Tippecanoe, with the return of four starters, was in great position to dethrone Alter as the supreme area girls basketball Division II program. That’s saying a lot, because Alter is the three-time defending D-II state champion.
And then came Maddie Frederick.
The girls high school basketball season begins on Friday with most area teams playing openers, many in two-game, tip-off tournaments. The boys basketball season begins Friday, Dec. 1.
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Alter has made girls basketball state championships a winning habit. The Knights rode four-year starters Braxtin Miller (Oklahoma State University) and Libby Bazelak (Duquesne) to four straight title games and won the last three. It still may not be the end of that great Knights’ era, but another might be starting at Tipp.
Guided by former Wright State men’s player Andy Holderman, Tipp made a grand Greater Western Ohio Conference debut last season, it’s first since leaving the Central Buckeye Conference along with Stebbins. The Red Devils (23-4) won an outright GWOC American North title (15-0) and were poised to make a deep postseason run.
Tipp’s tourney trail eventually led to Alter and Tipp fell 50-41 in a regional final. That was the third straight season Alter had knocked out Tipp in the regional.
But unlike those memorable showdowns, Alter will be without graduated seniors Miller, Bazelak and Emily Long (Alma). This season it’s Tipp that returns a loaded lineup of four starters: seniors Allison Mader (14.7 points), Cali Stewart (10.1) and Chloe Schretzman (3.3) and junior Brooke Aselage (6.9).
Added to that deep Red Devils mix is Frederick. The 5-foot-11 senior guard transferred back to the area from Chandler, Arizona, where she was the leading scorer (15.0) on the equivalent of a D-I state title team. She committed to Iowa State as a junior and signed with the Cyclones this month.
A Kettering native, Frederick was first team All-Arizona as a sophomore and junior and was nominated for that state’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
“I was born in Kettering so it is kind of a coming home kind of thing,” Frederick told the Dabbelt Report. “Tipp City is a nice area to be able to finish my high school career. I am looking to do whatever they need me to do to help us win. Hopefully, it will help bring the team together for a great season and we can make a run for it.”
Tipp opens its season on Wednesday at Miami East.
GWOC: Wayne, already a D-I regional power and in its third season with a core unit, underwent a significant coaching change when Travis Trace, the Warriors’ mega-successful boys coach, succeeded Sonya Miller as Wayne’s girls coach.
Wayne (20-5) has gone 22-0 in conference play the last two seasons and its entire starting lineup is being recruited, including junior guard Destiny Bohanon (11.7 points), who’s verbally committed to Dayton. Maya Dunson, a 5-10 senior, (9.8) also are sought-after Warriors standouts.
However, the Warriors are without senior standout Shai McGruder. An outstanding 6-2 forward who’s best in transition, she transferred to Trotwood-Madison for her senior season. Second team All-Ohio as a junior, she signed with New Mexico of the Mountain West Conference.
Fairmont (12-12) is loaded with returning starters, including 6-2 sophomore standout Maddie Westbeld (10.8 points, 7.3 rebounds). Springboro (20-6) is a combined 86-18 over the last four seasons. The Panthers of coach Tom Benjamin return leading scorer and senior Jordan Diehl (11.9).
Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North: Alter (28-2) faces its first full rebuilding year since Miller and Bazelak were freshmen. Their senior class was the winningest in Ohio history (115-5).
Carroll (23-5) lost three games to Alter last season and most of a senior-dominated lineup. Chaminade Julienne (6-17) is hoping to rebound with former Miami Valley coach Randy Duff. He succeeds Mandy Myers, now an assistant at Centerville.
Southwestern Buckeye League: Waynesville (22-2) and Bellbrook (22-4) were divisional winners with Milton-Union (17-6) and Monroe (20-5) the next best. Bellbrook, led by veteran coach Jason Tincher, is a combined 48-5 the last two seasons.
The top five SWBL leading scorers all return: Franklin junior Layne Ferrell (20.0), Waynesville junior Rachel Murray (18.4), Valley View senior Hunter Stidham (16.5), Milton-Union junior Kristen Dickison (13.5) and Carlisle senior Christa Harris (13.3).
Central Buckeye Conference: Tecumseh (22-3) made a D-I and GWOC breakthrough. The Arrows return the area’s best 1-2 scoring duo in juniors Corinne Thomas (26.1 points, 4.7 assists) and Presley Griffitts (20.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.5 assists). Thomas’ mother is Arrows coach Danielle Thomas.
Cross County Conference: Tri-Village (24-2) has been a state small-school power under coach Brad Gray. However, the CCC’s best returning players are Newton senior Tatum McBride (19.9 points) and Covington junior Sammi Whiteman (18.7).