Orlando Girls Basketball Previews

November 12, 2016
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A new girls basketball season tips off on Monday with Lake Highland Prep looking to follow a familiar script.

The Highlanders have reloaded and have their sights set on a third consecutive state title.

Bishop Moore, a state runner-up last season, returns key senior Morgan Davis to its lineup.

Edgewater and Seminole also made state final four appearances last season.

Here’s a quick primer entering opening week.

Returning all-area players

First-teamers — Morgan Davis, Bishop Moore, Sr.; Shania Meertens, Winter Springs, Sr.

Second-teamers — Tyra Cox, Lake Highland Prep, Sr.; Rachel Jablonski, Lake Highland Prep, Sr.; Re’Yanna Jones, Seminole, Soph.; Tiffany Tolbert, Dr. Phillips, Sr.; Carmella Walker, New Smyrna Beach, Sr.

Honorable mentions — Ariel Colon, Ocoee, Sr.; Koi Love, Montverde Academy, Soph.; Jermera McRae, New Smyrna Beach, Sr.; Kari Niblack, Wildwood, Jr.; La’Cheri Postell, Port Orange Atlantic, Sr.

Take note

Jablonski, a Rollins signee, and Cox, who has more than 10 college offers, are returning starters for Lake Highland Prep, as is junior Jiselle Havas, who has garnered heavy interest from Ivy League schools, among others.

Sophomore post-player Koi Love moved from Lake Highland Prep to Montverde Academy after winning a state title last year with the Highlanders. Montverde opens with five new starters.

Bishop Moore returns just two starters and seven players overall to a team that lost in the Class 5A state final. Senior center Morgan Davis bypassed numerous basketball scholarship offers and will instead head to Texas A&M to play volleyball.

Celebration finished just 4-17 last season but figures to make a major turnaround . The Storm benefit greatly from the addition of University of Florida commit Priscilla Smeenge, a post player who will team with junior guard Gabby Suarez, the lone returning starter.

Two starters are among seven returnees for Colonial, and the Grenadiers should have little trouble filling in for those who graduated. Kharis Idom is the team’s best all-around player and has the potential to fill out the stat line as scorer and rebounder. Point guard Angelica Delgado and three-point specialist Angelica Flores have gotten interest from junior colleges. Cayln Richardson is among the top defensive players on the team.

Following its run to the state final four, Seminole must reload after the loss of five seniors. A young and inexperienced team will benefit from the return of sophomore guard Re’Yanna Jones, who is being heavily recruited, and senior guard Shayon Richards.

New Smyrna Beach returns its entire starting lineup to a team that went 25-4 in 2015-16. Senior Carmella Walker leads a group that also consists of Kawanza Brown, Latrell Moton, Jermera McCrae and Alyssa Schwartz.

Orlando Christian Prep is looking to build on a 21-6 season with four returning starters and nine returnees in all. Junior guard Nicole Rolon (14 points, 6 steals, 4 assists per game), freshman forward Aaliyah Irrizarry (12 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals) and senior guard Ty DeJesus (10 points, 4 rebounds) lead the way for OCP.

Port Orange Atlantic returns seven players who played quality minutes a year ago for a team that finished 16-10. The Sharks are led by Postell, who averaged 13 rebounds last season and set a school record with 25 rebounds in a game.

First-year coach Chris Null takes over a Cypress Creek program for a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2009-10. The Bears finished 7-19 a year ago and have added Kissimmee Osceola transfer Judah Johnson to a group of just four returning players.

East River made a big hire over the offseason, bringing aboard coach Patricia Gaines-Jackson from Cocoa. She had more than 250 wins as a coach in Brevard County and .

Sophomore guard Lexi Duckett is receiving Division I interest after averaging 16 points per game last season for Daytona Beach Father Lopez (20-6). Madi Camporese, a junior, led Volusia County in assists.

Postseason picture

District tournaments – Jan. 30-Feb. 4; Regional quarterfinals – Feb. 9; Regional semifinals – Feb. 9-14; Regional finals – Feb. 14-17; State tournament – Feb. 21-25 at The Lakeland Center.

Preseason Super Six teams

Records are from 2015 season

  1. Lake Highland Prep (29-3)
  2. Colonial (23-5)
  3. Boone (19-8)
  4. Winter Park (23-7)
  5. New Smyrna Beach (25-4)
  6. Jones (17-10)

 

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