Prep Insider Blog

Girls High School Basketball Team Previews: Union County

Here are girls basketball previews for teams in Union County.

The capsules were compiled by Observer correspondent Jay Edwards.

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

CENTRAL ACADEMY

Head Coach: Angelia James (1st year Central Academy basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 23-61.

2016-17 Record: 1-22 (0-9 in the Rocky River Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Rocky River Conference/2A.

Returning Starters (5): Kiara Patterson, Sr.; Maddie McBride, So.; Maddie Almond, Jr.; Tyra Brunt, Sr.; Lehana Jones, Sr. Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: Central Academy has struggled mightily in the last two seasons going 4-44 in that span. But 1st-year coach, Angelia James, returns all five starters, including three seniors in Brunt, Jones and Patterson, and believes she can help breathe new life into her Cougar team. Central Academy has nowhere to go but up in the Rocky River conference that should be much more balanced without traditional powers, Monroe and Parkwood (moved to SCC), and get into playoff contention.

--JAY EDWARDS

CUTHBERTSON

Head Coach: Joel Allen (10th year as Cuthbertson basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 95-86.

2016-17 Record: 18-9 (4-6 in the Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC)).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference.

Returning Starters (4): Kayla Young, Jr., PG (5-6); Lauryn Hardiman, So., SF (5-7); Kaylin McKinney, Jr., SG (5-5); Lillian Anderson, So., C (5-11). Key Newcomers: Maddie Dillinger, Fr., PF (6-0); Trinity Cherry-Brown, So., SF; Kamaria Sherriff, Fr., PF (5-9).

Outlook: The Cavaliers look to carry the momentum after winning the SCC tournament championship last season. Cuthbertson returns four starters, led by all-SCC performers in Hardiman (12 ppg, 8 rpg) and Young (9 ppg, 5 rpg), which should put them right in the thick of a league that got a lot harder with Charlotte Catholic, Monroe and Parkwood joining the race.

--JAY EDWARDS

FOREST HILLS

Head Coach: Marc Richardson (1st year as Forest Hills’ basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 4-18 (1-8 in the Rocky River Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Rocky River Conference.

Returning Starters (4): Kendall Howard, Sr., G/F; Charity Allen, Sr., F/C; Summer Hamilton, Jr., F/C; Jelaysia Howard, Jr., G/F. Key Newcomers: Zanobi Blakeney, G; Hope Benson, Fr., F/C; Tianna Sloan, So., G.

Outlook: 1st-year, Forest Hills’ head coach, Marc Richardson, is confident he can help the Yellow Jackets to a quick turnaround after the same team went 4-18 last season. Forest Hills returns four starters, led by the senior duo of Allen and Howard, which should give them a chance to get back in contention in the Rocky River conference and in the playoff hunt.

--JAY EDWARDS

MARVIN RIDGE

Head Coach: Jamie Ellis (2nd year as Marvin Ridge basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 14-10

2016-17 Record: 14-12 (6-4 in the Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC)).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference.

Returning Starters (4): Megan Glover, Sr., G (5-4); Sara Hardwick, Jr., G/F (5-8); Ryley Keefe, So., G (5-10); Ava Fox, Sr., G/F. Key Newcomers: Noble Tsumas, Fr., G.

Outlook: Marvin Ridge has steadily improved each of the two seasons after a 0-25 year in 2014-15, winning 14 games a year ago. Coach Jamie Ellis took over two games into last season and returns four starters this year, which should give the Mavericks a chance to take another step forward. The core of this team, Glover, Hardwick, Keefe and Fox, are eager to contend for SCC title and make a playoff run.

--JAY EDWARDS

METROLINA CHRISTIAN

Head Coach: Jarmark Parker (5th year as Metrolina Christian basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 37-69

2016-17 Record: 13-11 (5-5 in the Metrolina Athletic Conference (MAC)).

2017-18 Conference: Metrolina Athletic Conference.

Returning Starters (4): Bella Sheprow, Sr., G (5-7); Kori McClain, Jr., G (5-7); Caroline McGee, Jr., F (5-11); Bella Cranford, Sr., F (5-8). Key Newcomers: Emily Waters, Fr., G (5-7); Audrey Strange, Fr., F (5-10); Logan Bjornson, Sr., G (5-7).

Outlook: Metrolina Christian has increased their win total in each of the past three seasons.

This year, with four starters back, led by all-state, senior guard, Bella Sheprow (16 ppg, 6 rpg, 6 spg, likely the first 1,000-point scorer), the Warriors look to challenge Concord First Assembly for MAC bragging rights and be a factor in the postseason.

--JAY EDWARDS

MONROE

Head Coach: Leroy Osborne (4th year as Monroe basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 65-15.

2016-17 Record: 23-5 (9-1 in the Rocky River Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC).

Returning Starters: Angel Roland, Jr., C/F (6-1); Jasmine Reddick, Jr., C (6-2); Jasmia Parsons, So., G (5-8). Key Newcomers: Karynton Clark, Fr., PG (5-3); Ashli Walker, Fr., G (5-7).

Outlook: Coach Leroy Osborne has proven he can win games, averaging 22 victories per season in his three-year tenure. But without any starters returning, Osborne has a big challenge as the Redhawks move into the competitive, SCC. Monroe will depend on its young but promising frontcourt in Roland and Reddick while hoping guards like Clark, Parson and Walker can grow up quickly, giving them a chance to stay in thick of the SCC race.

--JAY EDWARDS

PARKWOOD

Head Coach: Brian Morris (2nd year as Parkwood head coach).

Coaching Career Record: 73-31.

2016-17 Record: 17-9 (8-2 in the Rocky River Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC)/3A.

Returning Starters (3): Kennedie Gaither, So., PG (5-8); Molly Setliff, Sr., G/F (5-8); Addison Laney, Jr., F (5-10). Key Newcomers: N/A.

Outlook: The Rebels take on a new challenge in the ultra-competitive, Southern Carolinas’ conference, and will lean on their dynamic backcourt with Gaither (12 ppg) and Setliff (14 ppg) early on. Parkwood believes they can be a factor in the new league, but must have some younger playmakers step forward to earn a good playoff seed.

--JAY EDWARDS

PIEDMONT

Head Coach: Kasey Brooks (1st year as Piedmont basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 8-18.

2016-17 Record: 17-11 (4-6 in the Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC)).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference/3A.

Returning Starters (3): Caroline Tripp, Sr., G (5-10); Sara Griffin, Sr., PG (5-10); Lauren Whitley, Sr., G (5-9). Key Newcomers: Ashley Caraway, Fr., PG (5-4).

Outlook: Piedmont will look to all-conference performers in Griffin (11.2 ppg) and Tripp (10 ppg) to help keep the momentum of a team that has won 39 games in the last two years. If Griffin/Tripp can find consistent help from their supporting cast, the Panthers are sure to be right in the middle of the SCC battle and in solid playoff position.

--JAY EDWARDS

PORTER RIDGE

Head Coach: Ina Thompson (13th year as Porter Ridge basketball coach).

2016-17 Record: 1-23 (0-12 in the Southwestern 4A Conference (SW4A)).

2017-18 Conference: Southwestern 4A Conference.

Returning Starters (3): Dominique Taylor, Sr., F (5-11); Brianna Warren, Sr., F (5-11); Kenlynn Walker, So., G (5-4).

Other Key Returnees: FILL Key Newcomers: FILL

Outlook: Coach Ina Thompson and her Porter Ridge girls’ basketball program has established a strong tradition in the short history of the school. But last year was a major struggle as the Pirates slipped to 1-23 overall, including 0-12 in the SW4A conference. Porter Ridge does return three starters, but life won’t get any easier in a tougher league with Hickory Ridge joining. The Pirates will look to be a much more competitive team this season and take some steps back in the right direction.

--JAY EDWARDS

SUN VALLEY

Head Coach: Jeremy Waldrup (4th year as Sun Valley basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 44-36

2016-17 Record: Southern Carolinas’ Conference (SCC).

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference.

Returning Starters (1): Amanda Cherry, Sr., G/F (5-9). Key Newcomers: Nia Clayton, Sr., G (5-6); Jaylynn Carter.

Outlook: The Spartans had their best season in over a decade last year winning 18 games, but return only one starter for the 2017-18 campaign. However, that starter is two-SCC player of the year, Amanda Cherry (15 ppg, 6 apg, 3 spg), who will need some help, but is capable of helping Sun Valley remain a conference contender and dangerous postseason matchup.

--JAY EDWARDS

UNION ACADEMY

Head Coach: Crystal Trull (2nd year as Union Academy basketball coach).

Coaching Career Record: 21-51.

2016-17 Record: 8-15 (2-8 in the Uwharrie Athletic Conference).

2017-18 Conference: Piedmont Athletic Conference 7 (PAC 7)/1A.

Returning Starters (5): Brianna Pressley, Sr., PG; Lauryn Boyd, Sr., F/C; Ashlyn Hord, Sr., F/C; Kelsey Havican, So., G; Samantha Mussati, Sr., G. Key Newcomers: Makayla Smith, Jr., G; Savannah Brooks, Fr., G.

Outlook: 2nd-year Union Academy coach, Crystal Trull, returns all but one varsity player from a year ago, including all five starters, which gives the Cardinals the experience to make a move in the new, PAC 7 conference. The Cardinals will look a strong senior class led by Pressley (17 ppg, 4 spg) and Boyd (12 ppg, 12 rpg) to try and finish in the middle of the league standings and in playoff position.

--JAY EDWARDS

WEDDINGTON

Head Coach: Aaron Brown (1st year as Weddington head coach).

Coaching Career Record: 7-35.

2016-17 Record: 13-12, 4-6 in the Southern Carolinas’ Conference.

2017-18 Conference: Southern Carolinas’ Conference.

Returning Starters (4): Erin Addison, Sr., PG/SG (5-5); Blaire Brown, Sr., G (5-4); Karah Katzbaugh, So., SG (5-5); Maggie Snyder, Sr., G/F (5-7). Key Newcomers: Celeste Howard, Sr., G/F (5-4); Anna James, Jr., G/F (5-8).

Outlook: After averaging 25 wins per season from 2012-2016, the Warriors were up and down last year at 13-12. Life won’t be getting any easier for first-year Weddington coach, Aaron Brown and company, in the brutal SCC. But Weddington has a veteran team, led by Addison (15 ppg), Katzbaugh and Snyder, who will make the Warriors a factor in the league and into the postseason.

--JAY EDWARDS

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