Early look at MVAC girls’ basketball

Sports

McDonald and Western Reserve were the class of the league last year

Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference

Many starters return for teams who sat near the top of the league

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Last year, the Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference boasted two of the best girls’ basketball teams in the area. McDonald went a perfect 14-0 in league play. Western Reserve’s only two losses were against the ladies from Trumbull County. Five days prior to Christmas, McDonald won by 16 on the road at Berlin Center (43-27). Then, on January 28, McDonald nipped Reserve by a single point (56-55). In the Division IV Mineral Ridge District title tilt it was the #2 seed Western Reserve getting past top seeded McDonald (46-39) to advance to the Regionals.

Western Reserve and McDonald combined for an overall 44-7 mark. Jackson-Milton and Mineral Ridge both return a lot of experience as they’ll look to dethrone the Blue Devils from the perch atop the league standings.

2018-19 MVAC Girls Basketball Standings
McDonald – 14-0 (22-3)
Western Reserve – 12-2 (22-4)
Springfield – 9-5 (13-11)
Jackson-Milton – 8-6 (12-13)
Mineral Ridge – 7-7 (13-11)
Waterloo – 3-11 (7-16)
Lowellville – 2-12 (3-20)
Sebring – 1-13 (5-16)

Around the League
Jackson-Milton Blue Jays
Coach: Pat Keney
…Jackson-Milton welcomes back six seniors (Grace McDevitt, Megan Fultz, Coutney Mercer, Julia Bogden, Alysa Deak, Abigail Spalding). Spalding led the team in scoring as a junior (16.9 ppg) as she was named to the Second-Team All-League. McDevitt finished second in scoring (9.0 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg). Mercer put together an impressive stat line of 6.5 points, 3.7 boards, 2.8 assists and 2.8 steals per game. Coach Keney points to his team’s experience and depth as key points to build upon.

Lowellville Rockets
Coach: Lisa Modelski
…The Lady Rockets return all five starters from last year – Marah Bellis (4 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Juliana Lellio (4 ppg, 5 rpg), Emmalee McGarry, Sam Moore (10 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and Maliyah Hedrich. Lellio is recovering from surgery and is expected to miss a big chunk of the season.

Coach Modelski points “our depth and how well these young athletes respond to our strategies and concepts” as the key to the team’s success this winter. “We have to be fierce on the defensive side of the floor to negate the height disadvantage we’ll most likely face on any given night. I’m excited to see some healthy competition amongst my players and how that will impact their overall growth and carryover to game nights. We have to be able to score off of defensive pressure and not get into a half-court battle with teams.”

McDonald Blue Devils
Coach: Amy Dolsak
…The defending league champion Lady Blue Devils return four starters (Molly Howard, Maddy Howard, Taylor Tuchek, Sophia Costantino). “We want our girls to compete in each game,” says coach Dolsak. “We want them to get better as a team so we can be prepared for tournament time.”

Last year’s run ended in the District Final against Western Reserve. This year’s team looks to “work together as a unit on both ends of the floor,” indicates Dolsak as the key to a successful 2019-20 season. “We must build consistency on those little things.”

Mineral Ridge Rams
Coach: Matthew Cluse
…The Lady Rams return 8 letter winners including four seniors (Alexa Harkins, Fran Kesner, Lizzy Panic and Riley Ladd) along with four juniors (Morgan Sigley, Danielle Aulet, Candice Miller, and Rosie Nolder). As coach Cluse puts it, “we’re an experienced team but we must continue to improve on the little things. Hard work on offensive fundamentals and a commitment to have a defensive-first mindset.” Ridge plays a difficult schedule. The goal which coach Cluse set is “to force teams to play their best game. We’ll work hard to not beat ourselves.”

Sebring Trojans
Coach: Sam Mathias
…The Lady Trojans return three juniors (Aebi D’Ostroph, Emma Whaley, Bella Meir) and a trio of sophomores (Devyn Reggi, Delany Reggi, Bryanne Luca). Last year’s team won 5 games which was an improvement from the previous two campaigns where they won a total of 2 games. Coach Mathias looks to build off that success this year, “The girls learned lessons from that.They want to learn and get better from in-game like situations again.”

Coach Mathias also needs more numbers, “We have had some interest from girls who are planning to come out this season, which will really help what kind of team we want to be.”

Springfield Tigers
Coach: Jim Schuler
…The Lady Tigers return one starter from last year’s 13-win team in Kylee Kosek. This year, coach Schuler is focused on, “team unity and underclassmen stepping into varsity roles. The team will need to improve each week and to play our best basketball come tournament time.”

Waterloo Vikings
Coach: Kevin Longanecker
…Three starters (Haylee Kachner and Abbi Carpenter, seniors; along with junior Brooke Waldeck) return for the Lady Vikings. Kachner averaged 14 points, 7.9 rebounds and shot 71.1% from the foul line a year ago. Waldeck nearly averaged a double-double (11 ppg, 8.1 rpg) while shooting 42.9% from the floor, 28.7% from three-point land and 67.3% from the line. Coach Longanecker looks for his team to improve upon their shot selection, consistency and turnover rate. He states the younger players will need to make meaningful contributions. “We must continue to grow from the progress we made last year,” says Longanecker. “Our upper classmen are poised and are looking to provide great leadership.”

Western Reserve Blue Devils
Coach: Steve Miller
…Reserve won a school-record 22 games and advanced to the Regionals for the third time in the past six years. The Lady Blue Devils return a slew of experienced players in seniors Alyssa Serensky (11.5 ppg), Laura Sigworth (9.2 ppg) and Brooke Morris (3.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg) along with a pair of junior starters Danielle Vuletich (19 ppg, 9 rpg, 3.6 bpg) and Kennedy Miller (9.4 ppg, 5.7 apg). Sigworth and Morris are both coming back from injuries so as coach Miller puts it, “our success hinges on the ability of our group to stay healthy.” Vuletich recorded 94 blocked shots and scored 515 points as a sophomore – each were school records. Kennedy Miller also broke the school mark in assists for the season with 153. Reserve hit 138 three-point baskets last season. That mark was thanks to a pair of sharpshooters in Miller (who won the MVAC Three-Point contest) and Sigworth – who is the school’s all-time leader in three-pointers (116). The Blue Devils will play Cornerstone Christian to open the year in Canton as well as games against Dayton’s Thurgood Marshall, Laurel (PA) and Berlin Hiland on January 18.

2019-20 Schedules
Jackson-Milton
Nov. 25 – Southeast, 7
Dec. 2 – East Palestine, 7
Dec. 5 – Western Reserve, 7
Dec. 9 – at Springfield, 7
Dec. 12 – at Sebring, 7
Dec. 16 – at McDonald, 7
Dec. 19 – Waterloo, 7
Jan. 4 – at Niles, 1
Jan. 6 – at Lowellville, 7
Jan. 9 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Jan. 13 – at Western Reserve, 7
Jan. 16 – Springfield, 7
Jan. 20 – at Columbiana, 7
Jan. 23 – Sebring, 7
Jan. 27 – McDonald, 7
Jan. 30 – at Waterloo, 7
Feb. 3 – Lowellville, 7
Feb. 6 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Feb. 8 – at Lisbon, 1:30
Feb. 10 – at Garrettsville Garfield, 7
Feb. 13 – United

Lowellville
Nov. 25 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Dec. 2 – at Columbiana, 7
Dec. 5 – McDonald, 7
Dec. 9 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Dec. 12 – Waterloo, 7
Dec. 16 – at Western Reserve, 7
Dec. 19 – at Sebring, 7
Dec. 21 – United, 12:30
Dec. 23 – at Heartland Christian, 7
Dec. 28 – Crestview, 12:30
Jan. 6 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Jan. 9 – at Springfield, 7
Jan. 13 – at McDonald, 7
Jan. 16 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Jan. 23 – at Waterloo, 7
Jan. 27 – Western Reserve, 7
Jan. 30 – Sebring, 7
Feb. 1 – Mathews, 12:30
Feb. 3 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Feb. 6 – Springfield, 7
Feb 10 – at Leetonia, 7
Feb. 13 – East Palestine, 7

McDonald
Nov. 22 – at Columbiana, 7
Nov. 30 – Girard, 7
Dec. 5 – at Lowellville, 7
Dec. 7 – at Champion, 12:30
Dec. 9 – at Waterloo, 7
Dec. 12 – Springfield, 7
Dec. 16 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Dec. 19 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Dec. 23 – Ursuline, 7
Dec. 28 – Niles, 7
Jan. 6 – Sebring, 7
Jan. 9 – at Western Reserve, 7
Jan. 13 – Lowellville, 7
Jan. 16 – Waterloo, 7
Jan. 23 – at Springfield, 7
Jan. 27 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Jan. 30 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Feb. 1 – Mooney, 2:30
Feb. 3 – at Sebring, 7
Feb. 6 – Western Reserve, 7
Feb. 10 – at West Branch, 7
Feb. 12 – at Crestview, 7

Mineral Ridge
Nov. 22 – at Warren JFK, 7
Nov. 29 – at Maplewood, 7
Dec. 5 – Sebring, 7
Dec. 9 – at Lowellville, 7
Dec. 12 – at Western Reserve, 7
Dec. 16 – Waterloo, 7
Dec. 19 – McDonald, 7
Dec. 21 – Newton Falls, 7
Dec. 28 – at LaBrae, 7
Jan. 2 – at Niles, 7
Jan. 6 – at Springfield, 7
Jan. 9 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Jan. 13 – at Sebring, 7
Jan. 16 – Lowellville, 7
Jan. 18 – at Badger, 5:30
Jan. 23 – Western Reserve, 7
Jan. 27 – at Waterloo, 7
Jan. 30 – at McDonald, 7
Feb. 3 – Springfield, 7
Feb. 6 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Feb. 10 – Columbiana, 7

Sebring
Nov. 22 – at Campbell Memorial, 7
Nov. 26 – at Leetonia, 7
Dec. 2 – Heartland Christian, 7
Dec. 5 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Dec. 9 – at Western Reserve, 7
Dec. 11 – East Liverpool Christian, 7
Dec. 12 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Dec. 16 – Springfield, 7
Dec. 19 – Lowellville, 7
Dec. 23 – at East Liverpool Christian, 7
Dec. 30 – Campbell Memorial, 7
Jan. 6 – at McDonald, 7
Jan. 9 – at Waterloo, 7
Jan. 13 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Jan. 16 – Western Reserve, 7
Jan. 20 – at Heartland Christian, 7:30
Jan. 23 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Jan. 25 – Leetonia, 1:30
Jan. 27 – at Springfield, 7
Jan. 30 – at Lowellville, 7
Feb. 3 – McDonald, 7
Feb. 10 – Waterloo, 7

Springfield
Nov. 27 – at Lisbon, 7
Dec. 2 – Valley Christian, 7
Dec. 4 – at Brookfield, 7
Dec. 5 – at Waterloo, 7
Dec. 9 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Dec. 12 – at McDonald, 7
Dec. 16 – at Sebring, 7
Dec. 19 – Western Reserve, 7
Dec. 23 – at Crestview, 7
Dec. 30 – at East Palestine, 7
Jan. 2 – Wellsville, 7
Jan. 6 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Jan. 9 – Lowellville, 7
Jan. 13 – Waterloo, 7
Jan. 16 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Jan. 23 – McDonald, 7
Jan. 27 – Sebring, 7
Jan. 30 – at Western Reserve, 7
Feb. 3 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Feb. 6 – at Lowellville, 7
Feb. 10 – Girard, 7
Feb. 13 – LaBrae, 7

Waterloo
Nov. 23 – at Alliance, 1:30
Nov. 25 – at United, 7
Dec. 5 – Springfield, 7
Dec. 9 – McDonald, 7
Dec. 12 – at Lowellville, 7
Dec. 16 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Dec. 19 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Dec. 23 – Ellet, 7
Dec. 30 – Akron North, 7
Jan. 6 – at Western Reserve, 7
Jan. 9 – Sebring, 7
Jan. 13 – at Springfield, 7
Jan. 16 – at McDonald, 7
Jan. 23 – Lowellville, 7
Jan. 25 – at Lordstown, 4
Jan. 27 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Jan. 30 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Feb. 1 – Crestwood, 1:30
Feb. 3 – Western Reserve, 7
Feb. 10 – at Sebring, 7
Feb. 13 – at Firestone, 7

Western Reserve
Nov. 23 – Cornerstone Christian (at Canton McKinley), 11
Nov. 25 – East Palestine, 7
Nov. 29 – Thurgood Marshall (at Walsh)
Dec. 5 – at Jackson-Milton, 7
Dec. 9 – Sebring, 6
Dec. 12 – Mineral Ridge, 7
Dec. 14 – Laurel (at Struthers), 2:30
Dec. 16 – at Lowellville, 7
Dec. 19 – at Springfield, 7
Dec. 30 – at Lisbon, 7
Jan. 6 – Waterloo, 7
Jan. 9 – McDonald, 7
Jan. 13 – Jackson-Milton, 7
Jan. 16 – at Sebring, 5:30
Jan. 18 – Napoleon (at Berlin Hiland), 1:30
Jan. 23 – at Mineral Ridge, 7
Jan. 27 – Lowellville, 7
Jan. 30 – Springfield, 7
Feb. 3 – at Warterloo, 7
Feb. 6 – at McDonald, 7
Feb. 10 – Struthers, 7
Feb. 12 – Columbiana, 7

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