Prep Insider Blog

Girls High School Basketball Previews: Catawba County

By Langston Wertz Jr.

lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

Here are girls basketball previews for teams in Catawba County.

The capsules were compiled by Observer correspondent Jay Edwards.

For a complete list of capsules produced so far, visit this link

BANDYS

Head Coach: Nicki Sigmon (1st year as Bandys’ basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 8-16 (6-8 in the Southern District 7 (SD7)).

2017-18 Conference: South Fork 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (1): McKenzie Deal, Sr., G (5-8).

Key Newcomers: Mallorie Haines, Fr., G (5-8).

Outlook: The Trojans have a proud basketball tradition averaging 26 victories per season from 2009-2016. But last year, Bandys had a tough year at 8-16. This season, Coach Sigmon, a Bandys graduate, is looking help bring back their winning ways, but it won’t be easy in her first year in charge with only one starter back in Deal, in a tough South Fork 2A conference.

--JAY EDWARDS

BUNKER HILL

Head Coach: Randy Joines (8th year as Bunker Hill basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 158-282.

2016-17 Record: 2-23 (2-12 in the Southern District 7 (SD7)).

2017-18 Conference: Northwest Foothills 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (3): Crystany White, Jr., G; Ashlynn Stoker, So., G; Maddison Stotts, So., F/C.

Key Newcomers: Addie Wray, Fr.

Outlook: After back-to-back winning seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15, Bunker Hill has struggled winning just six games in the last two years. But with three starters back, led by White (11 ppg) and Stotts (8 ppg), the Bears have reasons to believe they finish in the upper half of the league standings and get back to the playoffs.

--JAY EDWARDS

FRED T. FOARD

Head Coach: Brandy Dawkins (1st year as Fred T. Foard basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 6-19 (3-11 in Northwestern 3A/4A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Northwest Foothills’ 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (5): Abbey Setzer, Sr., G/F; Paiden Dula, Jr., G; Destiny Garvin, Jr., F; Jillian Parrish, Sr., G; Payton Johnson, Sr., G.

Other Key Returnees: Peyton Phillips, Sr., F.

Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: The Tigers have struggled in recent years with 10 wins combined in the last four seasons. But this year, with all five starters back, led by senior, Setzer, Fred T. Foard should be much more competitive in the Northwest Foothills’ 2A Conference. First-year coach, Brandy Dawkins, still has a tough task in helping her team climb the conference standings and develop winning mentality.

--JAY EDWARDS

HICKORY

Head Coach: Barbara Helms (14th year as Hickory basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 364-44 at Hickory; 439-81 overall.

2016-17 Record: 20-7 (9-5 in the Northwestern 3A/4A).

2017-18 Conference: Northwestern 3A/4A Conference.

Returning Starters (2): Shelby Darden, So., F/C (6-5); Makayla Hill, Jr., F (5-9).

Key Newcomers: Finley Lefevers, Fr., F (5-11).

Outlook: Coach Barbara Helms consistently produces one of the best teams in the state as her Red Tornadoes have averaged 24 win per season in the last four years. Hickory will look to win big again as sophomore forward, Darden and junior forward, Hill, lead a team that hopes to win another Northwestern 3A/4A conference title and be a factor deep into the postseason in February or even March.

--JAY EDWARDS

HICKORY CHRISTIAN

Head Coach: Chris Sigmon (1st year as Hickory Christian basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 12-7 (7-4 in the NCISAA Southern Piedmont/1A).

2017-18 Conference: NCISAA Southern Piedmont/1A.

Returning Starters (4): Addy Sigmon, Jr., G/F (5-9); Courtney Howard, Jr., G (5-6); Emma Ledford, Jr., G (5-5); Regan Smith, So., G (5-6).

Key Newcomers: N/A

Outlook: First-year Hickory Christian coach, Chris Sigmon, returns four starters to a lineup that will be much more experienced, led by the trio of Howard, Ledford and Sigmon. Look for the Knights to stay in the middle of the pack in their league and get back to the postseason.

--JAY EDWARDS

MAIDEN

Head Coach: David Williams (2nd year as Maiden basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 66-50 overall; 21-8 at Maiden.

2016-17 Record: 21-8 (10-4 in the Southern District 7 (SD7) Conference.

2017-18 Conference: South Fork 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (2): Grace Herman, Sr., G/F; Elena Propst, Sr., PG.

Key Newcomers: Gracie Arrowood, So., PG (5-7); Cree Bass, So., G (5-6); Nadia Glover, So., F (6-0).

Outlook: Maiden won 21 games and advanced to the 3rd round of the playoffs last year in Coach Williams’ first season in charge, posting their second winning season in the last decade-plus. This year, the senior backcourt of Herman and Propst looks to lead a Blue Devil team getting a huge boost from their junior varsity squad that is 41-1 in the last two years. Sophomores, Arrowood, Bass and Glover should help give Maiden a good chance to contend for a South Fork 2A title and make another deep playoff run.

--JAY EDWARDS

NEWTON CONOVER

Head Coach: Andrea Stinson (5th year as Newton Conover basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 16-11 (11-3 in the Southern District 7 conference).

2017-18 Conference: South Fork 2A Conference.

Returning Starters (2): Chyna Cornwell, So., C (6-3); Ivy Eller, Sr., G/F (5-10).

Key Newcomers: Jahlea Peters, So., G (5-9); Aaliah Walton, So., G (5-6).

Outlook: The Red Devils are loaded up front with all-conference performers in Cornwell (15 ppg, 14 rpg, highly recruited) and Eller (10 ppg, 8.5 rpg). But former Charlotte Sting, North Meck standout, Coach Andrea Stinson will need a few backcourt playmakers to emerge to make a serious run at a South Fork 2A conference title and earn a favorable playoff seed.

--JAY EDWARDS

SAINT STEPHENS

Head Coach: Roger Shield (1st year as St. Stephens’ basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 14-12 (8-6 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Northwestern 3A/4A Conference.

Returning Starters (4): Catherine McMahan, Sr., G/F (5-9); Katie Morgan, Sr., F (6-0);

Amiya Randles, Sr., G (5-8); Tori Tomlinson, Sr. C (6-1).

Key Newcomers: Rylee Rhodes, So., F (5-8).

Outlook: 1st-year, St. Stephens’ coach (but longtime coach), Roger Shield, inherits a veteran team with four senior starters led by Randles (12 ppg) and Tomlinson (9 ppg, 9 rpg). The Indians should finish in the upper echelon of the NW3A/4A conference again and be a tough, playoff match with a senior-laden lineup.

--JAY EDWARDS

Note: Challenger did not respond to our request for preseason information.

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