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2014-15 Volusia County Girls hoops preview

November 13, 2014
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Atlantic
Head coach: George Butts

2013-14 record: 10-12

Projected starters: F Kari Scantling (Sr.), F Brittany Shaw (Jr.), G Cierra Gates (Jr.), G Princess Thomas (So.), C La’Cheri Postell (So.)

Key reserves: F CeCe Bankhead (So.), G Shania Pope (Fr.), C Lachelle Nottage (Fr.)

Outlook: The Sharks could be a darkhorse in the area, returning four starters. Scantling (14.2 points, 10.2 rebounds per game) and Shaw (14.0, 6.1) carried the load when Destiny Woodard went down with a knee injury in the 2013-14 preseason. The Sharks can shoot, led by Shaw and Gates, who knocked down 31 3-pointers. But the key likely will be finding a reliable ball distributor. With two freshmen in the rotation, depth comes into question as well. Starters likely will play a lot of minutes.

Calvary Christian

Head coach: Rick Perez

2013-14 record: 22-5

Projected starters: G Yasmin Perez (Fr.), F Brianna Ellis (7th), F Drew Good (Jr.), G Kiara Rodriguez (Fr.), C Martisha Nelson (So.)

Key reserves: G Hope Hodges (Fr.), F Faith Hodges (Fr.), G Delayna Gillard (7th)

Outlook: The Lions return virtually the entire roster after a 22-win season. Perez averaged better than 14 points and seven steals per game. Ellis remains one of the top players in the state in her age group. She averaged 12.5 points per game in her first varsity season. With Good, Rodriguez, Nelson and Hodges back in the fold, the Lions should win their district and be a consistent member of the weekly Fab 5 rankings.

DeLand

Head coach: Wayne Small

2013-14 record: 12-13

Projected starters: G Sherae Cherenfant (Jr.), G Kelsie Harris (Sr.), G Emily Galliher (Sr.), G/F Evelyn Bradley (Sr.), C Diamond Smalls (Sr.)

Key reserves: G/F Jourdan Williams (So.), G/F Destinee Perry (So.)

Outlook: The Bulldogs will start four seniors, but only Cherenfant and Galliher saw major minutes last season. Cherenfant led the Volusia-Flagler area in scoring, averaging better than 17 points per game. But Elaine Field, an All-Area first-teamer, will be missed in scoring and rebounding. The Bulldogs play in the tough District 2-8A and will need several of the new players to step up.

Deltona

Head coach: Brandon Wingfield

2013-14 record: 15-6

Projected starters: G Mika Gasco (Jr.), G Danika Hamilton (Fr.), G Tatiana Baker (So.), F Sarah Franklin (So.), F/C Chasimmie Brown (Sr.)

Key reserves: G Yliana Hernandez (Jr.), G/F Cheyanne Hunt (Jr.), F/C Kawayna Sander (So.)

Outlook: Deltona reached the state playoffs for the first time since 1991 in Wingfield’s first year as coach. Brown is a double-double machine (15.8 points, 15.9 rebounds as a junior) and is getting looks from a handful of schools, according to coaches. Gasco, a third-team All-Area player, leads a young backcourt. The Wolves are likely the odds-on favorite in District 5-6A.

Father Lopez

Head coach: Brad Ridenour

2013-14 record: 4-19

Projected starters: G Maddy Camporese (Fr.), F Madison Patrick (So.), G Mia Prado (Jr.), G Elle Cloer (Jr.), F Teresa Tabar (Sr.)

Key reserves: G Selena Perez (Jr.), F Reece Ward (So.), G Mariah Perez (Fr.), F Meghan Register (Jr.)

Outlook: The Green Wave hope to bounce back after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1998. Ridenour, who has coached since 2002, needs 10 wins to reach 300 for his career. Camporese could be one of the area’s top freshmen and joins an improved rotation with transfer Patrick and leading returning scorer Cloer. The Green Wave should be more competitive in 2014-15.

Flagler Palm Coast

Head coach: Javier Bevacqua

2013-14 record: 18-8

Projected starters: G Armani Walker (Sr.), G Ivana Boyd (Jr.), G Princess Williams (Sr.), G/F Shanika Gardner (Jr.), C/F Tamara Henshaw (Jr.)

Key reserves: G Aryelle Wagner (Fr.), G/F Alicia Smith (Sr.), G Sada Rowley (Jr.), G Christina Aiello (Sr.), G/F Shanteria Few (Jr.)

Outlook: The Bulldogs are loaded from top to bottom. Two starters from last year’s 18-win team (Smith, Few) now will come off the bench. Why? Walker returns from an ACL tear, and Henshaw, an All-Space Coast player in 2013-14 at Titusville, transferred in. Henshaw, a 6-foot-0 post player, has been receiving looks from a number of Division I schools, including UCF, Jacksonville and East Carolina, according to Bevacqua. Then, there’s reigning Player of the Year Boyd, ready to roll after an offseason knee injury. The goal is simple at FPC: a deep run through the Class 8A state playoffs or bust.

Halifax

Head coach: Joseph Dougherty

2013-14 record: 2-9

Projected starters: G Timeshia Jackson (Jr.), G/F Kayla Robinson (So.), G Ty’Kiria Mims (Fr.), F Amaryawna Gentle (8th), G Tierra Turner (8th)

Key reserves: F Autumn Johnson (8th), G Mekijah Dotson (7th)

Outlook: The Knights return just one player ā€” Robinson (2.0 points, 6.0 rebounds per game) ā€” from last year’s team. Five of the team’s top seven players are freshmen or younger. Building team chemistry will be the primary goal before two early tests with Winter Garden Foundation and University.

Mainland

Head coach: Arthur Westbrook

2013-14 record: 12-13

Projected starters: G Michella Green (Jr.), G Elainna Jones (So.), F Jasmine Hadley (So.), F Anaisha McDuffie (Jr.), C Sakiah Small (Sr.)

Key reserves: F Keymira Frost (Jr.), C Nakia Carlson (So.), G Leeann Kent (Fr.)

Outlook: The Bucs came up one game short of the playoffs last season and return a number of key players. Green, second-team All-Area in 2013-14, averaged 11.7 points and 3.7 steals per game. Scoring threat Sada Rowley transferred to FPC, but the Bucs welcome Anaisha McDuffie from Pine Ridge. The All-Area honorable mention player is one of the area’s better rebounders. Mainland should give Deltona and New Smyrna Beach a challenge.

Matanzas

Head coach: Julie Huesser

2013-14 record: 5-19

Projected starters: G Hannah Mattaliano (Jr.), G Brooklynn Jimeson (Sr.), G/F Victoria Dragoslis (Jr.), F Sarai Sheppard (Jr.), C Cassandra Hoffman (Sr.)

Key reserves: F Jenise Marshall (Jr.), F Montanna Brumfield (Jr.), G Julene Grande (Jr.), C Taliyah Nowlin (Fr.)

Outlook: The Pirates struggled to score last season, averaging just 21.2 points per game. They hope to fare better in district play after an 0-11 run. There’s lots of new faces, including New Jersey transfer Mattaliano, Michigan transfer Brumfield and Spanish foreign exchange student Grande. Dragoslis is one of the team’s leaders in offensive rebounding. Second-chance points will be critical for the Pirates.

New Smyrna Beach

Head coach: James Henry

2013-14 record: 14-14

Projected starters: F Jermera McRae (So.), G Alyssa Schwartz (So.), G Carmella Walker (So.), G LeTrell Wilbon (So.), G Sha’Kwanza Brown (Fr.)

Key reserves: None

Outlook: The District 5-6A runners-up Barracudas are super young but talented. Walker (12.5 points, 5.0 steals per game) earned second-team All-Area honors. She leads four sophomores, including solid rebounder McRae and Wilbon, who played in only 15 games because of an injury. There’s some early buzz about Brown, a freshman, as a player to watch this season.

Pine Ridge

Head coach: Brad Montgomery

2013-14 record: 4-17

Projected starters: G Jamia Douglas (Sr.), F Olivia Thompson (Sr.), G Nyah Beamon (So.), G Kiara Williams (So.), G Madison Fenner (Jr.)

Key reserves: F Tia Dennis (So.), G Randi Knighten (Jr.), G Passion Graham (Fr.)

Outlook: Montgomery brings a wealth of basketball coaching experience, with more than 400 games to his record and 216 wins. Fenner had a solid sophomore season, averaging 9.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 4.3 steals. Douglas, Beamon and Knighten also logged solid minutes for the Panthers. Anaisha McDuffie’s transfer to Mainland leaves a big hole in terms of rebounding. A lack of size could be problematic.

Seabreeze

Head coach: Avery Randolph

2013-14 record: 12-9

Projected starters: F McKenzie Bowlus (Jr.), F Ashley Loyd (Jr.), F/G Lazoya Watson (Sr.), G Christen Helem (Fr.), G Shaelyn Commette (So.)

Key reserves: G Maya Johnson (So.), G Jasmine Smith (Jr.), G Taylor Lee (Sr.)

Outlook: The Sandcrabs hit the ground running, hosting FPC on the opening night of the season. Bowlus, Loyd and Watson provide a formidable, experienced frontcourt. Randolph thinks Helem could be a future mid-major Division I prospect with some work. Seabreeze figures to finish in the top three in District 5-6A and should challenge Deltona and New Smyrna Beach for a playoff spot.

Spruce Creek

Head coach: Kelvin Hamm

2013-14 record: 20-8

Projected starters: G Jayla Adams (Fr.), G Irelynn Davisson (So.), F Ashanti Bailey (Sr.), F Ally Marcy (Sr.), C Briana Laidler (Jr.)

Key reserves: F Keaubree Edwards (So.), G Jewel Montisano (Jr.), F Shelby Bischoff (Jr.)

Outlook: The Hawks made big strides last year in earning a Class 8A playoff spot. Laidler, a Fab 5 player last preseason, picked up an offer from Division I Longwood, Hamm said. Adams, a freshman, also has garnered college attention. The Hawks have size and toughness down low, but shooting remains a mystery. Jasmine Jarrell, one of the area’s top 3-point threats in 2013-14, is gone. District 2-8A always is competitive, but the Hawks should grab one of the playoff spots.

Taylor

Head coach: Kevin Hiss

2013-14 record: 4-8

Projected starters: G Casey Curry (Sr.), F/C Allison Friend (8th), G/F Malia Bunce (8th), G/F Cameron Neely (So.), G/F Lex Peterson (Sr.)

Key reserves: Jennifer Vargas (Jr.), Lexi Friend (7th)

Outlook: The Wildcats will rely on top returner Curry for offense. She averaged 10 points and five assists in her junior year. Allison Friend added five points and five rebounds per game. Neely, a volleyball star, makes her basketball debut. She’s one of a handful of newcomers hoping to lead the Wildcats to the Class 1A playoffs.

Trinity Christian

Head coach: John Torre

2013-14 record: 18-10

Projected starters: G Leann Latorre (So.), F Horizon Fayerweather (Sr.), Dahia Porter (7th), Alex Hart (So.), Shekeira Miles (Fr.)

Key reserves: Mackenzie Sylvester (Sr.), Anija Burns (So.), Josie Araro (So.)

Outlook: There’s a new coach and a bunch of new players for the Eagles this season. Latorre and Fayerweather give the team a rebounding presence. But who is going to fill up the bucket? Ashley Sauri, Brittany Sylvester and Dajia Ortiz, all of whom graduated this past spring, combined for almost 80 percent of the Eagles’ scoring last year. Trinity made the Class 2A playoffs in 2013-14, and a return trip is not out of the question.

University

Head coach: Nicole Rennaker

2013-14 record: 0-25

Projected starters: G Karellia Mercado (So.), G Kia Pollar (Sr.), F Najah Gerrald (So.), F Courtnie West (Fr.), C Lysa Lundy (Sr.)

Key reserves: F Kiana Vazini (So.), G Amber Dominguez (Fr.)

Outlook: Rennaker, the Titans’ rookie coach, grew up in basketball-crazy Indiana and relocated from Tennessee. She inherits a program that posted a winless campaign in 2013-14. The front line has some size, including 5-foot-10 center Lundy. But it’s a fairly young group playing in a very difficult district. Winning a few games would be a big step in the right direction.

Did not report: Warner Christian

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