A switch of start dates left the girls basketball teams in the state of Michigan waiting one extra week after the boys to begin their seasons. The first day of practice for the girls was November 12 with the first possible game date being December 3. Central Montcalm won the CSAA Gold Division last year for the ladies in solid fashion, and is a strong contender to back that up again this year. The teams in Newaygo County are looking to disrupt their flow.
Coaches in Near North Now’s coverage area were asked to provide information for their upcoming seasons including returning players, newcomers, players to watch, strengths, weaknesses and an overall outlook on the season.
Each team’s athletic page can be found in the links on Near North Now’s sports page for season schedules and rosters.
John Krim, Head Coach
Returning starters: We had 3 returners who scored over a hundred points for us.
Calla Miller 10th – 174-pts or 8.2 pg
Natalie Jamieson 11th 3 year varsity player – 136 pts or 6.4 pg
Chloe Shriver 11th grade – 103 points or 4.9 pg
Tori Reichert-Slater 12th
Paige VandenBerg 11th
Kaitlin Waite – 11th
Rhi Pafford – 11th
Avery Curnett 11th
Madison Foster 11th
Allysa Gustman 11th
Mula Cnaan – 12th German Exchange Student
Haley Zerlaut 9th
Even though we are young we have a lot of varsity experience this season. We had key players hurt most of last year and these young girls went from backup players to starters or key substitutes. We expect to be a much better shooting team this year than last as we think all 5 returners could score double digits on any given night.
We are young with just a single senior returning from last year’s team. We are not really big with no true post player so rebounding will be one of our challenges. Our league’s overall depth will be better this season, there should be competitive game just about every night. Central Montcalm is the heavy favorite (20 – 0 with everyone back).
Coach Quote on team:
“The work ethic has been terrific is our preseason practices. Very excited about this group of young ladies and can’t wait for our season to start.”
Nate Thomasma, Head Coach
2017-18 record (overall, conference, tournament finish):
Overall: 5-16 Conference: 2-12 (7th out of 8th) TF: Lost to TC in the 1st round of districts.
Returning starters (grade):
Jaylee Long (10th grade)
Lily Reuhmeier (10th grade)
Other Key Returners (grade):
Mya Berwald (12th grade)
Daniella duChemin (12th grade)
Sarah Behnke (12th grade)
Sophia Frisbie (11th grade)
Key newcomers (grade):
Amaya Vandyke (11th grade)
Savannah Hill (11th grade)
Kyla Rounds (11th grade)
Jessica Sanchez (11th grade)
Madi Berwald (11th grade)
Kendall Mathis (10th grade)
Emerson Goodin (9th grade)
Jaxi Long (9th grade)
Player to watch (quick word on them):
Jaylee Long: Jaylee is a returning All Conference player. She led the team in scoring and assists last year.
Lily Reuhmeier: Lily was our second leading scorer last year. She also led the team in rebounds.
Sophia Frisbie: Sophia was the 6th man last year. She is a gritty player willing to play any role on the team.
The team pushes the ball up the floor pretty well. We will need to use our quickness to our advantage.
Height and youth. Our tallest player is only 5'8". We will have to scrap and rebound the ball as a team or we will be in trouble. We are also pretty young. With that can come some inconsistent play at times. We will need to grow up fast because we have some tough games right out of the gate.
Coach quote on team:
"They've been a good team to be around. We just have to get consistent hard work at practice everyday to continue to grow and get better."
Alyssa Alger, Head Coach
Jessica Thompson, Summer Longstreet, Emma Sickelsteel, Grace Miller, Alicia Bowen
New to Varsity players:
Taylor Longstreet, Abi Mitz, Alison Myers, Sequoya Drilling, Alayna Merlington, Mary Siple, Aubrey Hearth
Outlook for the season:
Being a first year varsity coach at a new school, there will be challenges early because it is a whole new system to these girls but they have a great work ethic and really have bought into what I am trying to do. We have a lot of girls that are athletic so I want to use that to our advantage. We play in a tough conference with Central Montcalm and Big Rapids so it will be important that we stay competitive in every game that we play.
Kurt Brown, Head Coach
White Cloud comes into the season with high hopes and expectations. Coming off a 16 win campaign which included a district finals appearance, the Indians’ goals are set high. White Cloud returns 7 players including 4 starters. With the addition of 4 underclassman, the mix looks promising.
Hannah Brown (senior guard)
*4 year starter that led us in every statistical category and the heart and soul of the squad.
Hallie Schulz (senior center)
*3 year starter that will be asked a lot more of. Great scorer and rebounder.
Olivia Bowman (junior guard)
*3 year starter that truly does all the intangibles for our squad. She is a stat stuffer and needs to continue being the glue for our squad.
Alexis Straight (sophomore guard)
*Alexis is riding high after a great 2nd half of the season last year. No longer a freshman, she’ll need to continue to step up and be the sharp shooter we need her to be.
Haley Foster (senior guard)
*Defensive specialist that needs to continue her craft.
Kayla Pasch (senior guard)
*Spark plug offensively that will be asked to contribute more.
Layna Yeiter (junior forward)
*Defense and rebounding is her game. She brings toughness and physical play when called upon.
Cassie Watson (sophomore forward)
*Could potentially be our starting forward. Brings defense, toughness, and athleticism. She can run the floor better then any big I’ve ever head. Skies the limit.
Jemi Perrin (junior guard)
*Leader of the JV team last year. Excellent shot and guard skills. Potential first guard off the bench.
Britany Ringler (senior forward/center)
*Fresh off a major knee injury that cost her junior season, Britany has made huge strides and is set to contribute with defense and rebounding.
Madison Smith (senior guard)
*This is Madison’s first year of organized basketball. She has a lot to learn but is extremely athletic and will help later in the year.