South KoreaSeoul American Falcons2011-12 season record — 23-7; 13-2, 2nd Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I; 6th in Far East D-I Tournament.Coach — Jesse J. Smith, second season.Key returners — Mecca Perkins, Sr., C; Hannah Nelson, Sr., G; Jasmine Thomas, Sr., PF; Michelle Higgins, Jr., G.Key newcomers — Danielle Smiley, Sr., C (played AAU in Georgia, Washington, New York and Florida); Glenesha Berryman, So., F-G (AAU in South Carolina); Robin Galiano, So, F-G (AAU in Gatesville, Texas); Dahlia Gulory, So., PG-F (AAU in Arizona).Outlook — Early to say, but reloading on paper. Plenty of experience, thanks to a combined 13 seasons of AAU ball played by the newcomers. No longer burdened by the expectations of that 19-year KAIAC league title streak and two Far East D-I titles in a row, this team could be contending if the chemistry develops, the coaching staff gets them to play together as a team and the talent gels by the time of Far East.
OkinawaKadena Panthers2011-12 season record — 22-8; 4-0 vs. Kubasaki in Okinawa Activities Council season series; 2nd in Far East Division I Tournament.Coach — Willie Ware, second season.Key returners — Maria Vaughan, Sr., SG; Alicia Vaughan, So., G Carais Lawrence, Sr., SF.; Eisiah Lawson, Jr., PF-C; D’Aja Caldwell, Sr., F; Jasmine Rhodes, So., G; Brianna Easton, So., SF.Kew newcomers — Desmon Reed, Sr., G; Nia Rodriguez, Jr., F.Outlook — Contending, but only with a lot of work. Especially after their one-sided loss in the Far East D-I Tournament finals to Faith Academy, Panthers enter the season hungry and feeling they have something to prove, Ware said.
Kubasaki Dragons2011-12 season record — 4-27; 0-4 vs. Kadena in OAC season series; 14th in Far East D-I Tournament.Coach — Casey Debord, first season.Key returners — Sydney Johnson, Jr., F; Naomi Yocum, Jr., G; Marilyn Rodriguez, Jr., G; Ameyna Jackson, Jr., F.Key newcomers — Janade Amos, Jr., G; Akeia Smith, Sr., F.Outlook — Rebuilding. Debord, the team’s fourth head coach in five seasons, moves over from the boys team, where she assisted Jon Fick. Good veteran core. Debord hopes the team can move on from its doormat stage that’s seen the team go 27-128 since the 2008-90 season; its last Far East D-I title came 10 years ago.
JapanYokota Panthers2011-12 season record — 32-3; 11-1, 2nd in Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools; 8-0, DODDS Japan champion; 5th in Far East Division I Tournament.Coach — Kitty Martinez, first season.Key returners — Katelyn Sult, Sr., G; Sarah Hamner, Sr., post.Key newcomers — Brianna Harris, Sr., post (move-up from JV); Sarah Claypool, So., post (transfer from Ramstein Air Base, Germany).Outlook — Rebuilding, rebuilding, rebuilding. First season the Panthers have been without star guard Erika Ettl since 2007-08; they must also replace transferred swingman Trinity Davis as well. And senior Cora Argallon may or may not be back after hurting her knee two weeks ago.
Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils2011-12 season record — 27-11; 8-3, 3rd in Kanto; 11-1, 2nd in DODDS Japan; 8th at Far East Division I Tournament.Coach — Samuel Williams, second season.Key returners — DeAsia Brown, So., G; Audri Salters, So., C.Key newcomers — Alicia Allison, So., G; Kaile Johnson, Jr., G; Mashiya McKinney, Sr., F; Mariah Warner, Fr., F.Outlook — Contending, contending, contending. The addition of Allison creates one of the best backcourts in school history and in the Pacific the last two decades. The addition of the athletic McKinney and Johnson, who star in other sports, is a huge help. This team should make a deep run in DODDS Japan and Far East D-I, provided it invests the “hard work, dedication and sweat,” Williams said.
South KoreaOsan American Cougars2011-12 season record — 8-16; 4-10, 6th in KAIAC D-I; 6th in Far East D-II Tournament.Coach — Darron Miller, first season.Key returners — Trellini Lunsford, Sr., F; Taylor Byrom, Jr., F.Key newcomers — Michelle Thompson, Fr., PG; Ebony Madrid, Fr., SG-SF.Outlook — Rebuilding. For the first time since the school opened in 1995, somebody other than Bruce Barker is coaching the team. Plenty of freshmen made the varsity; if they stay, it bodes well for the future, as Miller will also work to ensure the Cougars are competitive now.
Daegu Warriors2011-12 season record — 24-2; 14-0, 1st in KAIAC D-I; Far East Division II Tournament champion.Coach — Gregory Miller, first season.Key returners — Sarah Wright, So., PG; Lari Robertson, So., C; Marchei’ Gosley, Sr., PF.Key newcomers — Ariana Gordon, Jr.; Auburn Hood, Jr.; Jasmine Jackson, Sr.; Monica Morales, Jr.; Taylor Myatt, So.; Aaliyah Scott, So.; Rachel Wyche, Jr.; Rheagan Wyche, Fr.Outlook — Rebuilding. Warriors return three key components from last year’s championship team, but lost two others, Maleah Potts Cash and Raven Calloway, who were worth a combined 20 points per game for Daegu. Many of Miller’s newcomers are athletes coming in from other sports; a question of how quickly they mesh.
JapanE.J. King Cobras2011-12 season record — 10-18; 3-9, 4th in DODDS Japan.Coach — Mimi Long, second season.Key returners — Tara Long, Sr., PG.; Jaimee Staggers, Jr., C (will transfer Dec. 16); Deborah Avalos, Jr., G; Yasmine Weddle, Sr., G.Outlook — Rebuilding as always.
Matthew C. Perry Samurai2011-12 season record — 14-16; 2-7, 5th in DODDS Japan.Coach — Victor Rivera, first season.Key returners — Courtney Beall, Jr., F; Ashley Starnes, Sr., F; Aliana Alexander, Sr., G; Tenacity Clayton, So., F; Briana Drake, So., F.Key newcomers — Lakeyia Brown, Jr., G; Nicole Perry, Sr., F; Naomi Ziola, Fr.; Penelope Kehr, Fr.; McKenzie Gordon, Fr.; Ana Erhart, Fr.Outlook — Contending. Might not seem like it, with Rivera the team’s third coach in three seasons and Rebekah Harwell, the Pacific’s single-game scoring record-holder, graduated. But the Samurai made a 10-game improvement last season and possess serious height in bunches and five players with a combined 13 seasons’ experience in Samurai uniforms. Rivera expects this team to give opponents “a run for their money.”
Robert D. Edgren Eagles2011-12 season record — 13-15; 2-11, 6th in DODDS Japan; Far East D-II Tournament runner-upCoach — Sarah Richardson, 23rd season.Key returners — Alexis Farrow, Sr., F; Kierra Davis, Sr., SG; Vanessa Black, So., PG.Outlook — Rebuilding, again. They got Jen Black back in the lineup just in time to make a runner-up run at Far East D-II last February; now, she’s graduated and her younger sister, Vanessa, tries her hand at point guard for the Eagles, but there’s not much around her. “As soon as you get them where you want them, they leave,” Richardson said.
Zama American Trojans2011-12 season record — 16-15; 3-8, 5th in Kanto; 6-4, 3rd in DODDS Japan; 5th in Far East D-II Tournament.Coach — Vera Jordan, first season.Key performers — Ariel Hicks, Jr.; Jasmine Quinn, Sr.; Nicole Oquendo, Jr.; Candice Quinn, Jr.Key newcomers — Lamari Harris, Fr. (transfer from Georgia); Destiny Howze, Fr. (move-up from Zama Middle School); Katrina Reid, So.Outlook — Rebuilding. Fourth coach in four seasons in Jordan. Many a graduated or transferred star to be replaced, but enough return, along with a talent infusion in Howze and Harris that the Trojans can be competitive.