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2017-18 high school girls basketball preview

By: Warren Mayes


Here is the obvious — the Incarnate Word Academy girls basketball team should be really good again. But that’s the case pretty much every year.

The Red Knights won the Class 4 state championship last season. The program was third in 2015 after winning it all from 2012-14 in Class 4.

In all, Incarnate Word has eight state titles, including seven under coach Dan Rolfes.

Rolfes has four starters back from last year. It would have been five but the Red Knights will be without junior Kiki Britzmann this season. She tore her ACL last summer and underwent surgery. If she were to return, Rolfes said, it would be late in the season. Britzmann averaged 11.8 points last season.

Incarnate Word opened 2017-18 play at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 at home against Ladue. Before the game, there was a ceremony to hang the championship banner in the gym.

Rolfes needs just three wins to reach 500 in his career. His career record is 497-75.

“That means I have had a lot of really good kids,” Rolfes said. “Good coaches usally have good players. It’s a nice honor to reach 500. But I’m realistic enough to know it’s about the players and not about me.”

St. Joseph’s Academy, coming off a 20-10 season, would like to replace Incarnate Word as the Metro Women’s Athletic Association champion.

The MICDS Rams were 24-3 last year and won the Metro League. Coach Scott Small has seven players and four starters back this season.

The Lafayette Lancers went 18-8 last season. Coach Dave Witter have five starters returning.

Parkway Central and Parkway North both had fine seasons in 2016-17 and the programs would like to build on that.

Here is a look at the high school girls basketball teams in alphabetical order with input from the coaches:

EUREKA WILDCATS

2016-17 record: 16-10. Tied for second at 7-2 in Suburban West Conference. Lost Class 5 District 5 game 54-50 to Lafayette.

Coach: James Alsup, entering 20th year as head coach at Eureka with 232-184 record.

Returning: 5 players, 1 starter

Offense: Transition and motion

Defense: Man-to-man full court and half court.

Team captains: Seniors Jordan Thompson, Lauren Glascock and Claire Martin

Players to watch this season: Senior guard Jordan Thompson, senior forward Lauren Glascock, sophomore guard Annika Herbert [lone starter back] and sophomore guard Sydney Thurman

Newcomers expected to contribute: Sophomore Jillian Oligschlaeger and freshman Kate Hillyer

Players on the team who have signed with a college: None.

Team strengths: Athleticism

Goals: Have a series of 10 team goals that starts with “Do the right thing” and ends with our second state championship.

Suburban West Conference teams: Eureka, Fox, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South and Seckman

Favorites to win the conference: Looks to be wide open again this season.

Teams in Class 5 District 4: Eureka, Francis Howell, Lafayette, Marquette and Washington

Final thought: “I am excited for this team and program to grow as the season go on,” Allsup said. “We do not have a lot of returning varsity game experience, but will only get better with time. There is a lot of talent here. It just needs to mature.”

INCARNATE WORD ACADEMY

2016-17 record: 28-4. Finished 6-0 to win Metro Women’s Athletic Association. Won Class 4 District 7 championship with win over St. Charles. Won Class 4 state championship with a 59-37 win over St. Pius X.

Coach: Dan Rolfes, entering 18th year as head coach at Incarnate Word.

Returning: 7 players, 4 starters

Offense: Up tempo. Spread the floor.

Defense: Man-to-man. Will pick it up full court or half court depending on the game.

Team captains: Not named yet.

Players to watch this season: Senior Sonya Morris, the leading scorer from last year with 15 points. junior point guard Marisa Warren [she’s had a really good summer] and junior center Rickie Woltman

Newcomers expected to contribute: Kids who been in program will get getting a shot this season like senior guard Tyler Flowers, junior guard Drew Kell and sophomore guard Kate Rolfes

Players on the team who have signed with a college: Morris signed with DePaul. Woltman has verbally committed to Purdue.

Team strengths: Well balanced. Have a good point guard, good post, kids who can shoot. Balanced teams are the hardest to beat.

Goals: State championship.

Teams in Metro Women’s Athletic Association: Cor Jesu, Incarnate Word Academy, Nerix Hall, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline and Visitation Academy

Favorites to win the conference: Incarnate Word Academy. There are some other good teams. The conference is tough every year. St. Joseph’s and Nerinx Hall will give people problems.

Teams in Class 4 District 7: Fort Zumwalt East, Incarnate Word Academy, Jennings, McCluer, Riverview Gardens, St. Charles and St. Charles West

Final thought: “I’ve been coaching bsaketball for a while and I know there needs to be good team chemistry or there will be problems,” Rolfes said. “Kids need to like each other. I’ve got a great group of girls who get along and I enjoy having them in the gym every day. It makes it nice they are as talented as they are. I feel lucky. We have some really good athletes.”

LAFAYETTE LANCERS

2016-17 record: 18-8. Tied for second at 7-2 in Suburban West Conference. Lost Class 5 District 5 championship game to Washington.

Coach: Dave Witter, entering fourth year as head coach at Lafayette.

Returning: 7 players, 5 starters

Offense: Multiple half court play sets.

Defense: Man-to-man.

Team captains: Not named.

Players to watch this season: senior guard/forward Maddy Devereux; senior guard Lydia Harris; senior forward Jordyn Terry; junior forward Tara Robbe; and junior guard Sydnie Wolf

Newcomers expected to contribute: sophomore guard Kayla Carpenter; sophomore forward Maddie Chester

Players on the team who have signed with a college: none

Team strengths: Returning upperclassmen with varsity experience. Team chemistry.

Goals: Improve throughout the course of the season and continue to develop team chemistry. Hoping to be competitive at the conference and district levels.

Suburban West Conference teams: Eureka, Fox, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South and Seckman

Favorites to win the conference: Eureka and Parkway South

Teams in Class 5 District 4: Eureka, Francis Howell, Lafayette, Marquette and Washington

Final thought: “We’re very excited to see how a team with returning starters can mesh with key newcomers for a competitive season,” Witter said. “The conference is always tough and will help prepare for postseason if we can stay healthy and play selflessly for each other. That should be our biggest asset.”

MARQUETTE MUSTANGS

2016-17 record: 12-13. Finished fifth at 6-3 in Suburban West Conference. Lost Class 5 District 5 game to Francis Howell.

Coach: Timothy Bowdern, entering fourth year as head coach at Marquette.

Returning: 4 players, 2 starters

Offense/Defense: We will be a very fast and athletic team. So we looking to push the ball on offense and extend the floor on defense.

Players on team to watch this season: Returning starters Sophomore Autumn Brown and junior Chayleb Deves. Both of these players have devoted a lot of time to training. They should be fun to watch.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshmen Kennedi Watkins and Olivia Meyer

Team strengths: Very quick and athletic.

Goals: We are just looking to learn as fast as we can. We have a very young and inexperienced team. We have a tough schedule in the beginning, but we are looking forward to using those game lessons for conference play and post season play.

Suburban West Conference teams: Eureka, Fox, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South and Seckman

Favorites to win the conference: Lafayette, Oakville, Eureka and Parkway South

Teams in Class 5 District 4: Eureka, Francis Howell, Lafayette, Marquette and Washington

Final thought: “Our coaches and players are excited to get the season started,” Bowdern said. “It should be a fun season. I look forward to watching this team grow.”

MICDS RAMS

2016-17 record: 24-3. Finished 7-0 to win Metro League. Lost Class 4 District 5 game to Parkway Central.

Coach: Scott Small, entering 15th year as head coach at MICDS.

Returning: 7 players, 4 starters

Offense: Motion

Defense: Full court pressure

Team captains: Seniors Lindsay Parks, Landys Hughes, Jordyn Brooks and Kayla Work

Players to watch this season: All of them. Will be led by four solid seniors and Jessica Brooks as a sophomore forward.

Newcomers expected to contribute: Junior forward Olivia Proctor is returning after a year off.

Players who have signed with a college: Not yet, but we will definitely have at least a couple.

Team strengths: Team basketball. Lots of kids can hurt you.

Goals: Win conference and make another state run.

Teams in Metro League: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS,Principia, Villa Duchesne and Westminster Christian Academy

Favorites to win the conference: Lutheran North and MICDS.

Teams in Class 4 District 5: John Burroughs, MICDS, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Villa Duchesne, Visitation Academy and Westminster Christian Academy

Teams in Class 5 District 5: Kirkwood, Parkway South, Summit and Ursuline

Final thought: “We have a great group of seniors that will set a great example and push us competitively,” Small said. “We have a small team this year [with] nine kids, but [who are] really committed to playing great basketball. I am excited to see what these girls accomplish this year and how they tackle the challenges in front of them.”

PARKWAY CENTRAL COLTS

2016-17 record: 20-7. Finished first at 4-0 in Suburban Central National Division. Won Suburban Central Conference over Jennings. Lost Class 4 District 5 championship game to Parkway North.

Coach: Brian Guilfoyle, entering eighth year as head coach at Parkway Central. Record of 111-74.

Returning: 6 players, 4 starters

Offense: Motion.

Defense: Various defenses. Mainly man-to-man.

Team captains: Olivia Stephens

Players to watch this season: Junior guard Olivia Stephens, sophomore forward Jayla Kelly, sophomore forward Claudia Cooke, sophomore guard Kennedy Moore and sophomore guard Brooke Hilton

Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman guard Cynaa Coleman, senior forward Jordyn Perry, sophomore guard Mackenna Marshall, sophomore guard Talia Emch and junior forward Megan Stephens

Players who have signed with a college: None

Team strengths: We will hustle and work hard the entire game.

Goals: Getting better as a team and developing a great team chemistry.

Teams in Suburban Central Conference: National Division: Clayton, University City, Ladue, Parkway Central, Parkway West. American Division: Maplewood, McCluer South-Berkeley, Jennings, Affton and Normandy

Favorites to win the conference: Ladue.

Teams in Class 4 District 5: John Burroughs, MICDS, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Villa Duchesne, Visitation Academy and Westminster Christian Academy

Favorites to win district: Parkway North and MICDS.

Final thought: “Our schedule is very competitive and it will challenge us to get better throughout the season,” Guilfoyle said. “We are a young and talented team that is looking to grow on and off the court.”

PARKWAY NORTH VIKINGS

2016-17 record: 24-6. Finished first at 5-0 in Suburban XII North Division. Won Class 4 District 5 championship by beating Parkway Central. Lost 62-47 to Incarnate Word Academy in Class 4 quarterfinals.

Coach: Brett Katz. Entering sixth year as head coach at Parkway North.

Returning: 8 players, 2 starters

Offense: Transition

Defense: Man-to-man

Team captains: Amaya Stovall and Je’Naiya Davis

Players to watch this season: Senior point guard Amaya Stovall, senior forward Addison Lampert, junior guard Je’Naiya Davis, junior guard Caiyln Stacker, sophomore guard Amy Jordan and sophomore guard Mackenzie Rhodes

Newcomers expected to contribute: Freshman guard Aliyah Williams

Players who have signed with a college: Amaya Stovall has signed with DePaul.

Team strengths: We feel that we have very good team speed.

Goals: Win our conference, district and advance to the state playoffs.

Teams in Suburban XII Conference: South Division: Kirkwood, Parkway North, Pattonville, Ritenour, Summit, Webster Groves. North Division: Hazelwood Central, Hazelwood East, Hazelwood West, McCluer, McCluer North and Riverview Gardens

Favorites to win the conference: Kirkwood

Teams in Class 4 District 5: John Burroughs, MICDS, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Villa Duchesne, Visitation Academy and Westminster Christian Academy

Final thought: “We are having quality practices and I feel our captains are doing a great job keeping practice very competitive,” Katz said. “We are not very big this year, but we still have good skill. Our schedule is very demanding, as always, and will challenge and prepare us for tournament time. Our staff is really excited about our players and the upcoming season.”

PARKWAY SOUTH PATRIOTS

2016-17 record: 15-13. Finished 8-1 to win Suburban West Conference. Lost to Kirkwood in Class 5 District 6 championship game.

Coach: Thomas Williams, entering 17th year as head coach at Parkway South.

Returning: 3 players, 2 starters

Offense: Up-tempo and will look to score in transition.

Defense: Will press and mix it up with multiple looks.

Team captains: Not named.

Players to watch this season: Junior Lani Thompson, senior Sydney Gaughan, senior Mia Patterson.

 

Team strengths: Good size overall. We will have the ability for multiple offensive threats each night.

Goals: Win conference and districts and to get better each day.

Suburban West Conference teams: Eureka, Fox, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Northwest, Oakville, Parkway South and Seckman

Favorites to win the conference: Lafayette and Marquette

Teams in Class 5 District 5: Kirkwood, Parkway South, Summit and Ursuline

Final thought: “I look forward to an exciting year with a great group of girls on the team,” Williams said. “The players are hungry and want to make the year memorable.”

PARKWAY WEST LONGHORNS

2016-17 record: 6-20. Finished fourth a 1-4 in Suburban Central American Division. Lost Class 4 District 6 game to St. Clair.

Coach: Allie Boedeker, entering second year as head coach at Parkway West.

Returning: 4 players, 2 starters

Offense: Inside-outside game.

Defense: Mix of man and zone.

Team captains: Not named.

Players to watch this season: Junior point guard Tess Allgeyer, sophomore center Ashley Smith, junior forward Kara Swihart and junior guard Jessica Wolf

Newcomers expected to contribute: Junior guard BrianaVietmeier and junior guard Harmauhauny Faulkner

Players on the team who have signed with a college: None.

Team strengths: Teamwork, communication and coachability.

Goals: Continue to build our program and get better every day.

Teams in Suburban Central Conference: National Division: Clayton, University City, Ladue, Parkway Central, Parkway West. American Division: Maplewood, McCluer South-Berkeley, Jennings, Affton and Normandy

Favorites to win the conference: Parkway Central and Ladue

Teams in Class 4 District 6: Pacific, Parkway West, St. Clair, St. Francis Borgia, Sullivan and Union.

Final quote: “These girls have worked hard since Day One,” Boedeker said. “They are extremely coachable and continue to improve daily. I can’t wait to see how we fair this season.”

PRINCIPIA PANTHERS

2016-17 record: 21-7. Tied for fourth at 2-4 in Metro League. Lost to Whitfield in Class 3 District 4 game.

Coach: Shad Nichols, entering ninth year as head coach at Principia.

Returning: 7 players, 4 starters

Offense: Analytical emphasis on putting players in positions which are their strengths which includes as many high value shots as possible.

Defense: Match-up zone

Team captains: Kate Hinds and Cameron Bania

Players to watch this season: Junior forward Georgia Rather, senior shooting guard Kate Hinds, senior point guard Cameron Bania, sophomore forward Jordan Fredrickson and junior guard Tessa Boyman

Newcomers expected to contribute: Junior guard Gracie Paul, senior guard Kiki Holmes, sophomore guard Lauren Arens and freshman forward Aria McMullin

Players who have signed with a college: None.

Team strengths: Unity in purpose, which in one example includes over 450 hours the players put in collectively to offseason basketball improvement.

Goals: Keeping Flight 2018 flying high, turbulence free and making sure that it arrives at the team’s designated end of season destination.

Teams in Metro League: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia and Westminster Christian Academy

Favorites to win the conference: Lutheran North and MICDS

Teams in Class 3 District 4: Bayless, Bishop DuBourg, Hancock, Herculaneum, Valley Park and Whitfield

Final thought: “The best season ever includes playing in the first possible date in Missouri, hosting our first ever home tournament, playing live on ESPN3 at 10 p.m. in the Norm Stewart Classic versus Father Tolton in Columbia, hosting class 3 two-time defending state champion Strafford in January, and playing in a Martin Luther King Shootout in Chicago and then the Visitation Homecoming,” Nichols said. “I’m really excited for the opportunities our players have to enjoy playing together and seeing them grow into being the best they can possibly be.”

ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY ANGELS

2016-17 record: 20-10. Finished second at 4-2 in Metro Women’s Athletic Association. League. Won Class 5 District 4 championship by beating Nerinx Hall. Finished fourth in state with a 64-51 loss to Rock Bridge.

Coach: Julie Goessling Matheny, entering 20th year as head coach at St. Joseph’s. Coaches with twin brother, Bob Goessling, before taking the varsity helm, both coached the JV team for 7 years. Completing the varsity coaching staff is Tim Stock, De Smet Jesuit alum and CBC Memphis, Hall of Fame basketball player, who has been on staff since 2007.

Returning: 3 starters

Offense: Losing over 60 percent of team scoring to graduation … time will tell where the points will come from. Needless to say, we will be counting on our seniors to pick up the slack. May need new backboards by Christmas.

Defense: You may see a different look in the Angels defense this year. I still like our go to 3-2 zone but, I believe we have some wheels to mix it up and have run and jump when necessary.

Team captains: Seniors Mary LaBelle and Alex Kerr

Players to watch this season: Sennior Alex Kerr, senior Ann Marie Tyson and junior Annie Lally

Newcomers expected to contribute: Senior Anna Welsh, a transfer from Texas, and freshman Michelle Origliasso

Players who have signed with a college: Alex Kerr with Missouri S&T

Team strengths: They all like each other and they understand the SJA motto: “Not I but We.”

Goals: Win a state championship – that never changes.

Teams in Metro Women’s Athletic Association: Cor Jesu, Incarnate Word Academy, Nerix Hall, St. Joseph’s Academy, Ursuline and Visitation Academy

Favorites to win the conference: Incarnate Word Academy remains a powerhouse. Nerinx hired a good coach and has a lot of talent.

Teams in Class 5 District 4: Hazelwood East, Ladue, Nerinx Hall, Ritenour and St. Joseph’s Academy

Final thought: “I am looking forward to another explosive season,” Matheny said. “If team energy is a gauge for success, we are at full throttle. I love my Angels.”

WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY WILDCATS

2016-17 record: 5-21. Finished last at 1-5 in Metro League. Lost to MICDS in Class 4 District 5 game.

Coach: Shannon Lawrence, entering third year as head coach at Westminster.

Returning: 6 players, 3 starters

Players to watch this season: Varsity team members are Gabrielle Adams, Carsyn Beachy, Jordan Haeusser, Krisen Keys, Macey Lottmann, Dani Mabry, Kiley McKee, and Claire Sanden. Wildcats have one senior, five seniors and two sophomores.

Goals: Conditioning. Communication. Preparation. Selflessness. Courage.

Teams in Metro League: John Burroughs, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, MICDS, Principia, Villa Duchesne and Westminster Christian Academy

Teams in Class 4 District 5: John Burroughs, MICDS, Parkway Central, Parkway North, Villa Duchesne, Visitation Academy and Westminster Christian Academy

Final thought: “We are working hard each day to bring our very best in practice and in games,” Lawrence said. “I am excited to watch our upperclassmen step up in their leadership roles on and off the court. This is a wonderful group of young ladies to be able to work with, and I am looking forward to season officially kicking off.”

 

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