2017-18 Gazette Preps girls' basketball team-by-team capsules

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Coach: Bryan Earls (first season)

Last season: 3-21 (0-13 in league)

Key players: G Abriana Burr, sr.; F Madison Eurich, sr.

What to know: Earls inherits a young and experienced Cougars team but is already encouraged by the squad's willingness to improve every day. Last season, Burr averaged 6.1 points, while Eurich had 4.9.


RELATED: Pikes Peak-area boys' basketball team capsules



Coach: Patrick McKiernan (seventh season)

Last season: 24-2 (lost in quarterfinals to eventual state champion Grandview)

Key players: F Unique Gainey, sr.; G Camrynne Mack, sr.; F Brionna McBride, jr.

What to know: Even though Doherty lost its top three scorers from a historic season, McKiernan has plenty of reasons to be excited about this season's team. McBride averaged 9.3 points. 7.3 points and 4.5 steals as a sophomore, while Mack, a three-year varsity player, figures to improve on her 3.5-point, 3.5-rebound average from last season. Gainey added 4.1 points and 7.8 rebounds.


Fountain-Fort Carson

Coach: LouAnn Guiden (second season)

Last season: 5-18

Key players: G Samiyah Worrell, jr.; F Teyanna Norris, sr.; F Danae Christensen, so.; G Teandra Omans, jr.; C Kiana Jackson, sr.

What to know: With one season under her belt, Guiden expects improvement and hopes the hard work on and off the court can carry over to the win column. Worrell is the league's top returning scorer after averaging 13.9 points as a sophomore.



Coach: Monty Taylor (first season)

Last season: 14-11 (lost in first round of playoffs)

Key players: G Malea Lopez, sr.; G Phylicia Bacon, sr.; P Mya Austin, sr.; P Morgan Sibley, sr.; G Jordan Valentine, sr.; G Jayda Lyon, sr.

What to know: The Lancers took big strides last season, winning the most regular-season games in nearly 15 years and placing third in league play with an 8-5 mark. Taylor, the program's former junior varsity coach, is looking for continued growth with the entire starting lineup and seven seniors overall returning. Austin led the league with 75 blocked shots, while Lyon led a balanced scoring attack at 10.7 points per game.



Coach: Dave Shackelford (22nd season)

Last season: 9-15 (lost in first round of playoffs)

Key players: G Sanee' Cates, jr.; G Megan Barney, sr.

What to know: The Terrors had only three players average more than six points last season, and two of them departed to graduation. That leaves Cates as the go-to scorer (12 points) for Palmer, at least early on. The Terrors will count on Barney (1.7 ppg) and junior Kayla Schumacher (1.5) to step into expanded roles to take pressure off Cates.


Pine Creek

Coach: Janean Jubic (second season)

Last season: 18-7 (lost to Ralston Valley in second round of playoffs)

Key players: G Kate Ogrodny, sr.; G Brianna Bailey, sr.; F Elaena Murdock, sr.; G Brooklyn Thomas, jr.

What to know: The Eagles graduated a star-studded senior class earlier this spring, but Jubic has another group ready to step in and continue a stretch of no fewer than 18 wins over the past four seasons. In limited action last season, Bailey connected on 34 percent of her shots from 3-point range and shot 83 percent from the free-throw line.



Coach: Ashley Miller (fourth season)

Last season: 11-15 (lost to Doherty in second round of playoffs)

Key players: F Madi Wriedt, sr.; G Bailee Hart, jr.; F Shannon Danda, sr.; G Milly Cruz, jr.

What to know: After losing 11 seniors to graduation the past two seasons, the Rams finally have continuity heading into the new season with virtually everyone back from last season. Miller has installed a new offense to give her players more freedom, and that can only help Hart (9.8 points per game) and Wriedt (8.9) as the Rams seek a bounce-back season after suffering the most league losses (five) since the 2011-12 season.





Coach: Charles Thomas (first season)

Last season: 2-21

Key players: F Destiny Trujillo, sr.; G Katiah Thomas, jr.; G Ce'hana Smith, jr.; F/C Diamond Moore, so.

What to know: Thomas, entering his first season, sees plenty of potential from his core of returning letter-winners, led by Trujillo, who averaged 7.3 points last season. Moore made key contributions as a freshman, averaging 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds, and could be in for a breakthrough this season.


Mesa Ridge

Coach: Jeff Beatty (eighth season)

Last season: 21-5 (lost to Pueblo West in quarterfinals)

Key players: G Chloe Welch, sr.; P Ashley Bowen, jr.; G Serin Dunne, so.; G Angelina Jackson, jr.; G Monet Hubbard, so.

What to know: The two-time 4A CSML defending champs have their potent 1-2 punch back in Welch (18.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists) and Bowen (12.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 blocks) to lead the way. The Grizzlies are mostly young after that, but very talented, too, with plenty of underclassmen having made key contributions along the way.



Coach: Cayla Fitzgerald (first season)

Last season: 1-22

Key players: F Sierra Mills, jr.; F Nykkie Aniasco, sr.; C Jordan Lopez, jr.; G Renee Taylor, sr.; G Vanessa Hopson, sr.

What to know: The former Cayla De George steps into a Mitchell program much like she did three seasons ago at Lewis-Palmer as one in need of rebuilding. She spearheaded a nine-game improvement in that time and led the Rangers back to the playoffs earlier this year. She expects her squad to improve greatly this season.



Coach: Joe Williams (eighth season)

Last season: 15-10 (lost to eventual state-champ Evergreen in second round of playoffs)

Key players: G Aubrey Robinson, sr.; P Gyani Sami, jr. G Jasmine Monroe-Shivers, jr.; G D'nae Wilson, so.

What to know: The Stallions always seem to be in the lead pack, and this season should be no different with four returning starters who feature plenty of firepower. Sami nearly averaged a double-double (9.8 points, 11.3 rebounds) as a sophomore, and Wilson made quite a varsity splash by averaging 12 points. Throw in Robinson (11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds) and Monroe-Shivers (6.2 points) and plenty of experience on the bench, and this is a squad that'll be tough to beat. 


The Classical Academy

Coach: Frank Haist (second season)

Last season: 20-6 (lost to Windsor in round of 16)

Key players: G Raegan Bervig, sr.; F RaeAnn Queener, sr.; F/G Autumn Boyles, jr.; F/G Kaitlin Walters, jr.

What to know: Fresh off the program's first 20-win season and deep run into the postseason, the Titans return four starters as they look to give two-time defending league champ Mesa Ridge all it can handle. Bervig is an all-around threat, having averaged 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals a season ago, while Queener nearly averaged a double-double at 9.8 points and 8.0 rebounds.



Coach: Jim Mason (22nd season)

Last season: 12-12 (lost to Thomas Jefferson in first round of playoffs)

Key players: G Aaliyah Ricketts, jr.; G Charisse Fairley, sr.; G Shynesti Johnson, sr.; P Mackenzie King, jr.; F Erika Warner, so.; G Kylee Balaty, jr.

What to know: Ricketts (13.9 points per game) and Fairley (12.6) give the Gladiators perhaps the most explosive backcourt in the area, and they'll lead an experienced team, one that longtime coach Mason said "has the most talent that we've had at the high school in a number of years."


Woodland Park

Coach: Del Garrick (second season)

Last season: 7-16

Key players: F Kylee Newsome, jr.; F Natalie Graber, sr.; G/F Maia Pappadakis, sr.; G Samantha Lecky, sr.

What to know: Newsome broke through last season, nearly averaging a double-double with 10.8 points and 9.2 rebounds as a sophomore. Garrick is most excited about improved guard play and senior leadership, which should make Newsome even more dangerous.



Air Academy

Coach: Phil Roiko (fifth season)

Last season: 20-5 (lost to Rifle in the round of 16)

Key players: G Katlyn Blacksten, sr.; P Mary Parchinski, sr.; G Liza Louthan, jr.; G Kylee Blacksten, so.; G Zoe Sims, jr.; G Kayla Nocon, jr.

What to know: Even without departed offensive stars Katelin Gallegos and Brooke Sulski, the Kadets return plenty of experience to follow up on last season's successes that included a 17-game winning streak and the program's first Pikes Peak Athletic Conference crown. Parchinski (6.9 points) is the top returning scorer.


Cheyenne Mountain

Coach: Brian Sherman (first season)

Last season: 11-14 (lost to Mesa Ridge in the second round of playoffs)

Key players: P Vanessa Vargas, sr.; G Kathleen Nelson, sr.; G Rylie Cottrell, sr.; G Selena Vargas, so.; P Katelynn Ralston, so.

What to know: Sherman, the son of former Indians football coach Brian Sherman, steps into the coaching role following the departure of Lisa Guhl, who took an assistant position at Colorado College. Sherman inherits plenty of talent that has adjusted quickly to a new system but will have to adjust to life without standout post Ashlynn Smith, who averaged 13.3 points and 8.4 rebounds last season.


Discovery Canyon

Coach: Heath Kirkham (first season)

Last season: 16-8 (lost to TCA in the first round of playoffs)

Key players: C Ashten Prechtel, jr.; F Kristina Schnieble, sr.

What to know: Behind Prechtel (13.8 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.8 blocks), the Thunder broke through last season, setting program marks for wins, had a 10-win turnaround in league play and tied Air Academy for the top spot in the PPAC standings. Schnieble added 7.3 points and 6.1 rebounds for a Thunder team that starts a new era under first-year coach Kirkham.



Coach: Tarike Adams (fourth season)

Last season: 17-8 (lost to D'Evelyn in the second round of playoffs)

Key players: G Ena Keco, sr.; G Idalias Samson, sr.

What to know: The Falcons, who had their most wins since 2010-11, will have a much different look this season after losing six seniors to graduation who accounted for more than 80 percent of the team's offense. Adams will count on seniors Keco (6.7 points) and Samson (6.4) to carry the load early as a mostly inexperienced squad finds its identity.



Coach: Kristy Youngpeter (first season)

Last season: 10-14 (lost to Centaurus in the first round of playoffs)

Key players: G Kaity Hovasse, sr.; G Preslee Enget, sr.; G/F Arianna Blowe, sr.; C Sami Tucker, sr.

What to know: A strong junior class should translate into an even stronger senior class for the Rangers, who pretty much bring everyone back from the 2016-17 edition that broke a five-year playoff drought. Hovasse led the way last season with 12.9 points and 8.7 rebounds, with solid contributions from Blowe (8.6 points), Enget (7.3) and Tucker (6.9).


Palmer Ridge

Coach: Dennis Coates (eighth season)

Last season: 14-11 (lost to Valor Christian in the second round of playoffs)

Key players: G Mackenzie Siskind, sr.; G Eden Bonser, so.; F Sydney Day, so.; G/F Dulaney Koogle, so.

What to know: The Bears lost the bulk of their scoring with the graduations of Sam Rippley and Jasmine Sanders but got a sneak preview of a bright future with the play of newbies Bonser (7.2 points) and Day (5.4 points and 4.9 rebounds). Siskind missed most last year recovering from a torn knee ligament and averaged 7.3 points over the season's final four games.


Sand Creek

Coach: Payden Goldberg (first season)

Last season: 8-15

Key players: G Jalen Davis, sr.; G Conner Proctor, sr.; P Rebecca Knoche, jr.; G Malena Portillos

What to know: Goldberg becomes the program's fifth coach in as many years following Jamey Carey (2014), Frank Haist (2015), BJ Johnson (2016) and Tommie Johnson (2017). But her familiarity to the program as a former junior varsity coach has helped the transition process. The Scorpions continue their rebuilding process after a four-season undefeated run (2013-16) as league champs and will turn to seniors Davis (12.7 points per game) and Proctor (9.4) to lead the way and turn over the squad to the future.


Vista Ridge

Coach: Kimberly Hazelton (first season)

Last season: 7-18 (lost to Denver East in the second round of playoffs)

Key players: G Kate Rohr, sr.; G Kaley Tubbs, sr.; P Darian Taylor, sr.

What to know: Hazelton inherits a team with a senior-heavy roster to mentor the four freshmen who represent the team's future. Rohr (12.7 points) and Taylor (10.5) give the Wolves a potent high-low combination.





Coach: Mark Engesser (fourth season)

Last season: 24-3 (lost to Lamar in state championship game)

Key players: G Megan Engesser, jr.; G Rachel Ingram, jr.; F Katie McGrath, sr.; G Virginia McGrath, sr.

What to know: The Lions, who just fell short of the 3A title last March, have plenty of returning firepower and experience with four starters and a key reserve back from that team. It's hard to beat the CSCS backcourt of juniors Engesser (16.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 67 3-pointers) and Ingram (12.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals and also hit 67 3-pointers).


St. Mary's

Coach: Mike Burkett (19th season)

Last season: 21-4 (lost to Sterling in state quarterfinals)

Key players: C Madenna Bodette, sr.; G Josephine Howery, so.; G Mary Cummings, sr.; G/F Seneca Hackley, so.

What to know: The Pirates return plenty of experienced players to make another deep run in the 3A playoffs this season. Bodette (11.9 points and 6.2 rebounds) can control the low post, and when the defense doubles down, guards like Howery (10.3 points per game) and Cummings (43 percent from 3-point range) will do damage from the perimeter.


The Vanguard School

Coach: Denise Howell (first season)

Last season: 3-17

Key players: F Marianna Jackson, sr.; C Idalia Jackson, sr.; F Breanna Swann, jr.

What to know: The Coursers struggled to score points last season (32.6 per game) but do return Swann, who led the team with 6.3 points. With only two seniors, Vanguard will also look to its underclassmen to find additional leadership.





Coach: Jim Elrick (fifth season)

Last season: 12-8 (lost in district tournament)

Key players: F/C Sierra Knox, sr.; G Savannah Teetor, sr.; G Brittany Fuchs, sr.; G/F Bailee Carter, jr.

What to know: With four returning starters, this season's Bulldogs have experience on their side. Elrick anticipates a "fun" season with further growth from his team, led by a trio of seniors. Fuchs led the way with 11 points per game last season, and Carter nearly averaged a double-double with 10.7 points and 8.8 rebounds.


Colorado Springs School

Coach: Vicki Vaughan (12th season)

Last season: 11-11 (lost in district tournament)

Key players: F Natalie Richardi, sr.; G Ali Graham, sr.; F Samantha Warhoe, sr.; G Grace Hill, jr.; G Sarina Mansour, so.

What to know: While the Kodiaks lost three key scorers from last year's squad to graduation, they do return Richardi, who led the team in scoring (9.8 points) and rebounding (5.1). Graham (7.2 points) and Warhoe (4.8) give CSS added depth, and a talented freshman class, including Natalie's sister Whitney, give the Kodiaks a bright future.



Coach: Cody Chambers (first season)

Last season: 19-5 (lost to Simla in region championship game)

Key players: F Devinne Larreau, sr.; C Graciela Donez, sr.; G Samantha Chambers, jr.

What to know: Larreau had quite a season in 2016-17, averaging 13.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.4 steals in helping Ellicott to the brink of the program's second 2A state berth in three seasons. Donez added to the low-post effort with 11.6 boards per game to go with 9.6 points, and Chambers chipped in from the outside by averaging 6.6 points.


Evangelical Christian Academy

Coach: Bruce Beers (18th season)

Last season: 18-5 (lost to Haxtun in region championship game)

Key players: F Elizabeth Bristow, sr.

What to know: The Eagles, who finished one game shy of returning to the 2A state tournament, graduated four of five starters, so Beers will be dealing with a young squad in 2016-17. Bristow averaged 4.5 points and 5.3 rebounds last season.


Fountain Valley School

Coach: Caroline Blaylock (second season)

Last season: 5-12

Key players: P Ava Rahm, sr.; G Tilly Rahm, so.; P Kendall Weiskopf, sr.; G Maddie Kahl, sr.

What to know: The Danes bring plenty of experience and depth into the new season. Ava Rahm grabbed more than 100 rebounds and had 60 blocks, too, and younger sister Tilly averaged 11 points but had her season limited to eight games due to injury. Kahl (8.5 points) and Weiskopf (7.2 points and eight rebounds) give the Danes plenty of options.

Note: Schools not listed, did not report