WEST VALLEY PREPS

West Valley Preps 2019-20 girls basketball preview

Posted 12/2/19

The girls basketball season is under way for all local high schools. Here’s what local coaches have to say about their teams a week after the regular season began.

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WEST VALLEY PREPS

West Valley Preps 2019-20 girls basketball preview

Posted

The girls basketball season is under way for all local high schools. Here’s what local coaches have to say about their teams a week after the regular season began.

DEER VALLEY SKYHAWKS

4A West Valley Region

2018-19 Record: 13-11 overall, 4-4 region (reached 4A play-in)

Coach: MJ Walker (second year as Deer Valley coach)

How many years have you coached girls basketball? I’ve coached for eight years and this is my third season at Deer Valley, second as varsity coach.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We’ve got hustle on defense.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to execute at every aspect of the game. There is always room for improvement. We get stronger every day.

Who are your team leaders? Sara Roskelley (senior), Allison Howard (junior), Aalyna Silva (senior).

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Annie Lee (sophomore), Michaela Lee (freshman).

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament, or achieve the goals you have set this season? Communication and hard work.

ESTRELLA FOOTHILLS WOLVES

4A Southwest Region

2018-19 Record: 18-10 overall, 6-2 region (Reached first round of 4A playoffs)

Coach: Matt Johnson (10th year as Estrella Foothills coach)

Top Returnee: Tianna Reeder, Soph.G 5-9 (12.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.9 spg); Cheyanne Hubbard, Sr., W 5-6 (4.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.5 spg)

How many years have you coached basketball? I have been coaching since 1994 at the high school boys, men’s collegiate and this is my 10th season as the head coach of EFHS girls basketball with a 185-71 win/loss record and eight trips to the state playoffs in nine years.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our best attribute this season has been the player work ethic and dedication.

Who are your team leaders? Tianna Reeder and Cheyanne Hubbard are returning starters and Olivia Neidzwecki (started as a freshman) returns after missing last season due to injury.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Several players will be asked to take bigger roles on varsity.  Samantha Stockton and Mary Winovich will share post responsibilities. Delilah Lunan and Kennedy Harper are new to the program and will provide depth at the wing.  Alyssa Gename, Alexandria Nickeson, Ruth Valdez, Kayla Campbell, Faith Ross and Jenae Beneschan will provide depth.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? Gain game experience and develop understanding of who fills what roles necessary for us to be the most successful. We will have to develop our depth and gain a strong grasp on the offensive and defensive system to make a run the second half of the season.

GLENDALE PREP GRIFFINS

2A Central Region

2018-19 Record: 21-10 overall, 8-4 in region play (First round of 2A playoffs)

Coach: MJ DiPietro (first year at Glendale Prep)

How many years have you coached boys basketball? Six years.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? As we play more basketball together as a team, we will be a force

Who are your team leaders? Nicole Parascandola

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Aarushi Parikh

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season or reach the goals it has set? Playtime together

IRONWOOD EAGLES

5A Northwest Region

2018-19 Record: 11-14, 4-6 region 

Coach: Jamie Fellows (second year as Ironwood coach)

Top Returnees: Ilicia Zamorano, Sr., 5-3 G (7.1 ppg, 2 rpg); Amelia Corker, Sr., 5-4 PG (4.8 ppg, 2.1 apg).

Note: Megan Strickler, the Peoria District player of the year last year, transferred and is now playing for Bella Vista Prep

How many years have you coached girls basketball? I have been coaching for about eight years, this is my fifth year coaching at high schools, and my second at Ironwood. 

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have a very diverse group. We are tall, fast, strong, and good shooters from outside. 

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? I would like us to be able to recall a “tool kit” full of plays. Enough for just about any situation. 

Who are your team leaders? We have a few leaders in the group. Ilicia Zamorano was voted as captain by all her teammates, and I think she’s doing a great job leading. Kennedy Reimann has come a long way in the last year, and has stepped up as a leader, as well as Amelia Coker who has done a fantastic job helping even while hurt. 

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Kennedy Reimann is my biggest, new contributor. She’s played on JV previously, but has grown tremendously as a player in the last year. Her confidence is much higher these days, and I’m happy with her progress!.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season? To reach the tournament, a lot needs to happen. We have the talent individually to make an impact on the season. We just need to be more cohesive as a unit on the court and find more consistency. I know we have the ability to go further than we did last year.

KELLIS COUGARS

5A Northwest Region
2018-19 Record: 7-17 overall, 0-10 region
Coach: Shanelle Haskins (second year)

How many years have you coached basketball?
This is my 4th year coaching girls basketball specifically at Kellis. I was an assistant coach the first two years and have been the head coach for the last two years.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season?  Our best attribute is playing together. All of the girls have played together for the last few years and have established great team chemistry, They are best friends off the floor which helps them to be successful on the floor

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success?
Our team needs to improve on coming out strong instead of waiting until the third or fourth quarter to pick it up.

Who are your team leaders?  Our team leaders this year are Lorena Corrales and Kylie Becenti. Both are juniors and have been playing on varsity since their freshman year. I’ve seen them both find their voice and speak up when the team needed it this year, something they haven’t done a ton in the past.  

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact?
One newcomer this year who will make a big impact is Makayla Robertson. She is the voice of our team and helps to keep everyone’s sprits up at all times. She plays tough defense and is always looking to improve not only herself but her teammates.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or achieve the goals the team has set?  
In order to achieve our goal of making it to he state tournament this year we have to be consistent in every aspect on offense, defense, and communicating. If everyone plays the role that we have set for them and they play together we have a good chance of meeting our own goals and making it far.

LIBERTY LIONS

6A Desert Valley Region
2018-19 Record: 7-18 overall, 0-10 region
Coach: Brittany Mayclin (first year as head coach)
Top Returnees: Tarissa Moore, Sr., 5-10 PF (6.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Kate Lockhorn, Sr. 5-7 F (6.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg)

How many years have you coached basketball? I was born and raised in Minnesota... played at D2 Minnesota State University Moorhead. Coached Minnesota Gym Rats D1 in AAU for 5 years, coached at Arizona Western College in Yuma for three years and now in my first year at Liberty. Coaching is in my blood as my grandpa and my father coached basketball for nearly 60 years combined.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season?  Our team has a lot of drive within. They love the game and come every day wanting to get better. Our scrappiness will be key to our game.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Each team has their inconsistencies but our struggle will be to maintain a high physical nature throughout all four quarters. Keeping turnovers down would also be beneficial

Who are your team leaders? The success we get this season will stem from our on court leaders Kate Lockhorn and Tarissa Moore.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? We have five under classmen and of those Sam Campbell could have the biggest impact to our team scoring the ball and using her length on defense.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season or reach the goals it has set? If we can get four or more players scoring double digits, clean the boards and stay united we have a shot to reach and surpass all of our goals.

MILLENNIUM TIGERS

Region: 5A Desert West

2018-19 Record: 27-4 overall, 10-0 region (5A state champions)

Coach: Courtland Rojeck (11th year as Millennium coach)

Top returning players: Ali Zelaya, Sr., PF 6-4 (14.7 ppg, 8 rpg, 2.2 apg); Trayanna Crisp, Soph., PG 5-7 (9.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.6 apg)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? I think one of our best attributes this year is our athleticism and team speed.  We are not as big as years past (Graduated Diggs, Phillips and Newman), but what we’ve lost in size we have gained in speed for sure. I anticipate our team defense will be really tough for teams to score on and offensively we should run the floor really well.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? I think the biggest improvement we will need to make is gaining experience on the fly.  We have a solid core of returners, however we do have roughly 6-7 players who will be playing a full varsity season for the first time in their careers.  That being said, by the time February comes around, there are no “newcomers.”  Our expectations remain the same.

Who are your team leaders? Alexandra Zelaya and Jasmine Singleton and Kylie Grant.  Ali and Jasmine have been starters on the varsity since their freshman year.  They have been apart of a group that lost in the State Championship (Valley Vista 2017), also leaders on a team that won a State Championship (Gilbert 2019). Their leadership and experience will play a big role in our success this year. We expect Jas to really lead our offense and defense with her leadership and communication.  Ali, who is someone who can do everything on the floor, we expect her to dominate all facets of the game by her play and leadership. Kylie Grant, who also has been a varsity player for the three years, leads with her energy. Someone who did a great job defensively for us last year, leads by how hard she plays and it really is contagious when you see her and how she plays the game.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Amoret Maxwell, not necessarily a newcomer, but after being a rotation player her freshmen and sophomore year, we expect her to be a major scorer for us this year. One of the best shooters we’ve ever had in our program, we expect her to add a new dynamic to our offense this year. 
Kassidy Dixon has the chance to make a big time splash this year.  Last year she played six quarters (four JV and two varsity). We did that to get her as many minutes as possible and increase her confidence. This year, so far, it seems everything is clicking for her. She has had a great preseason, and her athleticism I believe will be a thing that many teams will have a hard time combating.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament, or achieve the goals you have set this season? Last, but obviously not least, Trayanna Crisp. She was a freshman last year, who played huge in big moments last year. She helped close out the Valley Vista game for us and rattled off like nine straight points in the state final game to close out Gilbert. In my opinion, Tray is one of the most dynamic guards in the state. Her realizing that and embracing her game will really help us achieve our team goals this year. 

MOUNTAIN RIDGE MOUNTAIN LIONS

6A Desert Valley Region
2018-19 Record: 13-13 overall, 3-7 region (reached 6A play-in)
Coach: Jaime Carreon (second year as Mountain Ridge coach)
 
How many years have you coached girls basketball? This is my 20th year coaching girls basketball in the Northwest Valley. My second year at Ridge.
 
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have a great group of talented girls returning along with some new young talent. I think they are eager to build on what we did last year.
 
Who are your team leaders? Definitely our 3 Seniors, Sheana Koshaba, Jordan Kress and Jordan Miano — returning from an injury that sat her out last season.
 
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? We have added three sophomores from our JV, and three freshman, all of which are capable of a lot of playing time.
 
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament, or achieve the goals you have set this season? After making the playoffs for the first time in a long time, our program goal this year is to host a state game this year. We ended the season No. 18 and are looking to do better this year. So we will have to steal some more games from our competitive region.

PARADISE HONORS PANTHERS

3A Metro West Region
2018-19 Record: 14-9 overall, 7-3 Region
Coach: Parrish Tatum (first year as Paradise Honors head coach)
Top Returnees: Maddy Cox, Sr., 5-10 F; Jamie Craig, Sr., 5-10, C.
 
How many years have you coached basketball? (First year at Paradise Honors). This is my 12th year coaching basketball. nine years as head coach and three years as an assistant coach.
 
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our best attribute is team chemistry, toughness, hard workers, young and quick. We have a lot of retruning players from last year and each player brings something different to the team.
 
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We will need to focus on defense, play at a faster pace on both ends of the court and execute at a high level. Taking care of the basketball — i.e. less turnovers
 
Who are your team leaders? Our team leaders are senior Maddy Cox, senior Jamie Craig, junior Hallie Karren and sophmore Scarlet Eberlein.
 
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Sophmores Rebekah Rolfe, Addy Sandusky and Hannah Everingham are not new to the team this year but seen limited time last year. All three players will have a huge impact this season.
 
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or achieve the goals the team has set? For us to reach our goals this season defense has to be priority, limit turnovers, play tough, be aggressive, play fast, believe in each other and learn how battle when things get tough.

PEORIA PANTHERS

 
4A West Valley Region
2018-19 Record: 12-15 overall, 2-6 region (Reached 4A play-in)
Coach: Robbie Harper (6th yr as head coach)
Top Returnees: Tiffane Tran, Sr. 5-8 SG (9.3 ppg), Destiny Massiat, Sr., 6-1 F 3.4 ppg, 3 rpg)
 
How many years have you coached boys basketball? 25 years
 
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Depth.
 
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Defense and rebounding
 
Who are your team leaders? Tiffane Tran, Briana Munoz, Deja Allen and Serrena Gonzales. 
 
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Serrena Gonzales (A transfer from Valley Vista)
 
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season or reach the goals it has set? Becoming a team and doing the little things.

SHADOW RIDGE STALLIONS

6A Southwest Region
2018-19 Record: 6-16 overall, 3-7 region
Coach: James Nyman(Second year at Shadow Ridge)
Top Returnees: Lauren Ponsford Sr., 5-11, F; Kelsey Ericksen, Soph. G.
 
How many years have you coached girls basketball? I have coached basketball 30 years. First 24 of those in Wisconsin. This is my second year as head coach of Shadow Ridge girls basketball program.
 
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Positive attitudes and team chemistry are our best attributes. Commitment to off season training has improved the confidence and skill level
 
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We are vertically challenged which will cause us issues against teams with size.  We need to focus on defensive positioning when rebounding.  Better understanding of game situations.
 
Who are your team leaders? Lauren Ponsford, Alexis Holland, Kelsey Ericksen
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Halle Bryan, Paris Whitlock
 
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or achieve the goals the team has set? We are a young team which will take time to get them to game speed on a nightly basis. The attitudes have been great, practices have been more competitive than in the past. Next step is to carry the energy and mental toughness into game settings. If the team can fight through the lows during games eliminating long dry spells along with stepping up team defensive. We will be competitive in every game. Team goals can be attained.

SUNRISE MOUNTAIN MUSTANGS

5A Northwest Region
2018-19 Record: 19-8 overall, 9-1 region (Reached 5A quarterfinals)
Coach: Jennifer Tolle (eighth year as Sunrise Mountain coach)
Top Returnees: Juli Diveney, Jr. 5-8 G (12 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.4 apg); Teryn Demaree, Sr. 5-8 F (8.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg)
 
How many years have you coached boys basketball? Eight years, all at Sunrise Mountain.
 
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have great depth at all positions heading into this season. Every player on the court is capable of scoring and making plays.
 
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? In order to accomplish our goals this season we will need to focus on being better defensively and on the offensive and defensive glass.
 
Who are your team leaders? Our two captains are Teryn Demaree and Sydney Bickel. They are the voice of our team on and off the court and hold everyone accountable. Their work ethic is second to none and that sets a high standard for our team and program.
 
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? We add four freshman and one sophomore to our team this year. Freshman Kenzie Duhnam and Reena Bahkta will be a great addition around the rim and beyond. All our young players play with a confidence beyond their years and pick up concepts really quickly. We are excited to see where they are at in January and February.
 
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season or reach the goals it has set? To accomplish our goals this season we need to remain focused on improving every single day. We are excited at the opportunity that lies ahead, but we can’t forget to be faithful to the process.

VALLEY VISTA MONSOON

6A Southwest Region
2018-19 Record: 25-6 overall, 10-0 region (Reached 6A semifinals)
Coach: Rachel Matakas (12th year at Valley Vista)
Top Returnees: Marisa Davis, Jr., 6-1 F (16.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.4 spg); Jennah Isai, Soph., 5-10 G (18.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.6 spg)
 
How many years have you coached girls basketball? 23 years
 
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? the Valley Vista Girls Basketball is bouncing back from a tough loss in the Final 4 last year.
 
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Valley has been working on developing leadership and consistency on the court.
 
Who are your team leaders? We have all the pieces coming back. Editor’s Note: Isai is recovering from a torn ACL in May
 
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? We add Madison Magee (a 6-1 post player who transferred in from Avondale Westview and is a junior) in January and (point guard) Olivia Aravallo who is a freshman this year.
 
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or achieve the goals the team has set? We continue to focus on our strengths with our speed and size advantages.

WILLOW CANYON WILDCATS

5A Northwest Region
2018-19 Record: 15-8 overall, 4-6 region (Reached 5A playoffs first round)
Coach: Brandon Scholtz (sixth year)
Top Returnees: Ryan Dreyer Sr., 5-5, PG (5.2 ppg, 2.3 apg, 2.6 spg); Shelby Maher Sr., 5-7, F (5.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
 
How many years have you coached girls basketball? This will be my sixth season at Willow Canyon.
 
What is your teams best attribute entering this season? I think this year we have a good mix of youth and veterans who all have the same vision of how we want the team to play.  Working hard,  playing with energy and hustle all game long.  The veterans are demonstrating the correct way to play and our younger girls are eager to follow suit. 
 
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We do have a lot of youth so experience will be key for us all year long, the more practices, games, fill room sessions, team bonding we can have the better we will be.  We have eight underclassmen suited up for varsity, and practicing every day and there are definitely some first-time varsity jitters and nerves and we saw that with the scrimmage we hosted. 
 
Who are your team leaders? Ryan Dreyer, Shelby Maher are four-year varsity players who have stepped up in a huge leadership position to fill the void left by the departing seniors. Sarina Ramirez is a three-year varsity player and our third team captain.  The team in general definitely looks to them as role models for how to practice and play the right way. 
 
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that can make a difference? Mia Martinez is a freshman who projects to be a starter on the team this year. She is someone who has outstanding work ethic and is probably the most coachable kid ive worked with, the program is so excited to have the opportunity to work with her the next four years. Elena Zamora is new to us this year from California and has jumped into a big role with the team right away. Her versatility will be used to create some mismatches on the court. Zion Brown is joining the varsity team this year and adds some much needed size and strength down low with the ability to push the ball up the court. 
 
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or achieve the goals the team has set? We need to stay healthy and we need to have our youth continue to develop into key roles throughout the year. We lost some very productive seniors from last years team so there are plenty of minutes and stats to go around this year. We are looking for a big jump from sophomore Makayla Ramirez who started as a freshman for us last year. We will be starting one freshman and have four sophomores who project to play consistent minutes in our rotation. The development of those younger players will be key for us this season.

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