High School Sports

Observer Sweet 16 girls, No. 14: Hickory Ridge

Hickory Ridge girls basketball player Gabby Smith
Hickory Ridge girls basketball player Gabby Smith

Girls’ No. 14 Hickory Ridge Ragin’ Bulls

Coach: Tolonda Simmons (third year as Hickory Ridge head coach)

2014-15 notes: Finished 19-6 overall, 13-3 in the South Piedmont Conference to tie for second in the league. ... Lost 71-23 in the second round of the 3A state playoffs to Hickory.

Returning starters: Laura McManimen (5-6, Sr., G); Gabby Smith (5-11, F, So.); Stacia Means (5-8, SG, Sr.); Sherise Jones (6-0, C, So.); Sydney Miller (6-0, F, Jr.)

Key newcomer: Nia Daniels (5-9, F)

Why them: Simmons returns all five starters from a team that won 19 games last season, led by all-conference guard Laura McManimen (13.6 ppg) and Gabby Smith (13.6 ppg). Hickory Ridge looks to win the conference title and go much deeper than its second-round run last season.

Jay Edwards