Cuyahoga Heights enters the 2022-2023 season filled with optimism and for good reason.
The Red Wolves return three starters and three others with varsity experience from a team that won 17 games last winter.
“I feel great about our team,” said 19th-year head coach Al Martin. “Each player is working as hard as possible to get better and contribute to the program. We have good chemistry and experience. Our seniors are providing excellent leadership. We are excited to get the season started.”
Cuyahoga Heights finished 17-6 overall and 6-4 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division.
The Red Wolves do have the monumental task of replacing Tess Conroy, who graduated after earning the CVC MVP award last winter.
Martin will rely on his experience and depth to fill those shoes.
“We have an experienced team who has won a lot of games over the past two years,” Martin said. “Our players are unselfish and understand what needs to be done to win basketball games.”
Injuries have plagued the Red Wolves over the past couple of seasons, but they still find a way to overcome all the adversity they face.
“We have some key players dealing with injuries again this year. Our girls are tough-minded and will compete regardless of the circumstances,” Martin said. “We have low numbers in the program, so developing our younger players is the biggest concern. We hope to play as many JV games as possible.”
Senior Julia Jaenke, a 5-foot-8 post, returns to the starting lineup after being limited by a knee injury last season. Despite the knee trouble, she averaged 10.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 2.6 assists per game as a junior.
“Julia injured her knee last year and has worked very hard to get back to play,” Martin said. “She is highly skilled and competitive. Julia can shoot the three, score in the midrange, and get to the basket. She is also an excellent perimeter defender.”
Seniors Ava Galek and Reece Frank are returning starters who earned all-conference honors last season.
Galek, a 5-foot-7 point guard, was a second-team All-CVC and honorable mention all-district selection after dropping 5.5 points per game with three rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 3.4 assists.
“Ava is an excellent point guard,” Martin said. “She sees the floor well and can get into the lane to create shots for her teammates. Ava is a confident shooter and great team defender.”
Frank, a 5-foot-4 wing, was an honorable mention all-conference and all-district selection. She scored 6.1 points per game with 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 2.5 assists.
“Reece is a tenacious defender and competitor,” Martin said. “She will do whatever is necessary to help her team win a game.”
Also included in the projected starting lineup are seniors Sophia Winslow and Lauryn Wilson.
Winslow is a 5-foot-8 post while Wilson is a 5-foot-9 wing who scored 1.2 points with 2.6 rebounds per game last winter.
“Sophia is a good post defender and rebounder,” Martin said. “Lauryn gained valuable experience last year at the varsity level. She is a good perimeter shooter and her length can be an advantage on the defensive end of the floor.”
Senior Marissa Ulery and junior Addison Bohning will provide depth.
Ulery is a 5-foot-4 post/wing confident behind the arc and Bohning is a 5-foot-6 wing.
“Marissa can shoot the 3 and has a lot of experience in our system,” Martin said. “Addison is a skilled offensive player. She got some varsity experience last year and is playing with a lot more confidence as a junior.”
The Red Wolves tied for second place in the CVC Metro Division last winter and they again look to compete for the conference title and a deep postseason run.
“Our goal is to become the best team that we can be by the end of the season,” Martin said. “If we can find a way to keep our top players on the floor for most of our games, we will have a lot of success.”