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2019-20 GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules
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North Forsyth's Ansley Allen dribbles towards the hoop during the Raiders' game against West Forsyth on Jan. 18, 2019 at West Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

With Forsyth Central's basketball team bringing back one of its best players, the Bulldogs are hoping to make it back to the region title game and beyond.

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Forsyth Central's Tese Ajorgbor holds the ball during the 2017-18 season. Ajorgbor missed her junior season last year with an injury. - photo by File photo

Basketball: Central girls look to continue steady climb after region title game appearance

Forsyth Central

Head coach: Angela Hurt, seventh season

Last season: 17-12 overall, 6-4 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Aisha Dabo (Jr.), Jillian Bretz (So.), Elizabeth Pruitt (Jr.)

Key newcomers: Tese Ajorgbor (Sr.)

Outlook: The Bulldogs underwent their best season in years last season and made it to the Region 5-7A championship game, and in Angela Hurt’s seventh season at the helm, Central will be looking to keep their steady climb going. They’ll bring back almost everyone from their 2018 squad, and will also bring back Tese Ajorgbor, a key player that the Bulldogs missed for all of last year due to a torn ACL. The Bulldogs have good size and good shooters to go around, but Hurt thinks her team sometimes depends too much on that athleticism when boxing out and rebounding.

 

North Forsyth

Head coach: Brad Kudlas, first season

Last season: 26-5 overall, 10-0 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Caroline Martin (Sr.) Ansley Allen (Sr.), PF Vekondja Ogbogu (Sr.), Lilly Bales (Jr.), McCall Thomas (Sr.), Harley Helms (Sr.)

Key newcomers: Maddie Erickson (So.), Anna Gliatta (So.), Haelim Adle (So.), Ali Jones (So.)

Outlook: Hopes are about as high as they can get for North Forsyth this season under first-year head coach Brad Kudlas. Led by the talented duo of Caroline Martin and Ansley Allen, the Raiders made it to their second consecutive Final Four appearance last year, and with almost everyone from last year’s run coming back, there will be plenty of playoff-tested senior leadership. North has great depth at guard, but their potential weaknesses are in size and post presence, which were exploited deep in the postseason.

 

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South Forsyth's Ashley Breindl drives to the basket during the War Eagles' game against Denmark on Jan. 5, 2019 at Denmark High School. - photo by Ben Hendren
South Forsyth

Head coach: Keith Gravitt, 17th season

Last season: 13-15 overall, 5-6 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Ashley Breindl (Sr.), Kayla Casey (Sr.), Sophie Rosin (Sr.), Ryane Williams (Sr.)

Key newcomers: Ava McGlockton (Fr.), Clara Morris (Fr.), Maggie Thompson (Fr.), Sharon Tolliver (Fr.)

Outlook: The War Eagles had a solid showing last year, and are excited about the experience they’re bringing back: South returns five returning varsity players, with four of them being seniors that have started before. However, the team also has six players that have no varsity playing experience, so head coach Keith Gravitt is looking for his team to continue to grow and gel together as the season progresses.

 

Lambert

Head coach: Brian Moon, first season

Last season: 8-18 overall, 2-8 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Anna Jackson (Sr.), Maddie Sherrick (Sr.), Riley Stevens (Sr.), Taylor Parrish (Jr.)

Key newcomers: N/A

Outlook: With only two region wins last year, the Longhorns will have an upward climb to make in 2019. They’ll look do so under first year head coach Brian Moon, who was previously a coach with North Forsyth’s boys for seven years. With only three seniors returning, there’s a lack of experience and with that youth comes a lack of size, but Moon is optimistic about his team’s work ethic and team attitude.

 

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West Forsyth's Calie Thrower starts a fast break during the Wolverines' game against Lambert on Jan. 25, 2019 at West Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer
West Forsyth

Head coach: David May, eighth season

Last season: 16-12 overall, 8-3 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Maggie Quincy (Sr.), Kassidy Kimbro (Sr.), Allie Jackson (Sr.), Haylee Dornan (Jr.), Calie Thrower (So.), Cayla Cowart (So.), Kalie Thrower (So.)

Key newcomers: Jasmine Brown (Jr.), Audrey Anderson (So.), Dani Bascomb (So.)

Outlook: Last year, the Wolverines were neck-and-neck with Forsyth Central for the second spot in the region, and they look to have the pieces to make another run at the playoffs with plenty of key returners. Head coach David May feels like that returning experience, as well as improved scoring and shooting depth, will make his team a tough out in region play in 2019.

 

Denmark

Head coach: Jaime Maxey, second season

Last season: 2-24 overall, 1-12 Region 7-4A

Key returners: Clarissa Kelly (Jr.), Leah Kelly (Jr.), Jessie DeNardo (So.), Jordyn DeNardo (Jr.)

Key newcomers: Kiersten Bell (Fr.)

Outlook: The Danes got off to a very rough start as a program last year, but thankfully, there will be more experience on the varsity level coming back. Everyone from the 2018 season returns, but this team is still a very young one with no seniors, and rebounding seems to be an upcoming issue with an overall lack of size. Head coach Jaime Maxey is hoping that her squad can be better at shooting in its second year of existence.

 

Pinecrest Academy

Head coach: Jonathan Oshinski, second season

Last season: 6-19 overall, 4-10 Region 6-1A

Key returners: Meghan Sullivan (Jr.), Aryn Spain (So.), Sarah Brown (Sr.)

Key newcomers: Colleen Sullivan (Fr.)

Outlook: Jonathan Oshinski will have his work cut out for him in his second season leading the Paladins: His team only has three returning starters with more than half of last year’s roster now gone. Oshinski feels like his team needs to be well prepared because of that, and will rely on his three seniors to help the bench grow and provide some much needed leadership.

 

Horizon Christian Academy

Head coach: Royce Grant, first season

Last season: 5-10 overall

Key returners: Erin Wisler (Sr.), Riley Horton (So.)

Key newcomers: Ashley Williams (Fr.), Sasha Grant (Fr.), Della Grace Lewis (Fr.)

Outlook: Horizon’s girls basketball program will be under new leadership this season, with Royce Grant taking over for Damon Taylor. The Warriors feel like they can pick up plays quickly, but while they’re fast learners, there will still be some growing pains with a young and inexperienced team.