Baumholder girls a good bet for Div. III repeat
December 5, 2003
The road to the Division III girls basketball title looks to run through Baumholdeer.
The Lady Bucs return a strong nucleus from last year’s championship team.
A look at the Division III lineup:
Baumholder Lady Bucs
Carter Hollenbeck’s team returns senior power forward Tiffany McNeil, a 5-11 senior who was named first-team All-Europe after averaging 15.5 points and 12 rebounds per game during the Lady Bucs’ 18-2 title run.
Also back are 5-11 senior forward Tiffany Brown, 5-11 junior center Ashley Karayannis and guards Tiffany Mack, and LaTisha Schelas. They’ll be augmented by a pair of incoming guards, the Madison sisters — senior Megan and freshman Jessica.
Mick Plummer’s team welcomes back his three leading scorers from last season — junior guard Brittney Britton, a second-team All-European who averaged 11.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 2.75 assists per game, along with four-year starter Nadia Freeman and European all-tourney pick KeKe Johnson.
However, junior Alison Hazen and senior Zee Watson, a transfer from Brussels, will have to take up the defensive slack for graduated stars Laura Bond and Che Sykes.
Bamberg Lady Barons
New coach Richard Baker will build around returning starters Shalotta Williams, an all-conference pick last season, and Jessica Mayfield to try to better last season’s 6-6 regular-season run.
Joyce Dusenberry will try to replace departed starters Paige Nicoson and Tori McDuffie with newcomers Danielle Greene, who arrived in Europe in time to make the All-Europe second team in volleyball, and junior Lisa Mayhew.
They’ll blend with varsity returnees Whitney Clemmons and Kelsey Axon, both seniors, and juniors Esteya Chirunga ad Ashley Gauss.
Edwina Smith’s club will rely on quickness and defense to end a yearlong losing streak.
Junior guard Paige Kumm, the team’s penetrator and outside threat, is the key, Smith said. Kumm’s fellow returnee Takerra Ellis will handle the post, while four-year forward Amellis Peart runs the floor. Junior swing players Erika De Leon and Henrietta Brown will provide the defensive pressure.
Freshmen Charmoni Jackson and Janet O’Brien and soph Shirley Smith are expected to contribute, Dusenberry said.
London Central Bobcats
Last year’s runaway conference and regional champs lost a pair of all-conference players to graduation, but return Europe’s female athlete of the year Nicole Lassetter (23.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.9 steals and 3.3 assists per game last season) for her senior season.
It’s the same situation London Central faced in volleyball last October, when Lassetter and fellow returnees Mary Beth Tittle, Stephanie Anderson and Megan Vallow teamed with newcomers Jessica Walker, Erica Tibbetts, Micana Galloway and Kelsey Anderson to win the European title.
They’re capable of duplicating that feat in basketball.
Alconbury Lady Dragons
Ken Bell’s 22-player roster will jell around All-Europe volleyball player Caitlin Langen, along with her fellow returnee Megan Archer.
Bell said newcomers Christina Arrendodno, Nikita Webb, Keisha Hunt and Angeniece Pegues are cause for optimism.
Brussels Lady Brigands
Dexter Bohn lost three starters from last season’s 10-4 club.
He hopes that returning senior Jessica Simpson (7.9 rebounds per game) and junior Claris Bottesini (5.5 rebounds) can pick up his team, which also is counting on senior center Saundra Payton, senior point guard Eirini Kannelou, sophomore Angie Fowler and freshman Reliesha Burns.
Menwith Hill Mustangs
All-conference pick Jordan Henshaw, a guard, and her running mate Nicole Romero, will lead Kellie Campbell’s first squad.
Six-foot freshman Sarah Nagle can provide rebounding help.
Iceland Lady Vikings
Coach Dawna Rickey welcomes back Shanae Black, Shante Russell and Kari Faz-Matson return from last season’s III-North regional runners-up.
Rota Lady Admirals
Kerry Yudiski (10 points, 7 rebounds per game) and Crystal Mirales (6 points, 5 rebounds) return, supplemented by newcomer Samerria Crowder.
They’ll carry the load for coach Greg Jacobs as his team plays Spanish club teams while awaiting the III-North regional at Allconbury Feb. 12-14.
First-year coach Brian Daly will find a virtually all-new team when tryouts conclude this week.
American Schools in Italy
Naples Lady Wildcats
Craig Lord’s team returns 4-11 guard Michelle Aguila, an all-conference and Med all-tourney pick, from the juggernaut that went 17-1 last season in qualifying for Europeans.
Aviano Lady Saints
Laura Corder-Chavez’s squad has the bloodlines to replace four lost starters from last year’s team which went 11-1 in the regular season.
They are her daughter, 5-11 Jesica Corder, along with and 5-9 shooting guard Cheri McNeely, daughter of boys’ basketball coach Ken McNeely.
Point guard Natalie Smith, the lone returnee, will lead the team, which will be helped by forward Mavis Smith, along with tall, quick freshman Ingrid Bratteng and stateside transfer guard Emeral Templeton.
Sophomores Lauren Johnson and Rachel Smith and seniors Crystal Sampson and Whitney Lynch will do the heavy lifting for Sig, which went 7-5 in ASIL play last season.
Coach Joe Pellerito said he isn’t sure yet just which of his four returnees will step up.
Livorno Lady Lions
Youthful Livorno will rally around its sister act, Brittany and Ashley Fowler.
“We’ll be young and inexperienced,” athletic director Nick Zingaro said.
Coach Eric Vining will try to compensate for last year’s large senior class by building around 5-9 forward Liz Schiack. The job is more difficult this season because security concerns prevent the team from playing Turkish club teams, as it has in the past, while waiting to try its luck at the Mediterranean Regional.