July 17th, 2017

Year in review: Girls' basketball

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Year in review: Girls' basketball
The Valkyries pose with the Seventh Region championship trophy / photo by Conor Revell

The Louisville Catholic Sports Network chronicles the 2016-17 sports year in review. We will bring you every sport, every season, and every team’s season ending results in a capsule until we're finished. Today, we look back at girls’ basketball.

Assumption (14-20) – The Rockets showed some signs of growth this past season with several younger players seeing action while juniors Samantha Babey and Taylor Allen continued their progression.

The Rockets 14 wins were the most since the 2012-13 season when they went 22-8 and finished as the Seventh Region runner-up.

Allen (7.0 points per game) and Babey (6.9) were the Rockets two leading scorers. Freshman Abby McQueary (5.2 points and 4.6 rebounds) and senior Piper Gray (4.7 points and 5 rebounds) and Kristin Olinick (4.0 points) also played key roles.

Assumption finished as the 26th District runner-up and lost to archrival Sacred Heart 66-43 in the first round of the Seventh Region Tournament.

“I have four seniors that laid a great foundation for these other kids to learn how to be good people and to do things the right way and to work harder than other people,” Seigel continued. “I think that leadership and that foundation that they set will take Assumption (basketball) in a good direction.”

Along with Gray and Olinick, McKenna Schelb, and Jenna Calhoun were the other seniors on this year’s team.

“This is the first group that I really felt like was mine,” Assumption head coach Amy Siegel said. “They’ve been with me for three years. The leadership with this group is second to none. We’re going to have a hard time filling their shoes in terms of work ethic and how much time they’ve put in to getting better. I love them. If Assumption can get back to a point of where we’re winning and beating some of the other teams then these guys definitely laid the foundation.”

Holy Cross (15-17) – The Cougars may have finished the season with a losing record but made a memorable season ending including winning their 21st District championship since 2014.

Holy Cross started the season 7-14 but won eight of their last 11 games. Mercy ended the Cougars season in the first round of the Sixth Region Tournament.

“I believed we could win the district but I told them in the locker room that I didn’t think they did at the start of the season,” Holy Cross head coach Olivia Moore said. “We grew up together throughout the season. We realized that we had the potential to go far.

“Once we got there towards the end of the year, then they started believing in themselves. Once we beat PRP, we realized we had something. Then we beat Fairdale to win the district and that was a huge confidence booster. That hadn’t been done in three years. They felt a sense of accomplishment after that.”

Junior Halle Snyder made headways this year and averaged a team high 15.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

“A lot, we have grown up a lot,” Snyder said. “We have grown more as a team. At the beginning of the season we had some new freshmen and we weren’t really close with them and didn’t hang out a lot. We had to grow a bond, slowly we did, and then we brought it onto the court.”

Kailey Reed also stood out and averaged 9.7 points. Madison Turner (6 points) and Lauren Schraut (6.1 points) also made strides throughout the season.

It was a remarkable turnaround from the season before as the Cougars didn’t qualify for the Sixth Region Tournament the previous year.

Mercy (17-14) – The Jaguars struggled at times this season but also had their shining moments from time to time.

The Jaguars finished as 24th District runner-ups and lost to Butler in the Sixth Region semifinals.

Mercy said goodbye to seniors – Elizabeth Anderson, Grace Walsh, Muss, Woods, and Zeisloft – the group won the Sixth Region Tournament as sophomores.

“This group of seniors have faced a lot of adversity off the court,” Baisch said. “They don’t deserve that. They have had to go through stuff that most kids don’t deal with. Grace’s father passed. Elizabeth’s career didn’t go the way it should have. It was a rough start to the season.”

Center Danielle Feldkamp (10.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game) made huge progress throughout the season and announced her commitment to Bellarmine at the end of the year.

Super freshman point guard Hope Sivori (8.1 points) made her presence felt from the get-go despite having wild moments on the floor from time to time.

“With the exception of Danielle not being out, that was next year’s team out there at the end of the game,” Baisch said. “The one thing we really need is we need to get tougher. That’s something we’re going to have to work at during the offseason. But we’re excited for the season.”

Senior Josie Woods (12.3 points) led the team in scoring while sophomore Regan Berger (10.4 points) showed flashes of explosiveness with her three-point shooting.

“It has been a long four years at Mercy,” Woods said. “I’m so happy that I chose Mercy. I loved being a part of the basketball program and playing for all the coaches.”

Presentation (16-9) – With a senior heavy group, the Toppers enjoyed one of their most successful seasons in quite some time.

“We played really well this season after a slow start,” Pres head coach David Jackson said. “A lot of kids play a different sport in the fall so we really didn’t get going until about Christmas. Right before Christmas we got into a basketball mindset and basketball conditioning and there for a stretch we played really well.”

The Toppers won the All “A” Classic Sixth Region title for a third straight year and was the No. 2 seed in the 25th District Tournament.

Pres saw their season in the 25th District semifinals with a heartbreaking 54-41 loss to Central.

“Central is an athletic team and they attacked the basket,” David Jackson said. “We didn’t attack the basket. They shot the ball well and we didn’t see the rim as well as we normally do. It just wasn’t our night.”

Point guard Lilly Stephenson proved to be one of the top scorers in the city and averaged 16.5 points per game as her high school career came to a close.

“Always beating Holy Cross,” Stephenson said of her favorite memories. “I’ll never forget beating Central twice sophomore year and during the regular season this year either. Those were the two games we always looked forward to playing each year.”

Junior Courtney Jackson had a breakout season and averaged 10.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Seniors Julia Vogt (8.2 points) and Lauren Nunnelley (4.3 points) also played key roles.

Perhaps the top two moments of the season were when junior Jaelin Thompson hit a buzzer to beat Holy Cross in the All “A” Sixth Region title game and David Jackson was honored for coaching his 30th game late in the season.

Sacred Heart (29-6) – The Valkyries won their first Seventh Region championship since 2014 with a strong crop of juniors and freshman leading the way.

Sacred Heart defeated Assumption, Eastern, and Manual en-route to the regional championship. Butler ended the Valkyries season in the first round of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare/KHSAA Girls Sweet Sixteen® Basketball Tournament.

“This team plays for each other, every single one of them does” head coach Donna Moir said. “My second team can beat the first team in practice any day of the week. They knew that tonight if they didn’t perform well that somebody else would go in.”

Junior Grace Berger (14.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game), an Indiana commit, is perhaps the best all-around player in the city while her classmate Kiki Samsel (12.2 points, hit 84 of 182 three-point shots) is always a dangerous threat from downtown.

Samsel added: “Our team chemistry has gotten us this far. We all play for each other. Nobody is worried about their own stats. We share the ball a lot and don’t have a ball hog on our team. The person who has the best shot will shoot.”

Meanwhile fellow juniors Kia Sivils and Natalie Fichter worked the glass down low.

“On any day during practice the second team can beat the first team,” Fichter said. “Everyone on this team has been on the first or second team at some point. It shows that anybody on our team can provide help.”

Erin Toller (7.9 points) may the top freshman guard in the city while two sport superstar  and fellow freshman Kristin Clemons (4.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game) provided the Valkyries some valuable size down low.

Interestingly enough, the Valkyries only had one seniors this season (Danielle Wethington) and will be considered a favorite to win the state title along with defending state champ Mercer County.

“I’m not going to lie, it has been tough at times being the only senior,” Wethington said. “I’m playing with such a talented group. Sometimes it’s tough to keep them all together with me being the only senior leader. But it is worth the trouble, I love this group, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”


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