Monroe Central looks to build on last season

By Donnie Yeager Jr.

For The Times Leader

WOODSFIELD – The Monroe Central Lady Seminoles finished last season with a 20-7 record, winning the MOVL and the Sectional and District titles before bowing out in the first round of the Regional tournament to Trimble. Graduated from that team are Kalista Friday, Haylyn Hiles, Trista Morris, and Hailie Hoyt, but the cabinet is far from empty in Woodfield. A total of fifteen girls are filling varsity spots this season, with nine of them being underclassmen, something veteran Seminoles coach Troy Baker is pleased with.

“Our numbers are pretty good and we are happy. We have a great group of freshmen that came in. They are working hard and pushing everybody to be better.”

Baker also recognizes the importance of playoff runs like last year in building and maintaining a program. “With our recent success, I think it has helped put the attention on girls basketball and I also think we are just fortunate to have good girl athletes that are here right now.

A quartet of seniors spotlight the Seminoles. Abby Thompson is a 5-10 forward. She is joined by guard/forward combos Kynzi Bishop (5-9) Crystal Powell (5-6) and Beallsville transfer Hallie Bommer (5-7).

Forward Jaya Henthorn (5-9) and guard/forward Riley Bettinger (5-8) are the two juniors on the Noles squad.

A trio of sophomores are on the Seminoles roster. They are guard Kensington Hiles (5-6), guard/forward Kaleigha Harriman (5-6), and guard/forward Grace Swisher (5-7).

The six frosh members of the Seminoles are guards Mayzie Emery (5-3), Jacey English (5-5), Emily King (5-5), guard/forward Zoey McGarry (5-6), and forwards Karlyn Steed (5-7), Graycee Huntsman (5-7).

English is penciled in to start at point guard as a freshman for the ‘Noles. She will be joined in the backcourt by Bettinger, who earned monograms her freshman and sophomore years, and is slated to rotate between the guard and forward positions, while Bommer will play the other guard spot.

A pair of seniors in Thompson and Bishop return to the forward positions. Bishop has been a starter and letter-winner since her freshman year. Thompson started and lettered her freshman and junior campaigns while not playing her sophomore year.

Powell’s versatility figures to see her rotate in at both guard and forward positions. Harriman, Swisher, and Henthorn are also key subs.

“Our guards are certainly the most inexperienced they have been for a while,” Baker surmised of his lineup. Bommer is a senior that transferred from Beallsville and she is going to help us out at that position.” He continued, “My front court, I feel like, is the most experienced and hopefully can be contributors early until we can get a better feel with the backcourt and what we are doing.”

Baker enters his 22nd year coaching at Monroe Central and has a career record of 242-230. His assistants this season are Doug Yoho, Trevor Friday, and Jeff Stephens.


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