Early look at girls basketball in the AAC Blue Tier

Sports

Eleven of the All-League players last year were underclassmen

All-American Conference High School Basketball

Champion won 20 games and the District in 2019

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Champion and Newton Falls spilt their series but it was the Golden Flashes who won 15 of their last 17 regularly scheduled contests to take the Blue Tier crown. Champion went onto win the Cortland District by knocking off LaBrae (56-27) in the Finals.

The league will be without last year’s Player of the Year Bailey Drapola (Brookfield) as well as First-Team selections Abby White (Champion) and Marissa Roberts (LaBrae). Also gone from last year is Edgewood – who left for the Chagrin Valley Conference.

2018-19 All-American Conference Blue Tier Standings
Champion – 12-2 (20-6)
Newton Falls – 11-3 (17-7)
Crestview – 9-5 (17-7)
Brookfield – 8-6 (15-9)
LaBrae – 7-7 (16-8)
Liberty – 7-7 (15-11)
Campbell Memorial – 1-13 (3-19)
Edgewood – 1-13 (2-21)

Around the League
Brookfield Warriors
Head Coach: Ken Forsythe
…Life without Bailey Drapola begins in Brookfield. Number 24 scored 20.6 points per game and grabbed 7.7 boards and dished out 3.2 assists a year ago as a senior. Returning are Becca Litz (8.9 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 4.7 apg) and Audrey Reardon (6.3 ppg, 2.4 apg). Litz finished with double-digit rebounds in all but 3 games last season.

Coach Forsythe points to defense. “Our style of play will be based on what we can do to get our opponents out of their normal routine because of how small we are. We’re very young and inexperienced. However, our work ethic will be driven to get better each day. I’d like to see us playing our best basketball in the middle of February.”

Campbell Memorial Red Devils
Coach: John Childers
…The Lady Red Devils welcome back 4 starters (Leila Kamal, Ca’Mill Marshall, Cayla Marshall and India Armour-Clark). Coach Childers indicates, “Going into this season, we’ll need to limit turnovers, play team basketball, commit to team defense and don’t settle for tough shots. We’re looking to continue our win trend – to exceed three wins that we had last year – to develop our younger players so that we can sustain that trend.”

Champion Golden Flashes
Coach: Michael Cole
…Coach Michael Cole expects his group to compete for a league title and why shouldn’t he with the talent returning at Champion. Seniors Allison Smith (9.3 ppg, 4 apg) and Savannah Dodrill (5.5 ppg, 4.3 spg) both are back as well as juniors Emma Gumont (15 ppg) and Brooke Whitt (10.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg). Dodrill broke the school record for most steals in a season. Gumont led the team in scoring last year. Whitt averaged a double-double as a sophomore.

The Golden Flashes – a year ago – won 20-games overall and a district championship. This season, coach Cole wants to his team “limit our turnovers and to continue to win the turnover-rebounding margins. We’ll play at a faster pace and we’ll use a deeper bench.”

Crestview Rebels
Coach: Aaron Blatch
…Last year, junior Krista Perry led the Lady Rebels in scoring with a 12.0 average. She also hauled down 8.4 rebounds. Senior Tanner Hoffer boasted a double-double average by scoring 11.7 and snaring 11.2 boards. Also returning are juniors Mara Halas (5.4 ppg, 3.7 apg), Payton Huff (4.7 ppg) and Shianna Mathes. Looking to take the next step in their development are Addison Bandy, Madi Wick and Chloe Downey – who are all looking to step into larger roles.

Coach Blatch indicates, “We have a deep team, and we’d like to use a lot of players. For the first time in my tenure, I feel like we are grown up. We played well against a difficult schedule last season, and we return all but one player, so our kids have competed in close games against good competition. We have a chance to be a very solid defensive team, especially on the defensive glass. Tanner (Hoffer) and Krista (Perry) are outstanding rebounders, and our guards get after it as well. Offensively, we will emphasize ball movement and finding balance in our scoring.”

LaBrae Vikings
Coach: Mandy Rowe
…”We expect our players to compete everyday in practice and in games,” says coach Rowe. “If our girls continue to display a solid work ethic and play with effort, good things will happen.” The Lady Vikings return a pair of starters in Heidi Reppart (3.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Paige Wilson (5.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.0 apg). However, they will have to replace five seniors including Olivia Williams (10.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg), Marissa Roberts (11.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg), Alexis Huscroft (8.4 ppg, 2.5 apg) and Jenna Reppart (6.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg).

Coach Rowe indicates, “We’ll be looking to our upperclassmen to fill leadership roles both on-and-off the court. We had a great summer with the girls in the gym. We often tell our players that each one of them has the ability to contribute in different ways to help our team become better. If we learn to piece all of it together, we’ll have the opportunity to have a successful season and compete in every game.”

Liberty Leopards
Coach: Deidre Watson
…Last season found the Lady Leopards in the District Finals for the first time ever. This year, they hope to build off of that momentum. “We have three returning starters and a strong freshman class,” points out coach Watson. “They must come together and perform to their fullest potential. We hope to have a strong defensive effort and patience on offense. Those are major points of emphasis this off-season.”

Liberty welcomes back three seniors in Shar’Da Williamson (16.8 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 3.4 spg), Delia Watson (11.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.6 apg) and Nevaeh Dixon (4.2 ppg). Williamson went for 20-plus points 9 times a year ago.

Newton Falls Tigers
Coach: Mark Baker
…Newton Falls appears to be loaded as they return all five starters and 9 of 10 letter winners from last year’s 17-win team. Seniors Allison Sembach (11 ppg, 3 apg, 3 spg), Elizabeth Barreca (11 ppg, 7 rpg) and Alyssa Dangerfield (7 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg) are three of the starters coming back. Sembach connected on 70 three-point baskets a year ago. That was good for the school record. Juniors Breeana Hutson (12 ppg, 8 rpg, 5 apg, 5 spg) and Madison Haidet (8 ppg) join the trio as Tiger starters. Hutson was an All-League recipient as a sophomore. Haidet made over 30 three-pointers last season.

Coach Bakers expects his team to compete against a demanding schedule, “We’re hoping that’ll help prepare us for a grueling league schedule. Champion was district champs. Liberty was district runner-up. Labrae also a district runner-up and Crestview will be very talented and eager to return at high level. We draw from our previous experience to execute at a high-level on a regular basis. Individual defense, as well as, team defense was a big emphasis in the off-season. Many players were very dedicated to improving their athleticism; this in turn should allow the team to be much better defensively and offensively. Being active on defense will lead to additional offensive possessions, as we will attempt to play an uptempo style.”

2019-20 Schedules
Brookfield
Nov. 25 – at Pymatuning Valley, 7
Dec. 2 – Lisbon, 7
Dec. 4 – Springfield, 7
Dec. 7 – at Campbell Memorial, 1:30
Dec. 18 – at Crestview, 7
Dec. 20 – Liberty, 7
Dec. 27 – Christmas Tournament (John Marshall)
Dec. 28 – Christmas Tournament
Jan. 4 – LaBrae, 2
Jan. 8 – Champion, 7
Jan. 11 – at Newton Falls, 2
Jan. 15 – at East, 7
Jan. 18 – Campbell Memorial, 2
Jan. 22 – at Liberty, 7
Jan. 25 – Crestview, 2
Jan. 29 – at LaBrae, 7
Feb. 1 – at Champion, 2
Feb. 5 – Newton Falls, 7
Feb. 8 – Lordstown, 2
Feb. 10 – at United, 7
Feb. 13 – at Heartland Christian, 7
Feb. 15 – at Jackson-Milton, 2

Campbell Memorial
Nov. 22 – Sebring, 7
Nov. 25 – Lowellville, 7
Dec. 4 – at East Palestine, 7
Dec. 7 – Brookfield, 3
Dec. 14 – at Heartland Christian, 2:30
Dec. 18 – LaBrae, 7
Dec. 19 – Leetonia, 7
Dec. 21 – Badger, 2:30
Dec. 30 – at Sebring, 7
Jan. 4 – Champion, 2:30
Jan. 8 – at Crestview, 7
Jan. 11 – Liberty, 2:30
Jan. 15 – at Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 18 – at Brookfield, 1:30
Jan. 22 – Heartland Christian, 7
Jan. 25 – at LaBrae, 1:30
Jan. 29 – at Champion, 7
Feb. 1 – Crestview, 2:30
Feb. 5 – at Liberty, 7
Feb. 8 – Newton Falls, 2:30
Feb. 10 – at Chaney, 7
Feb. 12 – at Leetonia , 7

Champion
Nov. 25 – at Struthers, 7
Nov. 29 – at Lakeview, 7
Nov. 30 – at Mathews, 7
Dec. 2 – Poland, 7
Dec. 7 – McDonald, 12:30
Dec. 11 – Newton Falls, 7
Dec. 14 – Crestview, 12:30
Dec. 16 – Warren JFK, 7
Dec. 21 – Niles, 12:30
Dec. 23 – Howland, 7
Dec. 28 – at Bristol, 7
Jan. 4 – at Campbell Memorial, 12:30
Jan. 8 – at Brookfield, 7
Jan. 11 – LaBrae, 12:30
Jan. 15 – at Liberty, 7
Jan. 18 – at Newton Falls, 1:30
Jan. 22 – at Crestview, 7

Crestview
Nov. 27 – Beaver Local
Dec. 2 – at Girard
Dec. 5 – Lisbon
Dec. 11 – Liberty
Dec. 14 – at Champion
Dec. 18 – Brookfield
Dec. 21 – at Hubbard
Dec. 23 – Springfield
Dec. 28 – at Lowellville
Dec. 30 – at Struthers
Jan. 4 – Newton Falls
Jan. 6 – at Mooney
Jan. 8 – Campbell Memorial
Jan. 15 – at LaBrae
Jan. 18 – at Liberty
Jan. 22 – Champion
Jan. 25 – Brookfield
Jan. 27 – East Liverpool
Jan. 31 – at Newton Falls
Feb. 1 – at Campbell Memorial
Feb. 8 – LaBrae
Feb. 12 – McDonald

LaBrae
Nov. 22 – at Lordstown, 7
Nov. 25 – Girard, 7
Dec. 2 – Lakeview, 7
Dec. 4 – Windham, 7
Dec. 9 – Bristol, 7
Dec. 14 – at Newton Falls, 1:30
Dec. 18 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Dec. 21 – at Garrettsville Garfield, 12:30
Dec. 28 – Mineral Ridge, 1:30
Jan. 4 – at Brookfield, 2
Jan. 8 – Liberty, 7
Jan. 11 – at Champion, 12:30
Jan. 15 – Crestview, 7
Jan. 22 – Newton Falls, 7
Jan. 25 – Campbell Memorial, 1:30
Jan. 29 – Brookfield, 7
Jan. 30 – at Ursuline, 7
Feb. 1 – at Liberty, 1:30
Feb. 5 – Champion, 7
Feb. 8 – at Crestview, 1:30
Feb. 10 – at Niles, 7
Feb. 13 – at Springfield, 7

Liberty
Nov. 25 – at Boardman
Nov. 30 – Bristol
Dec. 2 – at Niles
Dec. 5 – at Harding
Dec. 9 – Warren JFK
Dec. 11 – at Crestview
Dec. 14 – at Brookfield
Dec. 16 – at Columbiana
Dec. 18 – Newton Falls
Dec. 30 – Lakeview
Jan. 2 – at East
Jan. 8 – at LaBrae
Jan. 11 – at Campbell Memorial
Jan. 15 – Champion
Jan. 18 – Crestview
Jan. 22 – Brookfield
Jan. 25 – at Newton Falls
Jan. 29 – Chaney
Feb. 1 – LaBrae
Feb. 5 – Campbell Memorial
Feb. 8 – at Champion

Newton Falls
Nov. 23 – at Ravenna, 7
Nov. 27 – Garfield, 7
Nov. 30 – Mooney, 1:30
Dec. 7 – Harding, 1:30
Dec. 11 – at Champion, 7
Dec. 14 – LaBrae, 1:30
Dec. 18 – at Liberty, 7
Dec. 21 – at Mineral Ridge, 2:30
Dec. 27 – at Crestwood, 6
Dec. 28 – TBA, 2:30
Jan. 4 – at Crestview, 1:30
Jan. 9 – at Ursuline, 7
Jan. 11 – Brookfield, 1:30
Jan. 15 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan. 18 – Champion, 1:30
Jan. 22 – at LaBrae, 7
Jan. 25 – Liberty, 1:30
Jan. 29 – Crestview, 7
Feb. 1 – at Badger, 1
Feb. 5 – at Brookfield, 7
Feb. 8 – at Campbell Memorial, 1:30
Feb. 15 – Southeast, 2

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