Girls Basketball Preseason Dandy Dozen
The scoop: Nearly everyone returns from last year’s team, that finished 28-4 after falling to Murfreesboro Blackman in the AAA state championship game. Junior guard Brandi Beasley is an all-star, Eryn Foster is a great paint presence and Alexus Bryson supplies the glue. Keep an eye on promising 6-4 freshman Elizabeth Dixon.
2. Olive Branch
The scoop: The Quistors finished runner-up in MHSAA 6A last year and will challenge again. Sophomore guard Myah Tayloralready has several good D1 offers and she’ll team with freshman Mahogany Vaught to form a great backcourt. Junior Savanna Geeslin provides the 3-point shooting.
3. Horn Lake
The scoop: Last year’s 6A state champs graduated a lot of talent. But 6-3 senior Alexyse Thomas (committed to Wright State) is one of Mississippi’s best bigs, while Alondrea Rush holds things down in the backcourt.
The scoop: Veteran coach Lee Smith is excited about his team’s potential. Senior twins Elise (11 points, 6 rebounds) and Brynn (9 points, 5 rebounds) Holden and Kathryn Newman will lead, while eighth-grade post player Aliyah Wells is one to watch for the future.
The scoop: The Trojans have a great chance to make their third straight trip to the D2-A state tournament. All five starters return, led by sophomore guards Ashtyn Baker (14.5 points, 5.1 assists, 6.1 steals) and Karlie Hughes (13.1 points). And Lauren Decembrinois healthy after missing all but six games with a torn ACL.
6. Memphis Home Education Association
The scoop: Tracy Rice’s Eagles have one of the best three-pronged attacks in the area. Torri Lewis is headed to Ole Miss whileBailey Wilkes has signed with Union. And Jamie Crum is a deadly shooter.
The scoop: With four starters back from an 18-13 team, Cougars will challenge in 13-AAA. Seniors Kierra Richardson, Phenicia Howard and Alex Wherry key coach Steve Poindexter’s three-guard attack.
The scoop: Eight experienced returnees make the Tigers the favorites in 14-AAA. Junior Tori Sewell (12 points) is getting lots of college attention and classmate Raegyn Branch (11 points, 8 rebounds) and senior Cheryanne Norton (8 points, 6 assists) are solid as well.
The scoop: Overton missed the AAA state tournament for the first time in five years last season but looks great on paper for 2015 and beyond. The top three scorers all return: juniors Kyla Green (16 points); Rodrea Echols (12 points); and Kayla Williams (10 points).
The scoop: The Mustangs went to the AAA state tournament for the first time in school history last year, and figure to be a factor again this year, thanks to the return of outstanding junior Jaida Roper. Mary Collins, a 5-11 senior, played well in the Mustangs’ two Hall of Champions wins last week.
The scoop: Longtime Dragons coach Bobby Yates could have a real sleeper on his hands. Three starters — Kara Harbin, Megan Loden and Madison Rozier — return. But the key will be the play of an exciting class of freshmen, led by Alexis Taylor and Lauren Taylor.
12. White Station
The scoop: Coach Tola Black’s team played some exciting basketball last year, pressuring the opposition all over the floor and getting out on the break. Senior Emanye Robertson is one of the best in the city and players like Damiah Griffin and Dejah Montgomery should thrive in bigger roles.
Others to watch: Bartlett (size, experience will make Panthers tough); Cordova (Michaela Campbell will flourish in new coach Tommy Warren’s up-tempo system); Craigmont (Chiefs will challenge Raleigh-Egypt for AA supremacy); Harding (Antoinette Lewis key for the Lions); Raleigh-Egypt (La. Tech, VCU among schools interested in 6-3 junior Manaya “Big Ticket” Jones).