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Girls basketball: Gary and East Chicago outlook

West Side's Amari FergusEast Chicago's DentriBrown go after loose ball first quarter West Side High School Thursday evening. | Jeffrey

West Side's Amari Ferguson and East Chicago's Dentria Brown go after the loose ball in the first quarter at West Side High School Thursday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 11, 2013 6:54AM



West Side

Coach: Rod Fisher.

Coach’s record at school: 462-131 (30th year)

Coach’s career record: 581-178 (37th year)

2012-13 finish: 17-4, 2-0 NWC

Key losses: Mariah Hopkins (10 ppg., 8 rpg.); Lessia Smith (5 ppg., 7 rpg.)

Key returnees: Amari Ferguson (10 ppg., 5 apg.); Dajah Joshua (7 ppg., 4 spg.)

Outlook: Leading rebounders Hopkins and Smith are gone, so securing boards is a concern as Fisher has no experienced post players. Six players return, including point guard Ferguson, along with Tinon Hunter, Danzy and Fox. Add talented incoming freshman Dana Evans to the mix and the Cougars have unlimited potential if all of them are on the same page. “We’re pretty deep,’’ Fisher said. “I feel comfortable with 10 of them. It should be an interesting and fun season.”

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Mylesha Crisler 11 F/C 5-9

Ashley Danzy 11 G/F 5-7

Janae Elkins 12 F 5-6

Dana Evans 9 G 5-5

Amari Ferguson 11 G 5-5

Lexus Fox 11 F 5-6

Je’Lynn Holloway 11 G 5-3

Tinon Hunter 11 C 5-9

Tyeisha Hunter 10 G 5-5

Dejah Joshua 12 G 5-6

Jerrica Neal 10 F/C 5-10

Je’Lynn Parker 9 C 5-10

Lew Wallace

Coach: ???

Coach’s record at school: 0-0

2012-13 finish: 11-6, 1-1 NWC

Key returnees: Ayanna Hunter, Ashanti Mays

Outlook: The good news is, four starters return for the Hornets in Hunter, Haynes, Mays and Dotson. The bad news is they do not officially have a head coach — never a good idea when your first game is Nov. 13 (against Roosevelt). It’s supposed to be figured out at the school board meeting on Tuesday, the day before that game, and right now it could be Brandon Scott or Craig Morris or Thomas Hearns. Your guess is as good as the school board’s. Can the new coach continue the momentum of former coach Omar Vasquez, who helped the Hornets to their first over-.500 record since 2003? “As far as conditioning goes, the girls have been working hard, so as far as being in shape, it shouldn’t be a problem,” said Scott, the interim coach right now.

Name Yr.

Ashanti Mays 11

Ayanna Hunter 10

Brionia Haynes 11

Brittany Dotson 10

LaMeika Charleston 12

Jannell Cotton 10

Tiffany Pelmer 10

Ashley Manyfield 12

Caroline Hamilton 10

Roosevelt

Coach: Kendall Nichols

Coach’s record with school: 0-0

2012-13 finish: 2-9, 0-2 NWC

Key returnees: Iyana Turner (18 ppg, 5 rpg); Tai’Shieum Shelby (8 ppg, 4 apg)

Outlook: What can be tougher than bouncing back from a two-win season in which you did not take part in the sectionals because the school did not get their playoff application in on time? And let’s not forget you are breaking in your fourth coach in four years. The new coach’s response: “Let’s get back to basics both on and off the floor. Right now we have to teach the girls how to play basketball the right way,” said Coach Nichols. “We also want to stress education and have a high team GPA and get the kids scholarships.” How Roosevelt will grade out on the floor will depend on how well they bounce back from a disaster last season.

Name Yr.

Naomi Lipscombs 11

Tai’Shiema Shelby 12

Sheran Hyde 12

Jameka Moore 12

Joselin Kirkendall 12

Teana Armstead 10

Carolyn Powell 12

Shamaria Brandy 12

Iyana Turner 10

East Chicago

Coach: Eric Kundich

Coach’s record: 59-52

2012-13 finish: 12-11

Key losses: Dariyelle Ricks, Denitra Brown

Key returnees: Tiajaney Hawkins (13.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg), Shareese Billups (5.2 ppg)

Outlook: Youth will be the theme for the Cardinals this season after hovering around the .500 mark last year. Yes, all-area fixture Hawkins is back, as well as Billups, but the rest of the roster is filled with young, inexperienced varsity players. And the schedule isn’t easy, either, with five Duneland Conference foes. Kundich will need Hawkins to be a leader on the court, and look for her shot more to take pressure off the younger players and keep the offense from stagnating.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Tiajaney Hawkins 11 G/F 5-10

Kajah Wilson 12 G 5-4

Shareese Billups 12 F/C 5-10

Tenaytia Sanford 12 G/F 5-8

Cheyenne White 10 F/C 6-1

Dominique Kimble 12 F 5-5

Desiree DeGroot 10 F/C 5-8

Brianna Washington 10 G 5-0

Laquitta Briscoe 11 G 5-3

Bowman Academy

Coach: Janora Holmes

Coach’s career record: 64-56 (7th year)

Key Losses: Maggie Galtney

Key returnees: Joshlynn King, Alisha Hayes, Rodnikka McCormack (9 ppg, 6 rpg)

Outlook: Coach Holmes says her Eagles will “redefine” themselves this season after a 7-14 record last year. The Eagles will have to rely on their younger players until King and Hayes return from knee injuries. Two returnees Holmes will lean on are McCormack and super quick Diamond Harvey, but the quicker the return of King and Hayes, the better Bowman’s chances are to return to the over-.500 club.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Diamond Harvey 10 G 5-4

Indea Graham 11 G 5-4

Briana Joiner 9 G/F 5-9

Rodnikka McCormick 10 G/F 5-7

Kailynn Steele 10 G 5-6

Christina McWilliams 11 C 5-9

Brianna McCarter 10 C 6-1

Autumn Walker 9 F 5-7

Alisha Hayes 12 C 5-7

Kiaujanee Graddick 10 C 5-10

Hadiya Pugh 11 G 5-5

Jonelle Peeples 11 F 5-7

Joshlynn King 11 C 6-0

Gary Lighthouse

Coach: Katie Kirley

Coach’s career record: 3-21

Key returnees: Destiny Browning (12 ppg), Kennesha Trambles (10 ppg), Royal Farr

Outlook: Lighthouse’s destiny could be determined by its backcourt this and next season. Browning averaged double figures in her first year on varsity as did Trambles, which could offset losing seven seniors from last year. Not that Lighthouse has no experience. That can be found in the frontcourt with Farr and Brianna Dix adding toughness in the paint. Kirley is excited about this season which could see Lighthouse at least top its win total (three) in their first two years of exsistence.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Alexis Brazell 12 G 5-3

Brianna Dix 11 F 5-8

Destiny Browning 10 G 5-6

India Alexis 11 C 6-2

Jarmila Davis 10 G 5-7

Kayla Bacote 12 G 5-3

Kennesha Trambles 11 G 5-5

Makalia Alexander 11 F 5-10

Royal Farr 11 F 5-8

Gary 21st Century

Coach: Marcus Ford

Coach’s record at school: 4-15

2012-13 finish: 4-15

Key returnees: Ophilia Palmer (13 ppg, 5 rpg); Shakira Burks (5 ppg, 5 apg)

Outlook: Ford’s goal is to top last year’s four wins, something he feels can happen because “we have better camaraderie than we did last season. These girls are a better team.” Returning Palmer, the top returning scorer with 13 points per game, and Burke, the point guard who averged five assists, defintely will help the Cougars reach their goal of five wins or more, which is still better than the three wins the Cougars picked up in their first four years total.

Name Yr. Pos.

Shakira Burks 12 G

Amberchante Cutnoe 11 G

Ophelia Palmer 11 F

Makia Freeman 10 F/C

Symone Davis 12 F

Tyronda Bandy 12 G

Tiera Steele 11 C

Dayshanique Bandy 10 G

Rajanae’ Davis 10 F

Don’Trease Hazelett 9 G/F

Starr Clark 9 G

Chairel Lockwood 9 F

Dontreice Wilderness 9 F

Rayonna Guyton 9 G

Brandi McDonald 10 G/F



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