Girls high school preview capsules


Amber Doniere passes the ball as Ashley High School hosts the Laney girl's basketball team Tuesday Jan. 24, 2012. (Photo by StarNews file photo)


 

Mideastern Conference

Ashley

Last Year's Record: 20-5 (Lost to Rose in first round of Class 4A playoffs)

Returning Starters: 4

Key returning players: Felicity Havens, Jr. F; Breanna Edwards, Sr. F 

Quotes from coach: "We‘re pretty well balanced and we‘ve got a lot of scorers and people that want to put the ball in the basket," said Ashley coach Adrienne Gale. "They are aggressive on both ends of the floor."

Hoggard

Last Year's Record: 7-16 (Did not qualify for playoffs) 

Returning Starters: 3 

Key returning players: Julia Buehler, Soph. G; Sarah Downing, Sr. F 

Quotes from coach: "One thing I can promise you is that we will play really hard this year," said Hoggard coach Boubacar Aw. "I expect to see a lot of improvement, because really we have been working hard."

Laney

Last Year's Record: 20-5 (Lost to Cary in second round of Class 4A playoffs) 

Returning Starters: 5 

Key returning players: Amber Doniere, Sr. F; Tianna Edwards, Jr. G 

Quotes from coach: "Right now on paper we look pretty good, but there's still 20-odd games to play and we will play them one at a time and see how it goes," said Laney coach Sherri Tynes.

New Bern

Last Year's Record: 6-18 (Did not qualify for playoffs) 

Returning Starters: 2 

Key returning players: JJ Jones, Sr. G; McCullough, Sr. G 

Quotes from coach: "We aren‘t a real tall team, but we are scrappy and I think we will be competitive," said New Bern coach Bill Bondurant. "Our goal in the conference is to be .500 or better."

New Hanover

Last Year's Record: 13-12 (Lost at Southern Durham in first round of Class 4A playoffs)

Returning Starters: 3 

Key returning players: Kapria Pressley, Jr. F; Grace Cameron, Soph. G 

Quotes from coach: "I expect to win every game we play," said New Hanover coach Vertha Dixon-Wright. "I‘ve got five coming back and eight newcomers, so I‘ve got to get them to play together as a team and if that happens we are going to be up there."

Rose

Last Year's Record: 11-16 (Lost at Sanderson in second round of Class 4A playoffs) 

Returning Starters: N/A

Key returning players: Erin Walden, Sr. F; Rebecca Phillips, Sr. F

 

Waccamaw Conference

East Bladen

Last Year's Record: 18-9 (Lost at Reidsville in first round of Class 2A playoffs)

Returning Starters: 2

Key returning players: Alexis Smith, Sr. PG; Lacey Suggs, Fr. F 

Quotes from coach: "I'd say we're rebuilding this year," said coach Patty Evers. "We're young; I have four freshmen and it depends on how quick they learn our system. We're quick and I think we'll be a really good defensive team." 

North Brunswick

Last Year's Record: 10-16 (Lost at Farmville Central in first round of Class 2A playoffs)

Returning Starters: 4

Key returning players: Katrina Brown, Sr. C; Ajene Mays, Jr. G

Quotes from coach: "Right now, we're a pretty athletic club," said coach Travis Fortune, adding he hopes to make use of team speed and full-court defense. "We're going to be young again. I only have one senior." 

South Brunswick

Last Year's Record: 0-17 (Did not qualify for playoffs)

Returning Starters: 5 

Key returning players: Jasmine Ravon, Sr. F; Kacy O'Connor, Sr. G

Quotes from coach: "Considering I coached them all in middle school and I know what they can do, I'm looking forward to finishing in the upper half of the conference," said coach Travis Geddie. "They know how to play together. I think that will be very beneficial."

South Columbus

Last Year's Record: 13-7 (Did not qualify for playoffs)

Returning Starters: 2

Key returning players: Destiny Drayton, Jr. G; Quay Newman, Soph. PG

Quotes from coach: "We're going through another rebuilding year this year," said coach Brett Burroughs. "But I think we may surprise some people. We're going to try to do some different things than we have in the past." 

West Bladen

Last Year's Record: 12-13 (Did not qualify for playoffs)

Returning Starters: 5

Key returning players: Courtney Thompson, Jr. C; Abbey Walters, Sr. G 

Quotes from coach: "We're going to be real competitive this year," said coach Pam Stephens, indicating the team will depend on the inside presence of Thompson. "We're going to have some good outside shooters too."

West Brunswick

Last Year's Record: 7-13 (Lost to Cleveland in first round of Class 3A playoffs) 

Returning Starters: 2 

Key returning players: Kianna Pigott, Sr. G; Allison Brown, Sr. F 

Quotes from coach: "We're going to be very quick," because of the six guards on the roster, said coach Mark Jones. "We're excited about this year. A lot of transition points is what we're looking for."

Whiteville

Last Year's Record: 19-5 (Lost to Northwood in third round of Class 2A playoffs) 

Returning Starters: 3

Key returning players: Jenna Watts, Sr. PG; Jordan Ray, Sr. PF 

Quotes from coach: "We have a much deeper bench this year," said coach Serena Smith, noting center Deidra Jordan is another key returnee. "We have a lot of underclassmen that are stepping up."

 

Tri-County Conference

James Kenan

Last Year's Record: 23-5 (Lost to Lakewood in third round of Class 1A playoffs) 

Returning Starters: 4

Key returning players: Dezarae Phillips, Jr. PG; Candice Vann, Sr. C

Quotes from coach: "I am very optimistic about this season. We were sectional runners-up last year and we have almost everybody coming back; we should have a great team," said coach Wendy Lanier. "We have 12 returning players and our bench will be one of our strengths. Our weakness will be that two of our backup post players are new to the system." 

Trask

Last Year's Record: 14-12 (Lost to Northampton-West in first round of Class 1A playoffs) 

Returning Starters: 0

Key returning players: Kay Gray, Sr. SF; CeCe Murphy, Sr., G

Quotes from coach: "I have a really positive outlook on this year," said coach Lindsey Noble. "We are bigger and should be stronger at rebounding and defense but weaker at ballhandling. Senior leadership will be our strongest skill and we will need to do the fundamentals to have a successful season."

Pender

Last Year's Record: 4-17 (Did not qualify for playoffs) 

Returning Starters: 2

Key returning players : Littia Herrin, Sr. G; Quesheta Brown, Soph. G

Quotes from coach: "We should be improved from last year," said coach Garry Battle. " We are young but we are learning to get along and develop a good team chemistry." 

Wallace-Rose Hill

Last Year's Record: 6-17 (Did not qualify for playoffs)

Returning Starters: 2

Key returning players: Jamiria Henry, Sr. F; Karmuyn Sessoms, Sr. G

Quotes from coach: "With only four returning players and a freshman point guard we will have some growing pains," said William Jeffers. "Your key is to learn to play good defense. We are also going to play a less-predictable set option offense, and we should be quick since a lot of the girls on the team also run track."

 

Around the Area

Cape Fear Academy

Last Year's Record: 12-14 (Lost in first round of NCISAA 2A playoffs)

Returning Starters: 1

Key returning players: Grace Andrews, Sr. C; Elisabeth Hill, Sr. F

Quotes from coach: "Coming in I want to see growth," said first-year Cape Fear Academy coach Ray Beatty. "I expect us to be a much better team toward the end of the season than we are at this point."

Coastal Christian

Last Year's Record: 8-13 (Did not qualify for NCISAA playoffs)

Returning Starters: 4

Key returning players: Nicki Huntley, Sr. SF; Lauren Duncan, Jr. PG

Quotes from coach: "We have an athletic team, returning seven players this year, and we will play high pressure basketball," said coach Mike Scheffel. "Our motto is to play fast and hard and have fun and that's what we are going to do this year. We want to put high pressure on teams for 32 minutes and make them uncomfortable." 

East Columbus

Last Year's Record: 20-5 (Lost at Goldsboro in third round of Class 1A playoffs)

Returning Starters: 3

Key returning players: Brittney Hall, Sr. PG; Kayla Brown, Soph. G/F

Quotes from coach: "With three returning starters and two returning players ready to step up into a starting role, I have an optimistic outlook on the season," said Coach Karlyn Stephens. "Our strengths are our post play and 3-point shooting. Our guards can hit the 3 and our post players can even step out and hit it."

East Duplin

Last Year's Record: 25-4 (Lost to Bunn in third round of Class 2A playoffs)

Returning Starters: 2

Key returning players: Brittney Woodard, Sr. G/F; Makayla Byrd, Jr. F

Quotes from coach: "I am confident that we will have a good season, it will just take us some time to get things together; after losing five seniors, three of which were guards and good ballhandlers," said coach Mark Lane. "We have a tough pre-conference schedule and we will struggle early but we should improve as the season goes on." 

Topsail

Last Year's Record: 13-12 (Lost to Northside in first Round of Class 2A playoffs)

Returning Starters: 2

Key returning players: Chandler Skipper, Jr. G; Mindi White, Sr. G

Quotes from coach: "We have a young team, have a long way to go, but they are a hard working group and I think they should compete," said coach Jim Clanahan, who is new at Topsail but has 20-plus years experience coaching high school basketball in Georgia and Alabama. 

Wilmington Christian

Last Year's Record: 18-6 (Lost in NCISAA Class 3A state semifinals) 

Returning Starters: 2

Key returning players: Jensen Attoe, Sr. G; Meredith Bunn, Jr. G

Quotes from coach: "Our players have a lot of drive, determination and heart," said coach Jeff Attoe. "They all have a very similar skill level. Overall we're a very young team, but I think we'll do pretty well." 

 

– Capsules compiled by Tom Grady, Tim Hower and Shannon Leslie