With several new players and a first-year coach in Kim Johnson-Turner, building camaraderie for the Brookhaven High School girls volleyball team has been a process.
"I've got about 20 kids out, and I just got a host of freshmen this week who have to find a place to get their physicals," Johnson-Turner said. "We're thinking about starting a club on our side of town because I think we've got some really good players."
Johnson-Turner, who played the sport when she was a student at Cincinnati Withrow and coached it last year at Sherwood Middle School, took over in the summer for Byrd Prillerman. He coached girls volleyball last fall and girls track the last two years but had his teaching position reduced last winter.
The player Johnson-Turner is building around is Jourdan Stanhope, a 6-foot-4 junior who has been a key player for the girls basketball team the last two years and is the top returnee.
Stanhope will be joined at middle hitter by sophomore Madison Morris. Senior Keeahna Fontes is another who has experience playing basketball.
Also on the team are seniors Tomika Crumppon and Kevona Patrick, juniors Karla Elliott, Brittany Greene and Tierra Smith and freshman Chelsea Matthews.
Elliott, Fontes and Patrick were the top candidates to play setter when the Bearcats opened last Wednesday against Independence. Matthews and Greene likely will play in the back row.
Brookhaven was fifth at 3-4 in the City League-North Division behind champion Centennial (7-0) last year. The Bearcats lost to fourth-seeded Pickerington North 25-10, 25-8, 25-7 in the first round of the Division I district tournament to finish 3-12 overall.
"It's been a little hard, but they're getting it," Johnson-Turner said. "We've got a good bunch of freshmen, but they've got to work on the fundamental skills."
•Combined with those who are playing volleyball and running cross country, the girls basketball team shouldn't lack for athletes next season.
Coach Reggie Lee, who will enter his 28th season as girls basketball coach, is taking another step this fall to make sure of that fact.
Brian Schoch has coached the boys and girls cross country teams the last seven years and is remaining on as the boys coach, but Lee will coach the girls team for the first time.
"I felt like since I do the basketball conditioning, I'd do it all in one," Lee said.
Lee's first team has seven runners, all of whom play basketball. Fontes is planning to compete in volleyball and cross country and is joined in the senior class by Lorraine Levels and Datona Ball.
The other runners on the girls team are sophomores Travecia Franklin, Brianna Holmes, Madison Morris and Marah Morris.
The girls team opened last Wednesday in the Canal Winchester Invitational.
"They haven't run any distance except for what they've done in basketball practice," Lee said. "It's been a little bit of a time progression. I've had about four of them actually run (3.1 miles). They wanted to know what it was going to be like running at a meet.
"I was a distance coach for about 20 years (under former girls track coach Hali Robinson), and working with kids you see what works. One thing I like about this group is that if I don't give them enough work, they let me know."
The boys team didn't have enough runners to post a team score in the New Albany Classic on Aug. 20, but Schoch is expecting better numbers with school starting.
Senior Adul Sesay, who was seventh (18 minutes, 7 seconds) at New Albany, is the top returnee. Also running are senior Kofi Bugyei, who was 88th (21:46) at New Albany, and sophomore Phuoc Nguyen.
Sesay was fourth (17:29) at the City meet last year and then finished 38th (17:18.94) at the district 2 race. Last spring in track, Sesay ran on the 3,200 relay that finished second (8:34.8) at the City meet.
"Adul was having a nice track season but then he got injured," Schoch said. "He can run the 800 and 1,600 pretty decent and isn't really a natural distance runner, but he's worked hard and grinded for four years."
•The girls tennis team has a new coach for the second consecutive season after Joaquin Jordan took over for Eugene Barrett.
Jordan, who also coaches the baseball team, has one player with experience in sophomore Theresa Chockbengboun, who is expected to play first singles when the team opens today against visiting Linden.
Juniors Deserae Brooks, Symone Boyd and Jasmine McCullough are others expected to be regulars, and Madison Morris also has expressed interest in the sport in addition to competing in volleyball and cross country.
Brookhaven finished 0-4 in City-North matches last year behind champion Whetstone (6-0).
"All we're trying to do is have them learn the fundamentals of the game, and hopefully some of them will excel and take off in the game from there," Jordan said.
At a glance
Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Brookhaven boys and girls cross country, football, boys golf, boys soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Aug. 20 -- Boys: Did not score as team in New Albany Classic
Last Wednesday -- Competed in Canal Winchester Invitational
Last Friday -- Defeated Chillicothe 14-7 in opener. Andrew Herrell rushed 24 times for 256 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown with 5:34 remaining to give Brookhaven a 14-0 lead.
Friday -- At Hilliard Davidson. Last season, Brookhaven lost 14-13.
Tuesday -- At City League match at Airport
Aug. 21 -- Def. Groveport 6-1 in opener
Last Tuesday -- Played Whitehall
Today -- At Grove City
Tuesday -- Home vs. Walnut Ridge
*Today -- Home vs. Linden
*Tuesday -- At Mifflin
Last Wednesday -- Played Independence
Today -- At Africentric
Saturday -- At Walnut Ridge Invitational
Wednesday -- Home vs. Eastmoor