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GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules

POSTED: November 12, 2013 3:51 p.m.
 

FORSYTH CENTRAL

Coach: Angela Hurt, first season.

Last season: 8-17.

Key returners: Emma Kane, sr.; Kayla Bennett, sr.; Ellie Webb, sr.

Key newcomers: PG Caroline Hearn, fr.; Anna-Nicole Moore, sr.

Outlook: First-year coach Angela Hurt comes to Central after eight seasons at Alpharetta that included three straight trips to the state tournament. Hurt said she likes what sees in the Lady Bulldogs so far. Seniors Emma Kane, Kayla Bennett and Ellie Webb give Central a core of senior leadership. Freshman Caroline Hearn should take over the point guard duties immediately. Senior Anna-Nicole Moore is eligible again after transferring from Sequoyah last season and playing JV. Hurt said the team needs to improve on its free throw shooting and cut down on turnovers to take that next step toward competitiveness in Region 7-AAAAA.

LAMBERT

Coach: Tony Watkins, first season.

Last season: 10-19, lost in Class AAAAAA first round.

Key returners: SF Corrie Baker, soph.; SF Ellie Hammer, jr.; PG Ashley Johnson, soph.; F Olivia Lawson, soph.; F Kelsey Morkem, sr.

Key newcomers: F Leah Cote, fr.; SF Kara Kidwell, fr.; PG Mia Pulice, jr.; F Caroline Wilson, jr.

Outlook: The Lady Longhorns enter a new era under first-year head coach Tony Watkins who has a career record of 594-252 in 32 years as a head coach. He takes over a Lambert program coming off a surprise appearance in the Class AAAAAA tournament. He has a deep roster to work with, one that got even deeper with the recent move in of 6-foot-2 junior forward Caroline Wilson from Mountain Lakes High School in New Jersey. She should add to the nice size Lambert already has in senior forward Kelsey Morkem and sophomore Olivia Lawson. Lambert has a capable scorer in junior Ellie Hammer and plenty of interchangeable parts that will give the Longhorns flexibility to experiment with different lineups.

NORTH FORSYTH

Coach: Eric Herrick, third season.

Last season: 24-6, lost in Class AAAAAA second round.

Key returners: G Kendall Bennett, sr.; G Caroline Bowns, jr.; PG Lochlain Corliss, jr.; C Avery Scarbrough, sr.

Key newcomers: SF Sydney Pefanis, jr.

Outlook: Forsyth teams don’t often enter a season with the kind of expectations the Lady Raiders have. That’s what happens when you return the county player of the year in Caroline Bowns, who averaged 15.4 points per game last season, and two more three-year starters in Lochlain Corliss (10 ppg) and Avery Scarbrough (11 ppg). Kendall Bennett is another savvy veteran, a good shooter who the team will ask to score more than her 1.4 points per game last season. Sydney Pefanis will look to fill the void left by the graduation of Kim Blake. North certainly has the pieces to contend with Alpharetta for a region title.

PINECREST ACADEMY

Coach: Theresa Guard, second season.

Last season: 2-17.

Key returners: G Amanda Boyd, sr.; C Tessa Stubbs, soph.

Key newcomers: PF Bailey Evans, jr.; PG Mary Margaret Metz, fr.

Outlook: Many of the same challenges the Lady Paladins faced a year ago return this season. Again, Pinecrest will be young which means, again, it will be inexperienced. But there are good signs for the future. The number of girls participating this season allowed the program to add a junior varsity team. Eight new freshmen have been added to the mix, headlined by point guard Mary Margaret Metz, who will be counted on to contribute immediately. And there is reason to believe Pinecrest can improve off last season’s 2-win campaign. Amanda Boyd returns after leading the team in assists and steals. Tessa Stubbs led the team in rebounding and blocks and returns to anchor the frontcourt again. Forward Bailey Evans transferred from Covenant Christian and could make a big impact.

SOUTH FORSYTH

Coach: Keith Gravitt, 12th season.

Last season: 20-9, lost in Class AAAAAA first round.

Key returners: C Ashley Hannan, sr.; G Sarah Myers, soph.; PG KK Storm, soph.; F Ally Welch, jr.

Outlook: The Lady War Eagles certainly made some headlines in the offseason. After an impressive freshman season, Myers committed to Maryland over the summer, while Welch committed to Mercer. Both are returning starters – along with senior center Ashley Hannan and sophomore point guard KK Storm – from a team that is coming off a state tournament appearance. They have experience, they can score and they can play defense, but coach Keith Gravitt needs them to rebound better. Gravitt said signs have been encouraging during the offseason. This team expects to make a move in Region 6-AAAAAA this season.

WEST FORSYTH

Coach: David May, second season.

Last season: 8-17.

Key returners: Meredith Bresnahan, sr.; Hannah Crowe, Jr.; Maddie O’Conner, sr.; Conner Parker, jr.; Jasmine Rodriguez, jr.; Hayla Seitz, soph.; C Jenna Staiti, soph.; Margaret Tribble, sr.

Key newcomers: Allie Fagg, soph.; Casey Gazza, fr.; Jane Ortlip, soph.; Abby Quincy, fr.

Outlook: On some level, there should be little surprise with West this season, not after center Jenna Staiti burst on to the scene as a freshman and averaged 22.5 points a game. With a commitment to Maryland over the summer and another offseason of development, Staiti figures to only get better. Her supporting cast figures to be better, too. West had just one player with varsity experience entering last season. It has eight players this season, led by senior Maddie O’Conner who was third in scoring with 8.4 points per game last season. The team needs juniors Conner Parker (2.4 ppg) and Jasmine Rodriguez (2.8 ppg) and a host of other returners to take the next step.

 

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