With just one returning starter and two freshmen projected to open the season in the starting lineup, West Geauga has a lot of questions to answer this winter.
The Wolverines, however, aren’t short on talent and if they can come together on the court, the potential for a winning season becomes more attainable.
“Even though there are a lot of unknowns, this is a fun group to coach,” said 22nd-year coach Cheryl Rye. “Their ability to learn what it takes to play varsity basketball, and how quickly that happens, will have a great deal in determining some of our success.”
West Geauga’s roster includes plenty of speed and athleticism.
“We are very athletic and quick,” Rye said. “It’s our job as a coaching staff to utilize those strengths at both ends of the court.”
The frontcourt lacks experience but it isn’t short on talent or potential.
Freshman Nicola Ehrbar is slotted to start at point guard and classmate Elana Zebrowski will line up at shooting guard or small forward.
“Nicola is an exceptional ball handler and has tremendous court sense. Like Lindsay Stanforth before her, she’ll be thrown into the fire and asked to lead the team as our freshman point guard. Nicola has tremendous potential,” Rye said. “Elana is an exciting player who has great knowledge of the game. She is a gifted scorer who has the ability to put constant pressure on defenses.”
Junior guard Bridgette Sexton is the team’s lone returning starter.
“At 5-foot-4, Bridgette plays much bigger than her size,” Rye said. “She has the heart of a lion and her toughness is something our team needs. She will be relied on for her leadership and grit.”
Junior center Alex Desciscio and senior guard Kori Ryan round out the projected starting lineup.
Desciscio averaged 6 points and 7 rebounds as a part-time starter and Ryan dropped nearly 5 points per game last season.
“Alex will have success this year as long as she is willing to be physical, use her body in the paint, and play with confidence. When she has demonstrated that, she is a force. Because we are a small team, we will need her size inside throughout the season,” Rye said. “Kori has developed into a legitimate scorer for us. We are certainly counting on her and will need her experience on the court with such a young team.”
Senior forward Maria Henry will be first off the bench for the Wolverines and senior Maggie Onderonk, junior Sarah Grinstead, sophomores Emily Allegretti, Madison Allegretti and Bella Burkhard and freshman Ella Murray also will contribute.
“We truly have four players that are interchangeable skill-wise,” Rye said. “We will just play the hot player one game at a time.”
The Wolverines are focused on coming together as a team, especially in the early part of the season as the younger players gain valuable experience.
“We need to develop on-court chemistry and trust each other,” Rye said. “We aren’t good enough yet to play individually. We don’t have that star player to rely on. We have to do this all together and learn to play together at both ends of the court.”