Guest blogger, JCTMS Girls basketball coach, Michael G. Moore Jr. writes his Girls Basketball High School Preview for what would have been “June Summer Ball”.
Today we will preview the top teams and returning players in the Seventh Region and what we would have watched from these teams during the June Summer Ball month. The stats in the article below in ( ) represents the players points and rebounds from KHSAA.org.
DuPont Manual High School
After a 25-8 record last year and L.I.T. Runner-up, they return the majority of the main rotation and production, big things are expected from the Lady Crimsons. For such a young team last year who dealt with two seniors battling injuries most of the season, the Lady Crimsons had a remarkable year. They are looking to win a Region Title for first time since 2018 and a State Title since 2012. Still a young team with the potential of no seniors on the roster, this will be a core group that plays together for a couple more seasons. They will be led by a young trio featuring 6’0 forward in rising junior Kennedy Lee (12.2 and 9.6), led team by shooting 47.7% from the field, made 1st team All 7th Region last year, she has begun hearing from a few colleges who are starting to show interest. Also will have additional contributions from 5’8 combo guard rising sophomore Jakayla Thompson (9.5 and 3.4), shot 45.8% from the field, 71.6% from the free throw line, made 2nd team All 7th Region last year, she currently holds a Division 1 offer from Eastern Kentucky. As the team facilitator, 5’2 point guard rising sophomore Sydne Tolbert (8.8), made 2nd team All 7th Region last year, shot 44.4% from the field, 35.9% from 3 and 81.5% from the free throw line. Adding depth will be a huge factor in hopes of finding consistent contributions from others who will see quality minutes. Manual will have quality depth that will come from rising juniors 5’10 forward Daisha White (6.8 and 3.8) shot 44.3% from the field, Ayanna Stroud and Macy Waddle, rising sophomores Madison Brittle, Payton Bush, Lexi Weaver and Jazmine Chatman.
Louisville Central High School
After a 17-11 record last season, they return the majority of the production from their main rotation. Led by their top returning scorer, 5’6 point guard rising junior Amaya Asher (13.8 and 3.7) shot 43.1% from the field, is coming off a great sophomore season where she made 1st team All 7th Region. So far this spring and summer she has begun hearing from a few colleges who are showing interest, so a big junior year is on the horizon. Central has really built itself up into a contender going into the season and has quality depth and size with a young squad excited to be back together. Look for key contributions from 5’11 wing rising senior Taylor Price (12 and 5.1) made 1st team All 7th Region last year and this year will be a top contender for 7th Region Player of Year and shot 71.1 % from free throw line and 45.6% from the field. Along with rising seniors Wanda Stevenson (4.3 rebounds) and Navaria Green. The rising junior class brings a lot as well in Dejah Armstrong, 6’0 forward Briontanay Marshall (5.9 and 5.7) shot 43.9% from the field, CaMya Johnson who led the team in shooting 44.4% from 3 and along with the addition of 5’7 combo guard Tiffanie Floyd, who will add some additional fire power. The rising sophomore class adds more depth with 5’11 wing/forward Ja’la Douglas (8 and 5.5), who led the team in shooting 60% from the field and JaKyrra Bartlett.
Sacred Heart Academy
After a 32-3 record last season and capturing the L.I.T. and Region Championships, they will come into new the season having to replace key losses from the seniors who graduated. All the returning players will find themselves in more significant roles. They will be led by 5’7 point guard in rising sophomore Triniti Ralston (9.4), a returning starter, shot 42.7% from the field and 39.4% from 3, coming off an incredible freshmen season where she made 2nd team All 7th Region last year. This summer she has already heard from a few colleges who are showing interest. Another retuning starter is 5’11 wing rising junior Josie Gilvin (5.6 and 5.1), shot 51.1% from the field, who should be on the verge of a major junior season. With the benefit of quality depth, they will see who else can enhance their production. The Valkyries depth will come from rising seniors like 5’9 guard Aubree Littlejohn shot 50% from the field, Maggie Montano, Danielle Shafer along with 6’0 forward rising Junior Alex Wolff shot 70.2% from the field and 5’8 shooting guard Olivia Kaufman shot 38.9% from 3.
Christian Academy of Louisville
After a 24-8 record last season, they were 2A State Champs and Region Runner-up. CAL lost key seniors to graduation, who will need to be replaced. They return enough fire power to still make a run at the Region crown. They will be led by 5’7 point guard in rising junior Jaya McClure (11.3 and 4.2), led team with 74.7% from free throw line and had an amazing sophomore campaign where she made 2nd team All 7th Region last year. She currently holds Division 1 offers from Lipscomb, Bellarmine and Arkansas Pine Bluff. The Lady Centurions also will rely on fellow returning starter, rising senior 5’10 combo guard Sydney Raque (8.7 and 3.2) made 2nd team All 7th Region last year and this year will be a top contender for 7th Region Player of Year and shot 36.9% from the field. A few players will have more impactful roles like rising seniors 5’9 forward Alexa Breedlove (5.1 rebounds) who shot 50% from the field, 5’9 forward Delaney Gardner shot 45.2 % from the field and rising junior 5’8 guard Abigail Embry.
Louisville Male High School
After a 16-15 record last season as a young team, they return their main rotation. Even this year they will still be considered young as they have only one rising senior from last year’s rotation in Jayla Martin. The Lady Bulldogs have an incredible benefit of depth on the roster. Look for a big season from rising juniors 5’7 wing Alexis Carr (8.7 and 5.3), coming off last year shooting 42.5% from the field and 5’5 point guard Makya Grinter (7.9 and 2.9) shot 35.2% from the field. More production from others will give them quality depth in rising junior 5’7 wing Darian Griggs, along with the rising sophomore class featuring 5’6 shooting guard KaNiah Edelen (7.8), shot 38.5% from the field, who led the team in shooting 44.8% from 3 and 70.2% from the free throw line, 5’3 point guard Desaine Mhango (6.4) shot 36.4% from the field, 5’9 wing Ma’Kiya West shot 36.9% from the field and 70.0% from the free throw line. With a full year together and back again, expect to see this squad really improve and make a push in the Region.
Assumption High School
After a 20-12 record last season, they will see a whole new group leading the way this season after losing six seniors from their main rotation. Everyone returning will compete to see who steps into the starting lineup. Those returning, saw varsity minutes and will now be asked to lead the way. Amongst that group, will be 5’9 rising junior wing Nia Gandolfo, rising sophomores in 5’8 forward Maya Mandy and 5’6 guard Logan Ortega. For such a young team, finding out who can show leadership will be a major question to start the season.
Ballard High School
A new era begins under Head Coach Katherine Southerland. She takes over a young Lady Bruins squad who lost a lot of production to graduation. They will be led by returnees such as rising senior 5’6 guard McKenna Rice (6.7 and 3.1), rising sophomores 6’0 forward Samari Taylor (4.6 and 6.2) who shot 47% from the field last season and 5’7 guard Emory Donaldson.
Eastern High School
Coming into the new season the Lady Eagles will rely on veteran leadership. Led by 6’1 Forward Marissa Gasaway (17.4 points and 14.0 rebounds) shot 39.9% from the field, made the 2nd team All 7th Region last year and this year will be a top contender for 7th Region Player of the Year and is undecided on High School destination and 5’9 shooting guard Anna Grace McDaniel (10.2 points) -who led the team in shooting 41.9 % from 3 and 84.7% from the free throw line. Also looking for a huge season will be 5’8 shooting guard rising junior Taylor Seattle (7.1).
Top returning scorers from the following school teams (points and rebounds per game from KHSAA.org)
Ellie Heid (22.8) – Portland Christian
-Made the 2nd Team All 7th Region last year
Peyton Navert (12.9 and 7.7) – Presentation
Sonia Panchal (10.2) – KCD
Ayda Marshall (15.1)-St Francis High School
Charli Clark (9.7)-St Francis High School