Girls basketball: Hart, Rice headline strong 2014 class

Central Ohio hasn't had many girls basketball recruiting classes as deep as the one it produced a year ago.

There was the incomparable Alexis Peterson, who was easy to project as a star even when she was a freshman, signing with Syracuse.

Olentangy Orange's Taylor Agler took her smooth shooting game to Indiana.

Among those going the mid-major route were five players from Gahanna and three from Reynoldsburg.

In all there were 14 from the area who signed with Division I programs before the 2012-13 season, and Gahanna's Reyna Montgomery signed a few months later with Detroit Mercy.

That number was up from the five Division I recruits that came out of the 2011-12 class.

This year's class, which features Africentric's Alexa Hart and Reynoldsburg's Alyssa Rice, is a lot like the one produced a year ago in terms of its depth and talent at the top.

Although I admit I haven't yet seen Hart play, she's 6-3 and should have a chance to shine in her only season this winter with the Nubians. She transferred from Lake Ridge Academy and sat out last season.

While Hart signed with Ohio State, Rice is another 6-3 post player and has signed with Kentucky.

Rice is well-known for her defense, but she's reportedly worked intensely on her offense in the offseason. It should be interesting to see how much she's improved now that she'll be Reynoldsburg's No. 1 offensive option.

Others to sign from those programs over the past few days during the early signing period were Alexus Parks (Western Michigan) and Darianne Seward (Detroit Mercy) from Africentric and Nicole Orr (Butler) from Reynoldsburg.

Pickerington North always seems to have someone signing early, and this year it had three with Morgan Bassett-Smith (New Hampshire), Brittany Johnson (Quinnipiac) and Jordan Toohey (Radford).

There are two other Division I recruits that will reside in the OCC-Ohio this winter in Pickerington Central's Aajah Hawkins and Amari Hawkins, who both signed with Florida International.

Throw in Newark's Maggie Mitchell signing with Ashland, and the OCC-Ohio as usual should be a go-to spot for good girls basketball.

Also committing was Upper Arlington's Andi Norman (Dartmouth).

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By: Jarrod Ulrey

11 / 19 / 13

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