Lions begin the class of North
State finalist Queen Anne’s sporting a nice mix of returning talent and newcomers
Queen Anne’s County produced the best regular season and postseason run last year among Mid-shore high schools. It was also the Lions’ best season of girls’ basketball in school history.
The Lions went 24-3 in a season in which they won the North Bayside championship, the Class 2A East Region title, and earned a trip to the state final.
Queen Anne’s defeated South Region champion Oakland Mills in the state semifinal, 57-47, at Towson University’s SECU Arena before falling in the final to Poolesville, 63-23. The Lions ousted Easton 44-29 in the Section II final and eliminated Elkton 63-51 in the regional final. Easton had knocked out Kent Island, 44-30, in the sectional semis.
With seven returning players and some new talent, Queen Anne’s looks like a solid contender again for the North Bayside title with Easton posing perhaps the Lions’ greatest challenge.
“I think Easton is actually the team to beat,” North Caroline head coach Mark Potter said. “They probably have the most complete starting five and play together as a team. I would buy a ticket to see Queen Anne’s and Easton! Watch out for Colonel Richardson. I am hearing good things about their pre-season so only time will tell!”
The Mid-shore’s 1A schools struggled in the playoffs last season. The seasons for North Dorchester and Cambridge-south Dorchester ended in the East Section II semifinals, and St. Michaels, Colonel Richardson, and Kent County got knocked out in the first round.
But all the teams have a different makeup now. Overall, the competition level seems heightened, according to coaches’ reports, with more experienced players that have improved their skills. Here’s a look at this season’s teams: Cambridge-south
The Vikings appear to be the wildcard in this season’s outlook. They return two starters from last season’s 1210 team that handed Queen Anne’s its only regular-season loss.
Returning for the Vikings are senior point guard Abby Robinson, junior power forward Brooke Windsor, and their leading scorer from last season, Kenya Jones, a sophomore. Possible starters include seniors Alexa Harris and Cati Linthicum and juniors Jade Ward, Morgan Tracy, and Sarah Lewis. Newcomer Bre Palmer, a senior, “is a pleasant surprise,” head coach Bruce Springer said. Also showing promise are sophomores Janae Smith, Makayla Dockins, Isabela Reynolds, and Alexus Spriggs.
Colonel Richardson Head coach Tom Coursey likes what he’s seen from his players so far as the Colonels look to improve on a 4-17 record of last season.
Likely starters are seniors Raven Hammond (G) and Briana Willmer (F), junior
Jayonia Jackson (F), and sophomores Markayla Wilson (G) and Kersene Austinville ©.
“We had two scrimmages and we were able to play well in both scrimmages,” Coursey said. “We have a lot of returnees from a year ago. So right now the team looks real good. It’s just a matter of us playing well together.”
The Colonels’ 13-player roster includes newcomer Megan Kirk, a junior transfer. “She comes with a lot of experience,” Coursey said.
The Warriors, who went
15-6 last season, look like a top contender in the North with new additions bolstering a solid returning cast.
“We have four new arrivals that should help impact the team immediately on the floor,” Warriors head coach Matt Griffith said. “Getting this team to play with the chemistry the team played with last year will be vital to our success. Our goal will be, to get better by one percent every day. If we can do that we hopefully will have a chance to compete with the top teams in the Bayside by season’s end.”
Returning for Easton are senior Maddie Hickey, juniors Myia Jeter, Emily Griffith, Abi Detrich, and Caroline Miller, and sophomores Lily Osborne and Abby Farr. New arrivals are senior Cat Christian and ninth-graders Ashtyn Finney, Kylie Brigerman, and Rachel Lapp.
Like last season, the Trojans are young and inexperienced, but they have some multisport athletes who should improve throughout the season.
Key players could be senior Kelsey Dumpson (G), junior Mattie Cesarini (G), sophomore Olivia Jones (F/C), and ninth-graders Sydney Usilton (G), and Cheyenne Blockston (G).
Rounding out the 11-player roster are senior Jaylin Fairbank (F), sophomores Tyjanne Stewart (G), Deja Dawson (F) and Kate Ervin (F), and ninth-graders Jade Caldwell (F) and Alana Fithian-wilson (F).
“It’s the same thing I’ve done the last few years, teach them the game of basketball, teach them how to enjoy the game of basketball, and improve skills,” Trojans head coach Carroll Jackson-smith said. “I can promise you and anyone else, they get better as time goes on. They’re very coachable and they’re athletes.” Kent Island The Buccaneers always seem to play solid defensively, but this year, after the graduation of high-scoring Se’ri Miles (now playing for Chesapeake College), they will need to be even stingier.
Like Kent County, the Bucs have talented athletes still learning the game of basketball.
Key returners are seniors Jordan Grard (G) and Melissa Plumer (G), junior Blair Goodrich (F), and sophomore center Savannah Stevens.
“We have some questions,” head coach David Plumer said. “We’re young, we’re super young. We only have three seniors, but we’ve got some multi-sport athletes that excel at other sports, so we expect to be good. … I’m not going to tell you we’re going to have our best year, but we’ll compete.”
The Bulldogs return three starters from last season, and according to Potter, they are “improved and have expanded their basketball IQ.”
Junior Camryn Pepper is joined by sophomores Kandice Thomas and Hailey Temple on a young squad that again features two ninthgraders, Hailey Chester and Sydney Baker.
Hannah Ringgold and Angel Brown are the only two seniors and both are expected to contribute in the paint. Tahliah Thomas, a junior, should add some scoring and aggressiveness on the defensive end, Potter said.
Juniors Sami Clement and Violet Clarke should see action coming off the bench.
“We will continue to stress fundamentals and work on developing team chemistry,” Potter said. “We hope to compete with the conference elite, Queen Anne, Easton, and Kent Island, by the time we get to the second season. It is one game at a time in hopes of improving each time we step on the floor.”
North Dorchester Eagles head coach Tiffany Cephas is getting some help this season from Jasmine Robinson, who is the founder and head coach of the Delmarva Divas traveling team.
The Eagles were good last season, finishing 10-10, and with seven returning players this season could be even better.
Cephas said senior forwards Kendall Clough and Isabella Roberts are the team’s “key players who both have great leadership” along with sophomore guard Breisha Cephas who “brings experience and determination to our team.” As a ninth-grader last season, Breisha Cephas led the Eagles in scoring and steals.
Also expected to see plenty of action are seniors Lexie Mills (C), Brittany Nixon (G), Abrajanae Ricks (C), and Jenna Usilton (G). Trinity Cephas (F) is the only junior. Jakiya Davis is a sophomore guard.
“We are looking to have an amazing season and an even better season this year,” Coach Cephas said. “These are a group of well-rounded athletes. I look forward to seeing what our season together will bring.”
Queen Anne’s County The Lions, led by seniors Makenzy Hudock, Shannon Donovan, and Brooke Gordon, should be among the conference’s top teams again.
Hudock scored 185 points last season and pulled down
210 rebounds. Donovan contributed 86 steals, and Gordon pumped in 17 3-pointers.
Also returning for the Lions are juniors Abby Blanchard and Claudia Leshinskie and sophomores Jiyah Hollis and Jurnee Wilson. Hollis scored
200 points and grabbed 200 rebounds last season, and Wilson contributed 165 points and 78 steals.
Newcomers expected to contribute are sophomore Kassidy Robinson and ninthgraders Kendall Moxey and Asia Reed.
Mike Kern, now in his seventh year as head coach, said his team features “very athletic guards” and has “some size in the post” in Hudock, Hollis, and Moxey.
The Herons, who compete in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference, are young with only one senior, Marisa Pisapia. Eight ninth-graders are listed on the roster.
“We are a very young team that will play several freshmen and sophomores throughout the year,” Herons first-year head coach Brian Aikin said. “We are still finding out a good rotation but getting better every time we step on the court. They are a group that is willing to learn and wants to earn the opposing team’s respect. As the season progresses, I see the team making strides, and improving on last year’s results.”
Juniors on the team are Annie Bamford and Annabelle Gillespie, and sophomores are Bri Barrett-kennedy, Olivia Hershey, Emma Mcclary, Sydney Nittle, and Ellie Wilson.
Saints Peter and Paul Saints Peter and Paul, which also competes in the ESIAC, is facing a rebuilding season, but has an experienced coaching staff. Lisa Morrell is back after coaching the Sabres for 21 years until 2012. She is getting help from longtime assistant Jim Samiec.
“It’s virtually a brand new team with many, many kids who have never played basketball before,” Morrell said.
SSPP opened its season Monday with a 45-15 loss to Holly Grove Christian School.
“We found out that we’re going to need to focus on defense … we’re going to focus on defense and rebounding and see if we can control the game a little bit better from that end,” Morrell said. “It’s tough with many players who have never played, but they have a lot of enthusiasm. They want to learn. And in my opinion they’ve already gotten a lot better just in the two weeks we’ve been practicing.”
Seniors on the roster are Emily Conlon, Kaely Rowlan, and Morgan Schisler. Juniors are Samantha Harrington and Caroline James. Michaela Forster is a sophomore and four ninth-graders round out the team: Ashley Granadosmartinez, Olivia Hensley, Jyra Holland, and Elisabeth Snapp.
Editor’s note: Information was not available from St. Michaels.
Queen Anne’s County’s Jurnee Wilson tries to dribble away from Easton’s Lilly Osborne during a game last season. Wilson, who had a strong freshman season for the Lions, will be returning for a squad coming off a 24-3 season and earned their first-ever trip to the Class 2A state final.