Maryn Gross (5-6).

“Paxton Hunley returns atpoint guard,” Vanover said. “She will look to push the pace and lead the team, not only defensively, but also offensively as she has the ability to score in many ways. Kayly Fetters will look to lead the team in the post area. She is physical and rebounds well. She also has the ability to score inside or step out and hit the jumper.”

Another returning starter is guard Kyleigh Kirby.

“Kyleigh is strong and athletic,” Vanover said. “She is capable of guarding both guards and post, and will be a major part of our team this year. Mara Posey led our team in 3-point shooting last year, and we expect her to be right there again this year. Camryn Francis (letter winner) returning post player that has the ability to score inside and out. She led our team in shooting percentage last year, and is capable of doing it again this year. Maryn Gross is an aggressive guard that will pressure the ball, and should be near the top when it comes to steals for our team this year.”

East will also feature some talented young players.

”Abigail Kadel (guard) has the ability to knock down shots,” Vanover said. “Kenndee Elifritz (guard) is quick and athletic. She is capable of lighting it up from the outside. Kayah Mussleman (post) is a strong rebounder and has the ability to attack and finish around the basket.Logan Phillips (guard) long and athletic. She is capable of getting to the basket, as well as hitting shots from outside. Jaqueline Kadel (guard) is strong and athletic. Very defensive minded and can score in multiple ways.”

Vanover likes the makeup of his team.

”We like the fact that we are returning seven players from last year’s team, as well as the fact that we have an abundance of talented youth joining the varsity team this year, which should provide us with more depth,” Vanover said. “Hopefully, we can improve on our 12-12records from the past two years.

“This is a hardworking group with a lot of potential. We are also blessed to have great leadership on this year’s team. Our seniors are focused on bringing this team together to ensure that we make a successful tournament run this year.”

Vaanover looks forward to playing in the TRC this year.

”I am not sure who will be the favorite this year, as I am not familiar with several of the teams; however, since Covington has beaten us the last two years, and due to the fact that they return a very solid core of their team from last year, I will pick them as the favorites. Hopefully we will be in the mix as well. Only time will tell.”

MILTON-UNION

Katie Roose returns as coach and the Bullogs are coming off an 11-11 season.

Top returners include 5-7 sophomore Ava Berberich, 5-10 sophomore Shannon Brumbaugh and 5-8 junior Annie Smith.

Berberich average 3.8 points and 4.4 rebounds a year ago, while Brumbaugh averaged 2.7 points and 3.4 rebounds and Smith got valuable playing time.

Ava has a year of varsity basketball under her belt,” Roose said. “We will look to her to help handle the basketball, be a good solid defender, and be a floor general for us. She has good leadership potential and being such a young team, we will need someone to step up and lead us on the court.”

Smith will be key on defense

“Annie brings good varsity experience to the table, and we are hoping that she will help lead our defense this year,” Roose said. “She isn’t afraid to work hard and brings a good energy and spark. As one of our juniors, we also hope that she will be one of our vocal leaders”

Brumbaugh will be a key player in the post.

“Shannon showed tremendous growth last year as a varsity basketball player,” Roose said. “Having lost one of our key post players in Rachel Jacobs to a knee injury late this summer, we will look to Shannon to score for us in the post and be one of our key rebounders. She has the potential, just need her to play confidently in the post.”

Other guards will include 5-5 junior Kearsyn Robinson and 5-6 freshman Jenna Brumbaugh.

Robinson is a transfer from Trotwood-Madison, who sat out last season.

“Kearsyn joined us in the middle of the summer and has definitely fit well into our program,” Roose said. “She has a solid outside shot and dishes the ball well to her teammates. We are looking forward to her being an important part of our program this year.”

Roose expects Brumbaugh to be a key addition.

“Jenna brings a season of varsity experience from competing as a varsity volleyball player this fall,” Roose said. “We hope that experience will help her feel more comfortable this season in basketball. She brings a lot of athleticism to the table. We will look to her to help handle the basketball, get herself to the basket, and be a key defender for us this year.”

Also playing inside will 5-8 sophomore Raegan Fulton.

“Raegan played limited varsity minutes for us last year, but the minutes she did get she played fearlessly,” Roose said. “She is someone who isn’t afraid to do the work needed to help her team be successful. We will look to her to work hard in the post and rebound the basketball for us.”

Roose looks forward to playing in the Three Rivers Conference this season.

“We are looking forward to playing in the inaugural season of the TRC,” she said “Miami East and Covington both have strong programs and I believe will be the top teams in the conference this season. We would like

TROY CHRISTIAN

Tony Ferraro returns as the Eagles coach.

Troy Christian was 12-7 a year ago, advancing to the sectional finals.

Top returners for the Eagles are 6-2 senior Sarah Johnson and sophomore Brooklyn Lavy.

Johnson averaged 9.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks last year.

Lavy added 3.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

Ferraro expects sophomore Kathleen Johnson to be much improved inside and top guards will include freshman Jocey Hill and junior Hope Carroll.

Rounding out the roster are senior Gracie Kinser, junior Jewell Myers, sophomore Abby Brookhart and freshman Annaliese Erhdahl.

The Eagles have moved from the Metro Buckeye Conference to the Three Rivers Conference.

“Miami East is the pre-season favorite,” Ferraro said. “We are facing a tough schedule and new conference and we are excited for the opportunity.”