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High School Girls Basketball Team Capsules: Gaston County

Ashbrook’s girls basketball team is shaping up to be one of Gaston County’s finest
Ashbrook’s girls basketball team is shaping up to be one of Gaston County’s finest

ASHBROOK

Head Coach: Juan Smith (16th year as Ashbrook basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 27-3 (13-1 to win the Big South Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Big South Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (5): Evonna McGill, Sr., F/C (6-0); Trinity Jones, Sr., G/F (5-7); Jada Davie, Sr., G (5-6); Shajada Davie, Jr., G/F (5-7); Summer Schloss, Jr., F/C (6-0).

Key Newcomers: Destiny Jones, So., C (6-1); Shayana Portee, Fr., G (5-6); Maria Portee, Fr., G (5-6).

Outlook: Ashbrook has established itself as one of best teams in the state in the last two season with 57 wins, including trips to the 3A state semifinals (2016) and 3A state quarterfinals (2017). This season, Coach Juan Smith could have his best team yet with all five starters back, led by seniors, McGill (17.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg), Jones (15 ppg) and Jada Davie (10.5 ppg), giving this Green Wave squad the experience and talent to three-peat as Big South conference champions and be a legitimate, 3A state title contender, again.

--JAY EDWARDS

BESSEMER CITY

Head Coach: Billy James (3rd year as Bessemer City basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 9-39.

2016-17 Record: 7-17 (4-12 in the South Piedmont 1A Conference (SPC 1A)).

2017-18 Conference: South Piedmont 1A Conference (SPC 1A).

Returning Starters (4): Anna Ramsey, Sr.; Ja’la Setzer, Sr.; Ja’Ciya Guthrie, Jr.; Kyerstin Cooper, So.

Key Newcomers: None

Outlook: Coach Billy James and his Bessemer City team made a big jump from two wins in his 1st year in charge to seven wins in year two last season. This year, the Yellow Jackets are ready to take another big step with four starters returning, led by seniors Ramsey (15 ppg) and Setzer (10 ppg). Bessemer City has the experience to move up the SPC 1A and maybe get back into the playoffs.

--JAY EDWARDS

CHERRYVILLE

Head Coach: Bud Black (interim head coach); Carrie Dalton (2nd year as Cherryville basketball coach will resume duties when recovers from broken leg).

2016-17 Record: 8-18 (5-10 in the South Piedmont 1A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: South Piedmont 1A Conference (SPC 1A).

Returning Starters (2): Camryn Bess, Sr., G/F (6-1); Skyler Miller, Sr., F (6-3).

Other Key Returnees: Maggie Barnes, Jr., G; Avery Grace Walker, So.; Grace Hester, So.

Outlook: Cherryville will looks to seniors, Bess (8 ppg, 9 rpg) and Miller (8 ppg, 6 rpg), to lead a younger team in what has become a very competitive SPC 1A conference. If some of Ironmen’s younger players can step up, Cherryville should have a good shot to finish in the middle of the league standings and battle for a playoff berth.

--JAY EDWARDS

EAST GASTON

Head Coach: Robert K. Hollis, III (1st year as East Gaston basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 107-123.

2016-17 Record: 4-20 (2-12 in the Big South Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Southwestern 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (1): Deja Ross, Sr., G (5-7).

Other Key Returnees: India Knox, Sr., F (5-10); Saylom Usher, So., F (5-10); Madison Mistry, Jr., G (5-5); Zhariyah Hall, So., G (5-7).

Key Newcomers: Aneas Price, Fr., G (5-7).

Outlook: The Warriors take on a new challenge moving from the Big South to the SW2A conference, where they should have a chance to more competitive. Despite having only one starter back from a 4-20 team, East Gaston has the overall experience to finish in the upper half of their new league and go back to the postseason.

--JAY EDWARDS

FORESTVIEW

Head Coach: Kevin Gurganus (7th year as Forestview basketball coach)

Coaching Career Record: 96-59.

2016-17 Record: Big South Conference/3A.

2017-18 Conference: Big South Conference.

Returning Starters (3): Sydney Bowen, Sr., G (5-7); Yasmine Love, Jr., F (5-9); Kenzley Dunlap, So., G (5-5).

Key Newcomers: None

Outlook: Forestview looks to be a Big South conference contender again as they join the pursuit of reigning league champion, Ashbrook. The Jaguars have the experience and talent in senior, Bowen, and junior, Love, and will be battle-tested, making them a dangerous postseason matchup.

--JAY EDWARDS

GASTON CHRISTIAN

Head Coach: Kevin Harrington (1st year as Gaston Christian basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 3-12 (0-7 in the Metrolina Athletic Conference (MAC)).

2017-18 Conference: Metrolina Athletic Conference/NCISAA 3A.

Returning Starters (4): Hannah Bonisa; Julianne Durham; Kylie Hill; Katie Moore.

Key Newcomers: McKenzie Hill.

Outlook: The Eagles have won three games in each of the past two seasons. While they do return four starters, Gaston Christian still has an uphill battle in the ultra-competitive, MAC, where make a move up the standings doesn’t seem likely just yet.

--JAY EDWARDS

GASTON DAY

Head Coach: Antonio Leach (2nd year as Gaston Day basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 8-13 (5-5 in the Metrolina Athletic Conference (MAC)).

2017-18 Conference: Metrolina Athletic Conference/NCISAA 2A.

Returning Starters (5): Olivia King, Jr., C/F (6-0); Cameron Harris, So., F (5-10); Mac Boston, Sr., G (5-3); Zaria Clark, Fr., G (5-9); Trisha Andres, Fr., G (5-3).

Key Newcomers: Sonyia Wilson; Portia Shouse.

Outlook: Gaston Day was extremely young last year, starting two, 8th-graders after not having a girls’ team in the 2015-16 season. The Spartans came back and posted a solid 8-13 mark last season. This year, with all five starters back, led by the core of Boston, King and Harris and freshmen, Andres and Clark, Gaston Day has the pieces to vault up the MAC standings and maybe into the playoff picture.

--JAY EDWARDS

HUNTER HUSS

Head Coach: Bobby Lipscomb (4th year as Hunter Huss basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 18-47 at Hunter Huss.

2016-17 Record: 9-15 (6-8 in the Big South Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Big South 3A Conference.

Returning Starters (5): Alexis Murriel, Sr., PG (5-6); Nykeria Chambers, Sr., G/F (5-8); Zariah Wallace, Sr., G/F (5-6); Diamond Huskey, Sr., PF (5-10); Nautica Falls, Jr., SG (5-5).

Key Newcomers: Latoya Watkins, Fr., F (6-2).

Outlook: Hunter Huss has improved in each season of Coach Lipscomb’s tenure going from three to five to nine wins last year. This season, the Huskies should make another move forward with five starters back, led by the backcourt of Falls (14 ppg) and Murriel (11 ppg). Coach Lipscomb believes his team can challenge for a Big South conference crown and be a factor deep into the 3A playoffs (lost 1st round last year).

--JAY EDWARDS

NORTH GASTON

Head Coach: Courtney Wellman (1st year as North Gaston basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 18-8 (12-2 in the Big South Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Big South 3A Conference.

Returning Starters (2): Spencer Britton, Jr., PG (5-5); Sarah Grace Hayes, Jr., SG (5-5).

Key Newcomers: None

Outlook: The Wildcats have established themselves as a contender in the Big South conference with back-to-back league runner-up finishes including a 12-2 record last season. This year, North Gaston will lean on their dynamic duo in the backcourt of Britton (15 ppg) and Hayes (10 ppg) to help keep in thick of the conference championship race and in position for a strong playoff seed.

--JAY EDWARDS

PIEDMONT COMMUNITY CHARTER

Head Coach: David Williams (8th year as Piedmont Charter basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 52-56.

2016-17 Record: 7-19 (2-14 in the South Piedmont 1A Conference (SPC 1A).

2017-18 Conference: South Piedmont 1A Conference.

Returning Starters (4): Demoniya Cole, Sr., G/F (5-9); Cydney Williams, Sr., PG (5-2); Courtney Williams, Sr., G (5-3); Andrea Bolding, Sr., G (5-8).

Key Newcomers: Zuri Greenlee, Fr., F (5-10); Taylor Prioleau, Fr., G (5-6); Jaden East, Fr., F (5-9).

Outlook: Piedmont Charter won just seven games last year, but with four starters back led by the team’s most valuable player in Cole (13 ppg, 12 rpg, 5 spg) and Courtney (7 ppg) and Cydney Williams (10 ppg).

--JAY EDWARDS

SOUTH POINT

Head Coach: Amanda Hodge (3rd year as South Point basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 3-20 (0-14 in the Big South 3A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Southwestern 2A (SW2A) Conference.

Returning Starters (2): Kayleigh Shreffer, Jr., PG; Abigail Morgan, So., F.

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: The Red Raiders have struggled of late, winning just eight games in the last three years combined, including 3-20 mark and a winless record in Big South conference play (0-14) last season. But Coach Amanda Hodge and her South Point team will look to find new life in the new, SW2A conference. Red Raiders’ junior point guard, Shreffer, looks to her team climb the conference ladder, but nothing will come easy in what will be a very competitive league.--JAY EDWARDS

Note: Highland Tech, Mountain Island Charter and Stuart Cramer did not respond to a request for preseason information.

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