Westerville South to rely on speed, athleticism
Third-year Westerville South High School girls basketball coach Silas Williams hopes his inexperienced team can utilize its speed and athleticism to its advantage.
Last season, the Wildcats finished 10-11 overall, losing to Hilliard Davidson 51-38 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
South tied Dublin Jerome for fourth in the OCC-Cardinal Division at 8-6.
"We have inexperience. We have to get (the players) to game speed," said Williams, whose team lost four players from a year ago to graduation. "I love our athleticism and our speed. When it all comes together, we could be all over the floor. ... I (also) have a couple bigs who will be pretty good."
South, which opened Nov. 27 at Canal Winchester, plays host to Westerville North on Friday, Nov. 30, in the league opener.
Back is 6-foot sophomore guard Chenelle Moore, who was honorable mention all-league last season after averaging 6.0 rebounds per game. Also returning are seniors Chyna Porter (5-8, guard) and Brianna Wendell (5-8, post player) and junior Jada Smoot (5-4, guard).
"We have a lot of girls coming up from j.v. from last year," Wendell said. "We have a lot more speed this year, so that will really help us. We did lose four seniors, but we have people who can step in those places well. We'll come together more this year. We're usually a guard team, but this year we have a lot of (post players), so we'll be bigger and have that advantage this year."
Junior Cara Calland (6-0, post player) has a left wrist injury, and Williams is uncertain when she will play.
Junior Cheyenne Raker (5-9, post player) split time last season between j.v. and varsity.
Other players are seniors Ophelia Roberts (5-7, guard) and Anna Robinson (5-6, post player), juniors Mikaela Couch (5-5, guard), Logan Holman (5-8, post player) and Nicole Mantle (5-5, guard) and sophomores Paichence Carter (5-7, guard) and Audrey Sylvester (5-10, guard).
Williams said 6-1 freshman guard Kayla Ivey has a concussion and her return is uncertain.
"We're going to play in the present," Williams said. "That's our motto this year. ... We're not going to really focus on (the league), we're going to focus on the things that it takes in order to win, so we're going to do all the little things -- fundamentals, catching it right, making sure we're balanced when we shoot.
"We're going to focus on those things and play as hard as we can, give effort and we'll see where it falls."
Lost to graduation were Morgan Neighbors (12.7 points per game) and Erica Aiello (8.4), the team's top two scorers last season. Neighbors was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and Aiello was second-team all-league.
Other graduates were Lindsay Gerhart and Rylee Holman.
In the OCC-Cardinal, South and Jerome finished behind Olentangy (13-1), Dublin Scioto (11-3) and North (9-5) and ahead of Olentangy Liberty (5-9), Marysville (2-12) and Westerville Central (0-14). Liberty and Marysville have joined the OCC-Central, Olentangy has moved to the OCC-Capital and Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby and Worthington Kilbourne now are in the OCC-Cardinal.