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Girls basketball: Gary & Others outlooks

Updated: December 6, 2012 6:08AM



West Side

Coach: Rod Fisher

Coach’s record at school: 445-117

Coach’s career record: 564-174

2011-12 finish: 17-5

Key returnees: Ashley Danzy (15.2, ppg, 3.5 apg); Mariah Hopkins

Outlook: How do you describe this year’s West Side team? Loaded. And here’s the scary part: Fisher says the five freshmen who got playing time last season are more mature than last year’s team that continued their dominance over the Northwestern Conference — they have not lost to a Gary team since 1994. The Cougars lost to eventual sectional champion East Chicago by four points in the second round of Sectional 1. With virtually the entire roster back, this is definitely one of the contenders for the region’s top team and likely sectional favorite.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Tinon Hunter 10 F 5-4

Destiny Creamer 12 G n/a

Mylesha Crisler 10 F n/a

Jejah Joshua 11 G n/a

R. Washington 11 G/F n/a

Janae Elkins 11 G n/a

Mariah Hopkins 12 G/F 5-9

Lessia Smith 12 F n/a

Jerrica Neal 9 G/F n/a

Tyeisha Hunter 9 G n/a

Ashley Danzy 10 G 5-5

Lexus Fox 10 G 5-6

Lynda Lacy 10 G n/a

Amari Fergusson 10 G 5-4

Alanna Hearon 12 F n/a

East Chicago

Coach: Eric Kundich

Coach’s record at school: 47-41

Coach’s career record: 47-41

2011-12 finish: 18-7

Key losses: Andriana Moore (20 ppg., 10.8 rpg.), Shanterra Jones (13.1 ppg., 2.6 spg.), Mariah Lewis (3.3 ppg.)

Key returnees: Tiajaney Hawkins (9.7 ppg.), Denitra Brown (3.3 ppg.), Dariyelle Ricks (6.4 ppg.)

Outlook: The Cardinals returned to the regional for the first time since 2006. It’s time for Tiajaney Hawkins, Dariyelle Ricks and Denitra Brown to step it up this season as EC hopes to repeat as sectional champs for the first time since 1996. Fifth-year coach Eric Kundich knows there’s still plenty of talent left in the cupboard and expects big things. “We have extremely high expectations again this season and are hoping to build on our regional finals appearance,” he said. “We believe that there is more talent and athleticism on this year’s team and if we can find some leadership and take advantage of our bulked-up schedule, we can be ready for another deep postseason run.”

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Denitra Brown 12 G 5-3

Alicia Jackson 11 G n/a

Natisha Jones 12 F n/a

Tiajaney Hawkins 10 G/F n/a

Kajah Wilson 11 G n/a

Dariyelle Ricks 12 G 5-5

Laniah Davis 12 F/C n/a

Kiana Clark 12 G 5-4

Shareese Billups 11 F n/a

21st Century

Coach: Marcus Ford

Coach’s record at school: 0-0

Coach’s career record: 0-0

2011-12 finish: 3-16

Key returnees: Ophelia Palmer

Outlook: The good news about last year’s Cougar team is that they had a full schedule of games in their first year as a basketball program. The bad news of course was the result of that schedule: Growing pains were, well, at times very painful. They won only three games and now must break in their third coach in less than a year in Marcus Ford. It’s not a very big team. They will have to rely on quickness to make it through a very tough schedule. How talented and dedicated this smallish team turns out to be will determine if they match or surpass last year’s three-win mark.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Octavia Steele 9 n/a n/a

Ophelia Palmer 10 G/F n/a

Domenique Wilder 12 G n/a

Ronika Meekins 12 F/C n/a

Tierra Steele 10 F/C n/a

Shakira Burks 11 G n/a

Tyronda Bandy 11 F n/a

Nyesha Canady 11 C n/a

Amber Cutnoe 10 G n/a

Lacist Wortham 10 C n/a

Brandi Davis 9 n/a n/a

Rajanae Davis 9 n/a n/a

Makia Freeman 9 n/a n/a

Aliyah Wortham 9 n/a n/a

Dayshanique Bandy 9 n/a n/a

Lew Wallace

Coach: Ronald Hearns

Coach’s record at school: 0-0

Coach’s career record: 0-0

2011-12 finish: 4-10

Key losses: None

Key returnees: Alexa Dennie (11.0 ppg, 3 spg); Tiaunna Scott (12.5 ppg with Wallace in 2010-11)

Outlook: Wallace will be working with their third coach in less than three seasons in Ronald Hearns, who has the same problem from the past few Hornets’ squads. They just aren’t growing them very tall in the Glen Park area. Hearns says his team will have to rely on the backcourt quickness of Alexa Dennis and Tiaunna Scott, who returns to the Hornets after spending last year playing prep ball in Minnesota. Needless to say, the two top returnees need to have monster seasons (and a third option wouldn’t hurt either) if the Hornets want to top their four -win season a year ago.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Alexa Dennie 12 G 5-1

Tiaunna Scott 11 G 5-0

Briona Haynes 10 n/a n/a

Jessica Cunningham 10 n/a n/a

Indea Graham 10 n/a n/a

Equa Vorice 12 n/a n/a

Kahtoria Lewis 11 n/a n/a

La’Meika Charleston 11 n/a n/a

Ashanti Mays 10 n/a n/a

Destiny Harrell 10 n/a n/a

Nautica Uptgrow 10 n/a n/a

Brittany Dotson 9 n/a n/a

Ayanna Hunter 9 n/a n/a

Roosevelt

Coach: Lani Edmonds

Coach’s record at school: 0-0

Coach’s career record: 0-0

2011-12 finish: 11-7

Key losses: Kelly Moten (21 ppg, 3.1 spg, 3 rpg), Takita Lenoir (13.0 ppg)

Key returnees: Chantele McDonald

Outlook: The Panthers graduated 90 percent of their scoring, so several girls will have to step up this season if the winning ways are to continue. The Panthers haven’t had a losing season since the 2005 and won sectional titles in ’07, ’09 and ’11. Coach Lani Edmonds knows a couple things about winning. She played at East Chicago about 10 years ago and was part of a team that had a perfect regular season (2003). Chantele McDonald has the most varsity experience and will have her hands on the basketball quite a bit. Edmonds also likes two freshmen — Tiffany Pelmer and Iyanna Turner.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Tiffany Pelmer 9 G n/a

Iyanna Turner 9 F n/a

Naomi Lipscomb 10 G/F n/a

Laura Newson 10 G n/a

Ella Lipscomb 11 G/F n/a

Lynesha Harris 12 F n/a

Keanda Keith 12 G 5-5

Dominique Latimore 12 C n/a

Dominique Bowman 12 F n/a

Tah Shima Shelby 12 G n/a

Nykia Thigpen 12 G n/a

Chantele McDonald 12 G n/a

Jaila Watson 12 G n/a

Covenant Christian

Coach: Doug Robertson

Coach’s record at school: 0-0

Coach’s career record: 35-73

2011-12 finish: 13-9

Key losses: Amy Hamstra

Key returnees: Rachel Schurman, Katy Long

Outlook: Coach Robertson put in an application for the boys head coaching job and found himself coaching the girls team instead. But he’s pysched. The former Bishop Noll head coach and Michigan City assistant has seven girls on his roster that stand 5-foot-10 or taller, so he’s confident they’ll be able to play in the paint with anybody. Seven of the 10 also have varsity experience and every girl on the team knows how to handle the basketball. That’s a definite upside. “I feel like out of the 10 it can be any girl any night that can step up and do the job,” he said. The Knights won 13 games last year before losing to Morgan Township in the sectional semifinals.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Rachel Schurman 10 G/F 5-10

Calli Beezhold 11 F/C 6-1

Hannah Lins 10 G/F 5-10

Bekkah Jelsma 12 G 5-6

Megan Buiter 11 G/F 5-9

Jennifer Heerema 10 G/F 5-10

Ariel Allman 9 G n/a

Katy Long 12 F/C 6-1

Renae Buiter 9 G/F n/a

Karlie Klomp 9 G n/a

Gary Lighthouse

Coach: Katie Kirley

Coach’s record at school: 0-8

Coach’s career record: 0-8

2011-12 finish: 0-8

Key returnees: Juliah Perry (7.2 ppg); Sharakeeda Brown (6.8 ppg); Kennesha Trambles (6.9 ppg)

Outlook: Even before the season begins, there is good news for Lighthouse. After playing only eight games last season, the schedule ahs almost twice that amount. And the girls, who Kirley describes as tenacious, will have experience from last year’s first endeavor in varsity basketball to help put a few wins on the board. It would be asking too much for Lighthouse to win more than a handful of contests, but it will definitely be better than last season.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Juliah Perry 12 G 5-4

Dezhane Timmons 12 F 5-8

Paige Peterson 12 F 5-8

LaToya Wilson 12 F 5-8

Breshauna Frazier 12 G 5-6

Briana Johnson 12 F 5-7

Brittany Hopson 11 F n/a

Sharakeeda Brown 11 G 5-5

LaSheanna Cooper 11 C n/a

Lauren Neal 11 F n/a

Dominique Peleck 11 G n/a

Kennesha Trambles 10 G 5-5

Royal Farr 10 G n/a

Tonia Fryerson 10 G n/a

Makalia Alexander 10 F n/a

Brianna Dix 10 F n/a

Rayne Neasley 10 F n/a

Bowman Academy

Coach: Janora Holmes

Coach’s record at school: 57-42

Coach’s career record: 57-42

2011-12 finish: 19-7

Key losses: Princess German 25.7 ppg, 5.2 apg); Rashonda Dunlap (11.4 ppg); Diamond Delk (4.7 ppg)

Key returnees: Joshlynn King (11.2 ppg, 10 rpg); Tenaytia Sanford (3.2 ppg); Alisha Hayes (5.2 ppg, 7 rpg)

Outlook: Bowman’s season win totals have gone up every year under coach Janora Holmes, but this season will be a challenge to keep that streak going. Last year, King was part of the supporting cast. But this year she must, as Holmes said, “step up her game and become a leader” aftet the Eagles graduated Post-Tribune player of the year Princess German. Just as important for Bowman, the predomiantly young supporting cast has to grow up, as well. How quickly all of the above happens will determine how good two-time defending sectional champion Bowman will be once the postseason rolls around.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Diamond Harvey 9 G 5-2

Rodnikka McCormick 9 G 5-7

Tenaytia Sanford 11 F 5-7

Kailynn Steele 9 G 5-4

Alisha Hayes 11 F 5-9

Joshlynn King 10 C 6-2

Asche-Lee Robinson 12 F 5-8

Kendra Sims 11 G 5-5

Maggie Galtney 12 F 5-8

C. McWilliams 10 C 5-9



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