The Green Bulldogs will look a lot different, with all the exits, they are much more inexperienced and smaller. New coach Alicia Manning did a great job turning around a struggling program at Northwest so I have no reason to believe the Bulldogs can’t head in the right direction. They lost what would be a third year starting PG, but Olivia Payne has come along well and will do great leading the Bulldogs. She’s not the distributor that they are used to at the position but she has the ability to score at a higher level than they have had. Alyssa Ziehler is a kid who will continue to grow and show a lot of promise. She is long and athletic, plays with poise and plays hard. Ultimately the large turnover leave them inexperienced, short on athletes and much smaller than expected.
The Perry Panthers will continue to be young, and they will continue to compete. Losing their returning PG to focus on soccer will hurt considering they have a limited amount of players who have a whole lot of experience. They lack any true post presence. I really like Kailee Wilson, she battles, has a high motor, and seems to be the verbal leader of the squad. They have a lot of kids that they can get on the floor, that they trust. However size will still be lacking and cost them against some. They have a sophomore class that is very encouraging. Mia Guscoff, Izzy Centeno and Meredith Randulic will all most likely be full time starters for them for the next three years. I like Guscoffs energy and defensive focus, while Randulic may be the most skilled kid in the league. Meredith is a long guard who has incredible instincts and vision. She can shoot the ball well and create for others. She will be a huge focus for opponents defenses this year. They also have a few promising freshman going int hat they like for the future.
Lake Blue Streaks continue to improve and will give some teams a run for their money this year. They have a solid starting lineup, but depth will be the struggle for the Streaks. Senior Jessica LeBeau, a Kent softball signee, may be the most overlooked kid in the league. She’s always been a great shooter since freshman year, but she has grown, put on lots of muscle, and is very skilled. Along with Abby Stephens, and Kylie Dyrlund, the Blue Streaks have some pretty good size and great length. Dyrlund is one of the most improved kids I seen all offseason and I expect that to roll over into this season. Stiles and Begue round out the lineup. Ellie Begue is transitioning to a new position after Lake lost their starting PG from last year. There will be some growing pains from her but she is capable and will show some great things as she adjusts.
Things will feel different for the McKinley Bulldogs with a well known coaching change. Lots of things will not change. The Bulldogs still feature premier guards with Nakyah Terrell and Kyla Foster. The Bulldogs will still bring lots of energy and pressure. Terrell has grown so much and is one of the better players in the league. She’s more intense, shooting the ball really well, handles the ball and is ready to be the leader the Pups need. Losing a player like Kiersten Bell is impossible to replace, but the Pups have some firepower to help soften the loss. They have a few freshmen coming in that will contribute immediately, Bowden and Stokes will be a solid post/guard combo for the Bulldogs for years to come. Alison Boykin gives McKinley some experience inside, she works hard and rebounds, and will add to the toughness of the team.
The Hoover Vikings are moving on from the Roshak era but starting a new era of incoming freshmen. There is plenty of upperclass talent as well though! Peyton Davis could easily be the best player in the league, she is very tough, she defends, she has continued to improve her offensive game. She has gotten to the point where she has the ability to create her own shot, which makes her unique. She is very physical to the rim and finishes well. Kate Haubert is another kid that will have an important role. She is long and energetic, hits the boards hard and defends like crazy. Kelsey Kinsley is the emotional leader of the team but will be missing extended time with injury, but she will be just as much of an impactful leader on or off the court. Emily Walker will be tasked with keeping the Vikings running on the floor. The lefty PG has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years and she is ready for the challenge. She can score the ball and distribute it, she’s a great catalyst for Hoover. Roshak, who had a great summer will give the Vikings some depth and size off the bench. The core of freshmen; Natalie
Bell, Grace Craig, Lauren Rose and Janet Erickson will get minutes and add some depth for the Vikings.
Lots of change for the GlenOak Golden Eagles since last years trip to Columbus. With the transfer of Mucci, Warren and Smith, the Eagles can no longer be considered a top team in the state. With the amount of talent that was in reserve last year, they can still be considered the team to beat in the Federal League and Northeast Ohio. Aniyah Hall is the loan returning starter for the GlenOak, the super athletic post player is a matchup nightmare every team and she will be tough to keep off the stat sheets. MaKenzie Green, Lexi Lemire, Kamryn Vance and Breezy Williams will be moving from an impact players off the bench to the starting lineup. Williams will be the spark plug for this group as her athleticism, ability to score the ball and smooth nature in transition will make her an immediate problem for the rest of the league. Vance is a solid defender and ball handler and team leader. She will always bring the energy and communicate. Lemire is a top shooter in the league, and a very solid secondary guard. Meya Metz is a long shooter that will come off the bench to give the Eagle guards some added firepower along with Lexi Kleptach, a solid PG who can get up and down the floor and score the ball.
The Jackson Polar Bears have possibly the best depth of any team in the league this year. Kerianne Diese returns as the lead guard for the Bears. She is very solid at taking care of the ball and keeping the team running. She defends well and has always been a clutch player. She’s developed into a very reliable outside shooter. Playing along side Diese is Ava Scroggs, the best shooter in the league. She has the ability to create her own shot, knock down spot up threes and attack the basket with both hands. McMullen and Ignacio add some backcourt depth for the Bears and will play lots of important minutes. Stran and Hawke work hard and will be interior facts for Jackson along with blossoming star Emma Dretke. Dretke is a sophomore that has good size and has become a very good shooter. She works the boards hard and can snag a double double on any given night. She can help on the perimeter or in the paint. Jackson also has two freshman that will make immediate impacts, Lauren Pallotta and Leena Patibandla. both have good size, both can shoot the three and both handle the ball well. Patibandla has something extra, she has the potential to be the next area superstar. Her athleticism matched with her length and instincts is very rare.
Marissa Berlin (Out with ACL)
Bre Hunt (No longer playing for Lake)
Hannah Leapline (No longer playing for Perry)
Sidney Marshall (Left Green for CVCA)
Addison Mucci (Left GlenOak for Aquinas)
Sydnie Pierce (Left Green for CVCA)
Gabby Piercy (No longer playing for Green)
Hayley Smith (Left GlenOak for Aquinas)
Erica Warren (Left GlenOak for Aquinas)