REINGING PLAYER OF THE YEAR … Ariel Page makes a move to basket in a game against Hilltop last season. Page, last season’s BBC Player of the Year, is one of three returning starters for the Lady Locos. (FILE PHOTO)
By: Nate Calvin
Holgate made the move from the GMC to the BBC and with that comes some changes to the scheduling. BBC teams will continue to play a home-and-home against each other but only one meeting will count toward the league standings.
Montpelier returns three starters from last year’s 12-0 league championship team while Hilltop has five returning letterwinners from a 13-7 team last year.
While the Cadets and Locos are considered the teams to beat by the league coaches, new addition to the conference Holgate figures to be a factor.
The Lady Tigers, who were 8-15 last season, feature seven returning letterwinners including leading scorer Justine Eis.
“We are extremely familiar with Stryker and Pettisville as they have been a regular on our schedule before the change”, said head coach Scott Giesige.
“We are also familiar with the rest of our BBC opponents having scrimmaged them over this past summer and years previous. It should be a very competitive battle for the top spot in the league this season.”
Here are the previews for each team in order of their finish in the BBC last season.
1. Montpelier (Last Season: 18-4 overall, 12-0 in BBC; Lost to Delta 49-35 in Division III sectional finals)
HEAD COACH: Mike Bumb (3rd Season)
LETTERWINNERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Jessi Bumb (9.6 ppg, 3.4 apg); Ali Repp (6.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg); Emily Fritsch (7.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sr.-Ariel Page (13.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg); Sr.-Chelsea McCord (8.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg); Sr.-Trinity Richmire (4.9 ppg, 3.4 apg)
NEWCOMERS: Fr-Jada Uribes
STRENGTHS: Three returning starters; talented younger classes; size
WEAKNESSES: No experience after returning starters
SEASON OUTLOOK: “We always have high expectations, but we recognize although we have 3 returning starters from an 18-4 team but we will need to develop other talent to fill out the roster.”
“We have zero experience outside of our three returning starters and that is a concern. I think our roster has some young talent, but they are unproven at the varsity level and will need time to develop.”
“We have great, high, character kids. This leads me to believe we will continue to improve as the season goes on.”
“Our schedule this year is more difficult. Most of our out of conference games are against teams who have a lot returning from last year.
“We are very disappointed in the fact that due to COVID school enrollment was carried over from the prior count. Once again, we are literally one girl over the count to be D3 instead of D4.”
“In the BBC, I think Hilltop and Holgate will be the frontrunners.”
ABOUT THEIR SCHEDULE: The Locos start the season with a nonconference game at Hilltop on November 19th and start BBC play at Fayette on December 17th.
2. Hilltop (Last Season: 13-7 overall, 10-2 in BBC; Lost to North Central 32-23 in Division IV sectional semifinals)
HEAD COACH: Troy Grime (4th Season)
LETTERWINNERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Kodi Brenner (9.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg); Sara Barnum (4.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg); Americus Maddox (3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sr.-Leanna Baker (10.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg); Sr.-Lana Baker (4.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg); Sr.-Kacy Connolly (2.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg); Jr.-Jayma Bailey (5.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg); Jr.-Mia Hancock (4.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
NEWCOMERS: Sr.-Alex Horton (missed last season due to injury); Sr.-Kierra Wiley; Sr.-Jozlyn Jones; Fr.-Libbie Baker
STRENGTHS: Team chemistry; senior leadership; good depth at each position
WEAKNESSES: Looking to improve overall shooting and reduce turnovers; improve overall consistent play/effort on both ends of the court
SEASON OUTLOOK: “We are looking to be competitive every night we take the floor. The league should be very competitive.”
“Montpelier returns a very good nucleus of players and have been league champs the past two years, so they are still sitting at the top entering the season.”
“We have Holgate entering the league this year also. I’m sure the remainder of the teams have been putting in the work this summer and getting much better.”
“As a result, this should make for very good basketball every time the league takes the court versus each other.”
ABOUT THEIR SCHEDULE: Hilltop opens the season with a nonconference tilt against Montpelier and will travel to Pettisville on December 17th to begin their BBC schedule.
3. North Central (12-11 overall, 6-6 in BBC; Lost to Convoy Crestview 39-11 in Division IV district semifinals)
HEAD COACH: Kim Hutchison (1st Season)
LETTERWINNERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Kendee Hollstein (4.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Kristen Hickman (2.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg); Kyleigh Westfall (0.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg); Maize Zimmerman (0.1 ppg, 0.8 rpg)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sr.-Madison Brown (14.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg); Sr.-Lauren Balser (6.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg); Sr.-Kendal Bonney (6.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg); Jr.-Isabelle Burnett (3.0 ppg, 2.7 ppg)
NEWCOMERS: Sr.-Riley Brown; Jr.-Makinzy King; So.-Darbi Stewart; So.-Grecia Dominguez; So.-Mireya Cruz; Fr.-Amara Wright; Fr.-Maddie Zimmerman
STRENGTHS: Return four starters from last year’s team with three of them being multiple letterwinners
WEAKNESSES: Lack of depth and experience off the bench; will need younger players to contribute at the varsity level.
SEASON OUTLOOK: “There should be strong parity and competitiveness in the BBC from top to bottom.”
“Montpelier and Hilltop look to be the favorites. We hope to improve upon our third-place finish from last year and make a return trip to the districts.”
ABOUT THEIR SCHEDULE: The season is slated to begin on November 19th with a trip to Edon for their nonconference matchup and the league schedule starts at home versus Stryker on December 17th.
4. Stryker (Last Season: 8-12 overall, 6-6 in BBC; Lost to Convoy Crestview 60-32 in Division IV sectional finals)
HEAD COACH: Conner Varner (2nd Season)
LETTERWINNERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Kinsey Meyers (4.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg); Ariane Dangler (0.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sr.-Marissa Meyers (0.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg); Sr.-Haylee Fulk (0.7 ppg, 1.2 rpg); Jr.-Alexia Wickerham (6.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg); Jr.-Gabrielle Ramon (2.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg); Jr.-Sage Woolace (15.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg); Jr.-Kaitlyn Myers (4.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
NEWCOMERS: So.-Emma Fulk
STRENGTHS: Lots of returners; quickness
WEAKNESSES: Dealing with some injuries; low numbers
SEASON OUTLOOK: – “We are excited to be back to an almost “normal” year where we can just play the game of basketball.”
“I have a positive outlook on our season with the effort the girls have been putting in already and with the returners that we have.”
ABOUT THEIR SCHEDULE: The Lady Panthers host Pettisville on November 19th to start the season with league play starting on December 17th with a trip to North Central.
5. Edon (Last Season: 7-12 overall, 5-7 in BBC; Lost in Division IV sectional semifinal to Antwerp 57-38)
HEAD COACH: Caela Walker (5th Season)
LETTERWINNERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Sydney Bignell; Paige Briner
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sr.-Carlie Kiess; Sr.-Kerrin Towers; Sr.-Ashley Kaylor; Sr.-Breanna Heinze; Sr.-Allison Kaylor; Sr.-Olivia Mitchell; Sr.-Natalie Spackman; Jr.-Emma Hickman
STRENGTHS: Experienced returners
WEAKNESSES: Perimeter shooting; size
SEASON OUTLOOK: “We have eight returners from last season, they work hard, compete and have done a great job of bringing our younger girls along.”
“When we match up against teams with some height/length, it can be challenging for us on both sides of the ball.”
“We need to continue to improve on knocking down shots from the outside.” “We want to compete night in and night out and be competitive in the league.”
ABOUT THEIR SCHEDULE: Edon hosts North Central on November 19th in their season opener before starting their BBC schedule at home against Holgate.
6. Pettisville (Last Season: 2-18 overall, 2-10 in BBC; Lost in Division IV sectional semifinals to Ottoville 66-17)
HEAD COACH: Jason Waldvogel (25th Season)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sr. Meleah Plank; Jr.-Alli King (5.1 ppg); Jr.-Ellie Grieser (10.1 ppg); So.-Grace Crawford (4.4 ppg); So.-Hollyn Klopfenstein (1.0 ppg); So.-Amanda Grimm (2.2 ppg)
NEWCOMERS: Jr.-Bella Strauss; So.-Lily Wiemken
STRENGTHS: Willingness to work, play hard and want to compete. We should be a balanced team with decent speed
WEAKNESSES: It will take time to adjust to different roles by most of our players
SEASON OUTLOOK: “We want to compete each night and keep improving. We plan to contend night in and night out.”
“It will be a different look with adding Holgate to the league and going to a single round instead of a double round. It could make things interesting.”
ABOUT THEIR SCHEDULE: Pettisville starts the season with a nonconference game at Stryker on November 19th and will start league play on December 17th at home versus Hilltop.
7. Fayette (2-15 overall, 1-11 in BBC; Lost to Stryker 27-16 in Division IV sectional semifinals)
HEAD COACH: Ryan Colegrove (3rd Season)
LETTERWINNERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Trista Fruchey (13.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg); Jensyn Robinson (3.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg); Amber Ganoa (4.5 ppg, 1.4 apg)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sr.-Emma Leininger (2.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg); Sr.-Gracee Bingman (2.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg); Sr.-Jada Reinking (1.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg); Sr.-Brooke Vanderveer (2.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg); Sr.-Alicyn Brown; Jr.-Hanah Kovar; So.-Nevaeh Powers; So. Demi Storrs
NEWCOMERS: Sr.-Keitlyn Sepp; So.-Kenadie Ramay; So.-Emerson Sinks
STRENGTHS: Attitude, effort, very coachable
WEAKNESSES: Low numbers (only 13 girls in high school program); not much scoring returning from last year
SEASON OUTLOOK: “We have a lot of girls returning, but they will have to play more significant roles this year.”
“We will have to find scoring threats since all returning players averaged less than 3 points a game individually, and about 10 points combined.” “If we progress as hoped, we could be competitive with most of the teams on our schedule.”
“Holgate is joining the league this year and they should compete to be at the top of the league.”
“Montpelier, North Central, and Hilltop all return a strong nucleus of players and should be league title contenders as well. The league in general, should be fairly balanced.”
ABOUT THEIR SCHEDULE: Fayette travels to Ayersville on November 20th for their season opener and will host Montpelier on December 17th in the BBC opener.
NEW ADDITION: Holgate (8-15 overall, 2-4 in GMC; Lost to Columbus Grove 44-31 in Division IV sectional finals)
HEAD COACH: Scott Giesige (5th Season)
LETTERWINNERS LOST FROM LAST SEASON: Bailey Izor (1.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg)
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Sr.-Justine Eis (11.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg); Sr.-Carissa Meyer (4.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg); Jr. Oliva Baker (2.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg); Jr.-Lexa Schuller (4.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg); Jr.-Jordyn Altman (3.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg); Jr.-Elisabeth Willett (2.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg); Madison Clark (1.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
NEWCOMERS: Jr.-Paisley Wilhelm; So.-Miriam Bower
STRENGTHS: Some of our strengths will be our defense, rebounding, depth, and experience this upcoming season. We have a few versatile players that will allow us to match-up well and create mismatches for ourselves.
Our biggest offensive strength will be our ability to score inside as well as play inside out around senior center Justine Eis who was 1st Team All-Conference & 2nd Team All-District last season.
WEAKNESSES: First our biggest weakness is taking care of the basketball. Last year we averaged just under 20 turnovers a game. If we want to reach our team goals and our full potential this year, we have to limit our turnovers especially those that result in easy baskets for our opponents.
SEASON OUTLOOK: “With 7 returning letter-winners we are looking to be improved over last year’s 8-15 season.”
“For us to be successful and reach our goals we must keep getting better defensively. I thought we showed great progress both defensively and offensively by how we played at the end of last season and over this past summer.”
“This season we will be led by our two Senior Captains Justine Eis and Carissa Meyer. Justine is our leading scorer and rebounder and Carissa is our second leading scorer & rebounder. Justine will be our go-to offensive player, coming off a season where she averaged nearly 12 points and 8 rebounds.”
“Fellow senior Carissa Meyer’s continued improvement from last season and through this summer will add some needed offensive production.”
“Our overall team success will be dependent on how good we become defensively and if we can get balanced point production from our other returning letter winners, juniors Lexa Schuller, Jordyn Altman, Olivia Blaker, Elisabeth Willett, and Madison Clark.”
“We also have a couple of other players looking to make an impact and add some more depth off our bench. They are junior forward Paisley Wilhelm and sophomore combo guard Miriam Bower. Both these players are 5’9″ and give us added length in our rotation which should help us out defensively.”
ABOUT THEIR SCHEDULE: Holgate opens the season at former GMC rival Edgerton on November 19th and then will make their BBC debut on December 17th at Edon.
Nate can be reached at email@example.com