[Baltimore Sun] The Aegis 2023 high school girls basketball preview

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Regular season records don’t have to mean much. Just ask Patterson Mill, which finished last year 10-10 before being crowned regional champs and nearly upsetting Pikesville in the state quarterfinal.

The Huskies field a young, sophomore-heavy team looking to build on last year’s success.

Conversely, Fallston returns a largely upperclassmen team that fell shy of expectations a year ago. The Cougars let last year’s regional championship slip to Harford Tech and open this year seeking vengeance.

“Our goal is simple,” said Cougars coach Johnny Woods. “Be better than we were last year.”

Here’s a look around the county (Editor’s note: not all teams responded to requests for information):

Bel Air

Coach: Calvin Skelton, 20th season

Last year: 10-12, regional quarterfinalist

Top returners: Seniors Gabby Awuah (C), Allie Brown (F), Rachel Taylor (G) and Emma Zegers (G); junior Paige Feick (G).

Newcomers to watch: Junior Darby Doehring (G/F); sophomores Mya Sauer (F) and Carson Price (F).

Coach’s outlook: “This year’s team has high expectations for themselves as 10 of the 12 players on the roster are returners from last year’s team. A mix of athleticism and talent, the Bobcats hope to grow into the kind of team that their school will be excited about supporting!”

C. Milton Wright

Coach: Mary Buyse, first season

Last year: 4-16

Top returners: Senior Anna Buyse (G); juniors Carley Jehnert (G), Sam Wolfkill (F) Emma Jankowiac (G) and Jordan Miller (F).

Newcomers to watch: Senior Shelby Sullivan (G).

Coach’s outlook: “We will use our tough defense and strong play in transition to compete with anyone in the county.”

Edgewood

Coach: Wes Laguerre, fifth season

Last year: 6-16, regional semifinalist

Top returning players: Senior La’Kel Davis (G), Kimora Barton (F) and Zakerra Bailey (G); juniors Lilly Smeltzer (C), Arianna Sisk (F), Phaneirra Barnett (F), Folashewa Olaniyi (G), Aryella Cullum (G) and Jasmine Oyekanmi (F); sophomore Sam Donovan (G) and Jael Erickson (G).

Newcomers to watch: Seniors Ronni Edwards (G/F) and India Satterfield (G); juniors Donielle Mack (F) and Arianna Little (F).

Coach’s team outlook: “I am excited to see our team mesh together this season. Last season, we overcame a lot of new challenges but I think that only made us stronger and more prepared for this season. If we can stay healthy and stay the course, I am excited to see how far we can go!”

Fallston

Coach: Johnny Woods, fifth season

Last year: 18-7, regional semifinalist

Top returners: Seniors Ayla Galloway (F), Leah Rhinehart (PG), Maddy Burns (G) and Sarah Drzik (F); juniors Natalie Wirth (F), Sarah Gent (G) and Jadin Woods (G); sophomore Brooke Bolesta (F).

Key newcomers: Juniors Lilly Burns (G), Maura Lawall (G), Sarah Gnagey (C), and Grace Donovan (G).

Coach’s outlook: “This team lost a tough regional game last year and we have been working hard in the offseason to return to this game. I expect this team to compete/demonstrate grit in every game. Our goal is simple, be better than we were last year.”

Harford Tech

Coach: Brad Hunt, fourth season

Last year: 19-6, state semifinalist

Top returners: Seniors Jordan Strang (F), Jessica Castro (G), Sarah Hunt (G) and Sophia Mace (G); juniors Faith Orsini (F) and Delaney Klaus (F).

Newcomers to watch: Senior Abi Marcello (F) and freshman Ciara Smith (G).

Coach’s outlook: “We hope to compete and continue the success of the last few years.”

Havre de Grace

Coach: Chip Pross, second season

Last year: 19-5 Lost Regional Final

Top returning players: Seniors Azareya Whiting (F) and Sanai Knox (F); sophomore Ryleigh Curry (G).

Newcomers to watch: Freshman Sabree Knox (G).

Coach’s outlook: “The Warriors had a successful first year with a new coaching staff in the 22-23 season but will be moving up in divisions this season. The Warriors are eager to compete with the top teams in the county and will strive to make every game a challenge for their opponents. The Warriors will bring toughness to the court every night.”

John Carroll

Coach: Jim Stromberg, first season

Last year: 12-8

Top returners: Seniors Anna Westervelt (F) and Naimah Saccoh (G); juniors Vivian Carrico (G), Alyssa Hughes (F/G) and Grace Marchetti (PG).

Newcomers to watch: N/A

Coach’s outlook: “The B conference is competitive from top to bottom with an influx of talent at a number of schools. Gerstell Academy, NDP and Concordia Prep have quality returning players that has led to success in each program over the course of the past two years. Bryn Mawr is always competitive and well coached as any team in the area. St. Paul’s and St. John’s Catholic Prep have a couple of new additions to their respective programs which will raise the level of play overall in the conference. Garrison Forest has a new coaching staff and their point guard this year was as good a player as any in the conference.

The John Carroll team is very athletic and tends to be on the competitive side in all our practices to this point. We will play man to man full court press defense and a motion type offense. Once the full IAAM B conference season starts in January, hopefully we will be playing our best basketball.”

Joppatowne

Coach: Erica Richardson, 15th season

Last year: 3-18

Top returners: Senior Deja Rone (SG); junior Taylor Horsey (PG); sophomore Samiah Head (C).

Newcomers to watch: Freshman Chaniya Cormack (SG).

Coach’s outlook: “Having almost the entire team return is a great feeling! Despite our record, they learned a lot last year and are ready to work hard this year.”

Patterson Mill

Head Coach: Rich Wilhelm, second season

Last year: 10-10, state quarterfinalist

Top Returners: Senior Kiley Wilhelm (F); juniors Zoe Valan (G) and Abby Shertzer (G); sophomores Rylie Madson (F) and Sophia Trihn (G).

Newcomers to watch: Sophomores Jazmyne Jordan (G) Riley Crain (G), Layla Clark (G) and Ava Ward (F).

Coach’s outlook: “We are looking to continue to grow as a team. We are going to work hard to improve on last year’s record and continue to be competitive in our league.”

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