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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Downriver League Preview One (PHOTO)

Brianna Brennan will look to lead Woodhaven to another DRL title this season.

A senior-heavy Woodhaven girls’ basketball team is looking for more big things after coming off a 22-win season in 2011-2012.

Coaches Doug Simmons and Rodney Scharboneau do not intend to change much in the game plan, but will add a few new things in hopes of making the Warriors a more balanced team, both offensively and defensively.

Brianna Brennan, Salina Shubik, Whitley Currie, Natalie Frensley, Stephanie Suter, Erica Marvaso and Jaclyn Wallace will make up the senior class and all are expected to play multiple positions and to provide various forms of leadership throughout the season.

The seniors will be joined by juniors Cassie Breen, Allison Manning, Erin Marvaso and Jessica Koss, and freshmen Hailey Leidel and Lyndsay Brennan.

Brianna Brennan and Breen are team captains this season.

Currently, the team is working hard and preparing for what they expect to be a tough season opener.

“We know the Downriver League will be competitive again this season and we are looking forward to the challenge with hopes to be in the thick of the race at the end,” Scharboneau said. “We are all very excited to get started.”

The Warriors open at Detroit Country Day on Saturday.



Carlson

Coach Phil Carlson led the Marauders to a 13-7 finish last season in his first year as head coach. This year he hopes to improve on that.

Carlson said he plans to make changes both offensively and defensively.

Poor shooting percentage hurt the Marauders last year and the team working hard to improve in that area.

Defensively, the Marauders will be using their speed to pressure the ball at all times during games.

This season, the Marauders have five seniors – four returning and one new.

Sarah Carlson and Kristina Poole are four-year varsity starters, Brittany Gniewek is a four-year player and Rebecca Browning is a three-year varsity player. Fellow senior Elise Craig joined the team this season.

“We have a good blend with the four returning seniors and I am sure they will lead the way this year,” Coach Carlson said.

Joining senior class are juniors Hayley Ganaw, Stephanie Gubics, Kristina Torres and Paige Blakeslee, and sophomores Maggie Herman and Kerstyn Comerzan.

Carlson expects his four returning seniors to be a key part in the team’s output the season. Sarah Carlson and Poole are nearing the 1000-point career scoring mark, a feat that has not been accomplished at Carlson since Brandi Winrow in 1999.

Overall, Coach Carlson is expecting a good season and said that Woodhaven and Southgate will be the teams to beat.

“I am looking forward to a very fun season,” he said. “We have a great group of kids this year.”

The Marauders open their season Dec. 7 against Flat Rock.



Kennedy

The Kennedy Eagles will rely on heavy senior presence this season as they begin their third season under Coach Latisha Martin.

Kennedy lost four seniors last year and went 6-15 on the season.

When Martin inherited the team three years ago they were winless and they are still going through a rebuilding type phase.

Last year, the team won their first league game since Kennedy has been in the Downriver League.

“We’re basically just building every year and trying to get a system going,” Martin said.

This season, the Eagles plan to continue to develop players, while being a competitive team.

“My approach has been to be a scrappy defensive team while we’re developing players. Our strategy is to be competitive even with teams like Woodhaven,” Martin said. “The goal is just to go out and out run them.”

Taylor Cole, Jazzalyn Bathurst and Latisha Wheeler have been with Martin all three seasons, and Cole and Bathurst are team captains this season.

The captains have already shown great leadership by encouraging the rest of the team to stay committed to the team and participate in summer workouts.

“They know what I expect so they’re the perfect captains for this situation,” Martin said.

Joining them are seniors Dynette Baldwin, Alyssa Domonkos, Myra Johnson and Giovanna Savastano, juniors Mary Chambers and Morgan Greenslait and sophomores Chassidy Barlow, Felicia King, Asia Page and Tera Savastano.

Overall, Martin said her expectations are just to continue to get better as the season goes on.

“I adopted a program where girls’ basketball wasn’t the top priority,” she said. “We’re just trying to hang in there and learn to play the game. From beginning to end, I want to see them develop as basketball players and not worry too much about the records.”

The Eagles opened up their season last night against Summit Academy.



Truman

Chad Putnam, now in his fifth season as head coach of the Truman Cougars, plans for his team to be competitive in the tough Downriver League this season.

Leading returnees include Chelsea Bedwell and April Micheaux, who each averaged 11 points last season.

Both girls are coming into this season as the leading scorers and rebounders from last season and are looking to build on what they did last year.

They will be joined by Kadie Lee, Diamond Thomas, Ciara Bush, Victoria Fisher and Sydney Higginbotham.

Key newcomers for Putnam are Judah Frazier, Mariah Hopkins, Liaja Hodge, and Caprice King, who was the junior varsity team’s leading scorer last season.

Putnam expects the strength of his team to be in the post players. Many of the post players are very athletic and Micheaux and Fisher are two of the fastest players on the team.

“That should afford us the opportunity to really diversify how we play throughout the season,” Putnam said.

The point guard duties will be split between Thomas and Bush, each of whom have one year varsity experience and are much improved from last season.

“Both players are working to gain a better understanding of the game,” Putnam said. “And both are working to recognize the strengths of the team and how they can put their teammates in positions to be successful.”

Lee was the team’s top defender last season and Putnam believes she will continue to provide the team with valuable efforts defensively.

Frazier is one of the top outside shooters and is also expected to do good things defensively.

Hopkins is suffering from an early season medical issue, but Putnam says the glimpse of her skills indicate that she could be a very valuable player.

It is still up in the air how the Cougars will play this season. Putnam envisions times with a lineup consisting of three post players and times where they play with a smaller, faster unit.

“The early season will help us gauge how we play best as a team,” he said. “It will also enable us to get our lineup rotations figured out and understand which players work best.”

Truman opens the season tomorrow against Taylor Baptist Park.











Last Updated: 11/27/2012 1:14:02 PM EST

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