Girls Basketball: Worthington Kilbourne aiming for league title repeat

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Kilbourne's Molly Humphrey (right) battles Thomas' Lauren Gerber for a loose ball during a game last season. The Wolves will be trying to win a second consecutive league title, while the Cardinals are looking to improve on a 5-18 finish.

The Worthington Kilbourne girls basketball team is out to prove that last year’s resurgence wasn’t a fluke.

The Wolves finished 18-7 overall and 11-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to share the league title with Hilliard Bradley a season after finishing 10-13. 

Now in her second season, coach Stephanie Jones said the Wolves have their eyes on another league title. 

“We want to continue to strive to be league champions,” she said. “To do so we make it a goal to get better in every practice. We focus on doing the little things correctly to become better individually and as a team."

All OCC contests have been postponed through Dec. 17, giving Jones more time to set her starting lineup from among senior Amya Harris (5-foot-5, guard), juniors Lauren Scott (5-7, guard), Ali Koppert (5-5, guard) and Molly Humphrey (5-9, guard/forward) and sophomores Kacy Kohler (5-7, guard), Mara McGlone (5-10, forward) and Camille Shiffer (5-9, guard/forward). 

Others in the program include senior Shelby Granger (5-6, guard), juniors Josie Richardson (5-7, forward) and Mycah Hill (5-4, guard), sophomore Evelyn White (5-5, guard) and freshman Ava Todd (5-7, guard). 

“This team has a lot of potential,” Jones said. “They are a very fast and athletic team.  I think we can build on where we left off last year once we develop stronger team chemistry on the court.”

Scott, who was the Wolves' leading scorer last season, believes it's "going to be an exciting" season. 

“Despite losing four seniors, I think we have another strong team," she said. “As a team coming off a conference championship, you of course look to try to defend that, but we also want to have another high-win season. In terms of style of play, we really want to push the ball this year and commit to the defensive end being a strongpoint for us.” 

Harris also believes the Wolves have a chance to win back-to-back league titles. 

“With the few scrimmages we’ve had so far and the work we put in during practice, I feel that this season the team is going to be very strong and very solid,” she said. “The main goal we have for this season is to put numbers up on our banner and be ... back-to-back OCC champions, and I believe this goal is very achievable for us.” 

With OCC realignment, the Wolves are now in the OCC-Capital.

“It’s going to be a tough division,” Jones said. “Dublin Scioto, Canal Winchester, Big Walnut, Westerville North and Westerville South all are coming off strong seasons. It is going to be a battle every night for the top of the conference.”

Thomas seeks

culture change

Thomas is looking to turn the page under first-year coach Megan Mummey after going 5-18 overall and 0-14 in the OCC-Cardinal last season.

“The No. 1 thing is changing the culture of the program,” Mummey said. “That’s one thing we touch on almost on a daily basis is the way we represent ourselves in and out of the classroom and on and off the court.

“They want to compete in every game and get a few conference wins this year. They were held to zero conference wins last year, so that’s a really big goal. When I sat down with the seniors, they talked about getting more conference wins.”

The Cardinals expect to feature a starting lineup of sophomore Chaneya Garner (5-3, point guard), senior Reid Dunbar (5-7, guard), senior Lauren Gerber (5-7, guard), senior Kaniya Bower (5-10, forward) and junior Jocelyn Ramos-Chears (5-9, guard). 

Juniors Aaliyah Sellers (5-7, guard) and Josie Tinnerello (5-9, guard/forward) and sophomore Ladan Elmi (5-6, guard) should be key players off the bench. 

Rounding out the roster are seniors Abby Taylor (5-9, forward) and Jayla Carr (5-7, forward), sophomore Kira Correale (5-6, guard) and freshmen Nicole Quinn (5-7, guard) and Reese Laakso (5-4, guard). 

Dunbar said she already has noticed a difference in the program under Mummey’s leadership. 

“The team is doing great, the work ethic is high and everybody has been super determined to get things done the right way,” Dunbar said. “Coach Mummey has been doing a great job building our program’s culture and has set goals for the team so that we can reach our full potential.” 

Mummey said she has been seeing consistent progress. 

“Our gains aren’t going to be shown in the win-loss columns, but this team has dramatically improved from the time I started with them in early June,” Mummey said. “We didn’t get a lot of time this summer (because of the restrictions from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic), so the things they are able to do right now from not having a whole summer is awesome. 

“They come in every day with a good attitude and they’re working very hard, and we have a lot to change in a little bit of time. ... I think by the end of the year, we’ll be playing our best basketball as we can.”

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve

KILBOURNE

Coach: Stephanie Jones, second season

Top players: Amya Harris, Molly Humphrey, Kacy Kohler, Ali Koppert, Mara McGlone, Lauren Scott and Camille Shiffer

Key losses: Julia Taylor and Jackie Wolford

Last season: 18-7 overall 

2019-20 OCC-Cardinal standings: Kilbourne (11-3), Hilliard Bradley (11-3), Dublin Scioto (10-4), Dublin Jerome (8-6), Delaware and Olentangy Berlin (7-7), Hilliard Darby (2-12), Thomas (0-14)

Postseason: Defeated Eastmoor Academy 57-21; def. Marion Harding 47-36; lost 45-40 to Watterson in Division I district semifinal

THOMAS

Coach: Megan Mummey, first season 

Top players: Kaniya Boyer, Reid Dunbar, Chaneya Garner, Lauren Gerber and Jocelyn Ramos-Chears  

Key losses: Hannah Scott and Emma Wince

Last season: 5-18 overall 

Postseason: Lost to Jerome 42-21 in first round of Division I district tournament