De­spite losses, Kent Is­land looks like team to beat

Times-Record - - Sports - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

A new sea­son brings five new head coaches and a new crop of play­ers into the fray as the Mid-Shore’s high school girls’ bas­ket­ball teams get un­der­way.

Last sea­son’s North Bay­side cham­pion, Kent Is­land, com­pleted an un­de­feated reg­u­lar sea­son and won the Class 2A East Re­gion ti­tle be­fore fall­ing in the state semi­fi­nals. The Buc­ca­neers topped Queen Anne’s County 69-31 in the re­gion semi­fi­nal and de­feated Elk­ton 80-38 in the fi­nal.

The Bucs should be solid again de­spite the loss of Olivia Diphilippo (Shenan­doah Uni­ver­sity) and Mya Robin­son (Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege). They were so dom­i­nant last sea­son, their en­tire ros­ter gained ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing at the var­sity level. High-scor­ing Se’Ri Miles is back along with a con­tin­gent of tal­ented ath­letes.

Also with plenty of ath­letes re­turn­ing, Queen Anne’s should be a top team in the Bay­side Con­fer­ence de­spite pre­sea­son in­juries.

The Class 1A pic­ture seems a bit fuzzier with ros­ters filled with un­der­class­men, but Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester should again be the team to beat. The Vik­ings reached the East Re­gion fi­nal last sea­son where they fell to Po­comoke.

Here’s a look at this sea­son’s teams:

Cam­bridge-SD

A for­mer coach at Broad­neck and Ath­letic Di­rec­tor at Anne Arun­del Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Bruce Springer takes over as head coach af­ter Den­nis Wooten stepped down to as­sist loved ones.

Springer served as an as­sis­tant to Wooten the last three sea­sons.

The Vik­ings will be led by four-year var­sity player se­nior cen­ter Jazhana But­ler and three-year var­sity player se­nior guard Ashia Wright. Other starters in­clude ju­nior for­ward Ti­aziah Wright and sopho­more guard Abbey Robin­son. Sopho­more guard Natalya Pritch­ett should see plenty of play­ing time.

Springer also said fresh­men soc­cer play­ers Brooke Wind­sor and Mor­gan Tracy are ex­pected to con­trib­ute. The ros­ter in­cludes four fresh­men and three sopho­mores.

“We lost four se­niors last year out of 10 we had on the ros­ter, three of which started, so we’re rel­a­tively young,” Springer said. “If they come along quickly, I think we’re go­ing to be pretty good, and if it takes them a while, I think hope­fully by the end of the sea­son we’re go­ing to be pretty good, which is re­ally what you shoot for any­how.”

Colonel Richard­son

Head coach Tom Coursey, who suc­ceeds Jackie Pinck­ens, hopes his sopho­more­laden team will rise above their youth.

The Colonels will be led by sopho­more guard Ka’Nyha Raikes and sopho­more for­ward Tira Martin. Prob­a­ble starters are sopho­more cen­ter Mya Greene, ju­nior for­ward Zoey Hacker, and sopho­more point guard Raven Ham­mond. Sopho­more guard Bri­ana Sims and ju­nior for­ward Emma Hacker will see plenty of time.

The Colonels are look­ing for­ward to the re­turn of in­jured se­nior Zay Dob­son, the team’s sec­ond lead­ing scorer last sea­son to 1,000-point scorer Jazmine Brooks.

“I’m just hop­ing to be com­pet­i­tive and hope­fully we won’t get caught up in be­ing young, that we will just rise to the oc­ca­sion since this is a lot of the girls that I have back from Miss [Jackie] Pinck­ens has al­ready sea­soned them, bring­ing them up to help out at the var­sity level.”

Eas­ton

With 21 years of ex­pe­ri­ence coach­ing girls’ bas­ket­ball, in­clud­ing the last two as an as­sis­tant coach at Eas­ton, Matt Grif­fith lead the War­riors this sea­son. He’s ex­pect­ing player lead­er­ship from three re­turn­ing se­niors who are teaming with younger play­ers, in­clud­ing four fresh­men.

Pro­jected starters are fresh­man point guard Miya Jeter, ju­nior guard El­lie Roser, se­nior for­ward Emma Skoglund, ju­nior guard Jah­naysha Cor­nish, and fresh­man for­ward Emily Grif­fith. Play­ers ex­pected to see a lot of ac­tion in­clude se­nior guard Claire Pritch­ett, fresh­man for­ward Abi Det­rich, ju­nior for­ward Jaylen Howie, fresh­man guard Jamie Sherry, and se­nior guard Jada Mur­ray.

“Very young, four fresh­men on var­sity, very ath­letic, a good group of kids that have got a lot to learn,” Grif­fith said.

Eas­ton topped North Caro­line 68-41 in a sec­tion opener last sea­son be­fore los­ing to Queen Anne’s 56-39 in the re­gion quar­ter­fi­nals. The War­riors grad­u­ated the ser­vices of 1,000-point scorer Kaiya Hud­son.

“Claire Pritch­ett, Emma Skoglund, and El­lie Roser are def­i­nitely go­ing to be re­spon­si­ble for lead­ing the team on and off the court,” Coach Grif­fith said. “I think it’s not of­ten that you have four fresh­men that make a var­sity squad and two of them are start­ing and the other two are go­ing to get some sig­nif­i­cant play­ing time. We’ve got a ros­ter full of lacrosse play­ers, a bunch of ath­letes, and we have to teach them how to play bas­ket­ball.”

Kent County

The Tro­jans have 10 fresh­men, two ju­niors, and two sopho­mores on their ros­ter. It’s the first time head coach Car­roll Jack­son-Smith has not had a se­nior on her team.

“They’re com­ing from eighth grade, so there’s a lot that has to be learned,” she said. “I guar­an­tee they will learn a lot, but they’re raw, they’re learn­ing.”

Ju­nior guards Teira John­son and Seiria Henry are def­i­nite starters along with sopho­more Kelsey Dump­son. Play­ing time will be ad­justed for the rest of the team as the sea­son pro­gresses.

Jack­son-Smith is ex­pect­ing lead­er­ship from John­son: “She’s been with me since ninth grade; she’s a very strong leader.”

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