As the girls basketball season kicks off this weekend, Troy, Piqua and Tippecanoe are excited about the upcoming season.
The Troy girls basketball team returns a talented group from last year’s 14-9 team, led by 5-foot-8 senior guard Macie Taylor.
Taylor averaged 17.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 3.8 assists a year ago.
“The Wright State commit led team is scoring, assists, steals, 3 point shots made and was second in rebounds and blocked shots,” Troy second-year coach Jeremy Hughes said. “Macie is a strong candidate for player of the year after earning player of the year honors in the GWOC as a freshman and being named first team All-MVL the past two years. She is a 1,000 point scorer and is on pace to break the Troy Girls Basketball Scoring record early this season.
Also returning at the guard spots will be Madalynn Hughes (5-6, senior), Makenzee Maschino 95-10, senior) and Jovie Studebaker (5-10, senior).
“Madalynn Hughes and Makenzee Maschino were all strong contributors last year even though their seasons were cut short,” Hughes said. “We look forward to having them both for the entire season.
“Jovie Studebaker provides depthwith her ability to play multiple positions. She’s coming off a great summer and has proven she is an important piece for us going forward.”
Joining the roster is 5-5 freshman Amyannah Tucker.
”Amyannah (Nannah) Tucker is an incoming freshman that will provide depth at the guard position and has a bright future in the program,” Hughes said.
Morgan Kaiser (5-9, senior), Brynn Siler (5-11, junior), Mackenzie Rogers (5-10, junior) and Kiyah Baker (5-10, sophomore) all return in the post.
Kaiser averaged 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds a year ago, while Siler led the team in rebounds with 6.7 per game.
”Morgan is a very efficient and smart basketball player. She is not a true post but has the ability to play any position. She is an excellent leader and will be a team captain for a second year,” Hughes said. “Brynn was the leading rebounder and shot blocker on team. Brynn is one of the best all around defenders in the conference and has great playmaking ability on offense. She is a three-year starter.
“Mackenzie was a strong contributor last season with one of the top field goal percentage in the conference until an injury cut her season short. We look forward to getting Mackenzie back healthy. Kiyah provides Troy with a true post presence. After swinging between JV and varsity last year, she worked hard to earn a spot in the rotation.”
Hughes will look to be balanced on offense and play multiple defenses.
“We have several talented players that are capable of scoring so we will run an offense that distributes the ball to all of our playmakers,” he said. “ We have an athletic team that we feel will help us matchup well with our opponents 9on defense).”
Hughes looks to compete for the MVL title.
“With our depth and returning experience we feel like we’re primed to be atop of the very competitive conference,” he said.
Greg Justice returns as Piqua coach.
The Lady Indians were 4-18 a year ago.
The Indians will be guard oriented this season, led by seniors Kenzi Anderson, Reagan Toopes and Elise Cox, junior Mahala Bragg and sophomore Logan Spradlin.
“Reagan Toopes and Kenzi Anderson are four-yer varsity players with a lot of experience,” Justice said. “ Reagan was honorable mention All-League last year and Kenzi has the potential to be All-League this season. They are our top scoring threats and best defenders. We will need them to have big seasons for us.
“Elise Cox started for us last season as a Junior and is a very smart player. Elise is an outstanding passer, sees the floor well and is always in the right spot defensively. Mahala Bragg is returning from a torn ACL as a sophomore. She has worked hard and will ready to go for the start of the season.”
Also contributing in the backcourt are senior Chloe Stewart and sophomore Elizabeth Copsey.
‘Chloe lettered as a freshmen, but was unable to play as a sophomore and junior due to surgeries on both hips, and a difficult illness,” Justice said. “Chloe will likely be the first guard off the bench and will provide a big spark for us with her tremendous speed. Chloe’s progress as she returns to play after missing 2 full seasons has been incredible.
“Elizabeth is very athletic and energetic, and should move into the starting line-up. Sophomore Logan Spradlin continues to improve and could see some minutes coming off the bench. We also have some other freshmen guards who could see some time off the bench in Audrey Bean, Abby Lambert and Aubree Carroll.”
The Indians top post player would have been senior Aubree Schrubb. Schrubb led the conference in rebounds and blocked shots as a sophomore, but had foot surgery for the second straight year and will miss the season.
”Aubree would have been a Player of the Year candidate,” Justice said. “She set the MVL record for defensive rebounds and offensive rebounds as a sophomore, and is ranked second in blocks (Neely of Butler past her up last year in blocks). She has become an even better athlete since then.
“Sadly, for Aubree and our team, the timing of her injuries have interrupted her basketball career and this is a significant blow to our team. But, we have to move on.”
Justice has several players he thinks will be key inside.
“Luckily, we have a new player in senior Izzy King, that will provide an inside presence defensively and will be tough on the boards,” Justice said. “Ashln Sullivan played some varsity last year as a freshmen and will be available off the bench in the post. Freshmen D’Vaya Cooper has made a strong impact in the pre-season as a solid post defender and spark off the bench.”
Justice would like to play uptempo.
“We are very guard heavy,” Justice said. “We would prefer to get out in Transition and get some scoring opportunities in the open court. We will flow into an open offense and look to get a lot of player movement and great ball movement in order to get good shots for the right players. It would be great to be able to shoot the three a little better this season, but we will not totally rely on that as an option. We are working on being able to attack the rim and create scoring opportunities.Without a post scorer, we will need to get the ball in the paint off the pass or off dribble penetration, and then make good decisions.”
Piqua will mix things up on defense.
“Defense will have to be something that we rely very heavily on to compete in games,” Justice said. “Definitely not going to be any easy games for us in the MVL. The MVL will have the usual teams at the top of the league in Tipp, Troy, Butler and Sidney.
“The rest of the MVL is somewhat comparable. However, last year, you could tell that some teams like West Carrollton and Xenia began to separate themselves from that next tier. I think the rest of us are working hard to build up our programs and trying to develop some consistency. Last Season, West Carrollton and Xenia did prove that drastic improvement can happen from one year to the next. West Carrollton went from two wins to 10 wins last season. Xenia went from four wins to 13 wins last year.”
Justice hopes for a similar improvement this season.
Christina Pentaudi is back for her second season as Tippecanoe girls basketball coach.
It will be hard to top last season, when the Red Devils finished 22-1 and advanced to the D-II district finals.
One key returner would have been 5-9 junior Hannah Wildermuth, who suffered a shoulder injury late in the volleyball season.
“Hannah will be involved in our varsity team, but will be out due to shoulder surgery,” Pentaudi said.
Three returners from last season include 6-foot senior Ashley Aselage, 5-7 senior Olivia Spiller and 5-3 junior Maddi Moran.
“We are looking forward to having these returning guards come back for this upcoming season,” Pentaudi said. “We are confident in their abilities to handle the basketball, attack the basket, shoot from the perimeter, defend well. We believe they are a well-rounded trio who work well together. We are excited to see what they are able to accomplish as the season progresses.”
Key newcomers will included 5-2 junior guard Makenzie Chinn, junior forward Ally Broering, 5-8 sophomore Samantha Wall, sophomore Lancy Cleckner and sophomore Emma Stallard.
Chinn is a transfer from Tecumseh, where she averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 assists.
“These girls are great athletes and we believe they are going to be great contributors to the team’s success this year,” Pentaudi said. “They add strong outside shooting, an attacking mentality and are very scrappy defensively. They are versatile and we are very eager to see what they achieve.”
The Red Devils are ready to defend their MVL title.
“We are ready to have competitive games with all MVL teams,” Pentaudi said. “We do anticipate highly intense games with our neighboring schools — Sidney, Troy and Vandalia-Butler. It will be a battle for the overall league title and divisional titles.”
Pentaudi said the team goals are to win the MVL title, advance as far as possible in the postseason with a young and energetic team ready to compete at the highest level and successfully get through the season as safely and healthy as possible.