by Gary Andrews
The girls TRC basketball jamboree was held Thursday at Manchester with seven of the eight conference teams participating. Each team played two quarters with Northfield defeating Whitko in quarter one 9-7, Whitko topping North Miami 19-6 in quarter two, Northfield beating North Miami 15-7 in quarter three, Wabash defeating Manchester 23-0 in quarter four, Rochester nipping Wabash 14-13 in quarter five, Rochester topping Southwood 13-6 in quarter six and Manchester downing Southwood 12-9 in quarter seven.
The four county teams’ coaches got a chance to take a look at returning players and the youngsters coming in that could lend a hand.
Geoff Salmon is coaching Northfield in his first year at the school. Salmon comes in with a 104-107 career record, winning a state championship in 2005 with Lafayette Central Catholic. Last year, the Lady Norse were 16-6, falling to Wabash in the sectional. Northfield lost Sydney Eltzroth, who was the 6th leading scorer in the TRC at 11.6ppg. Eltzroth was second in the conference in three-point field goal percentage and 5th in free throw percentage. She was also second in steals. Northfield returns a slue of talent in seniors Sidney Reed 10.6ppg, Katie Stephan 7.8ppg and Kylie Echard 6.7ppg. Juniors Cherish Leming and Arie Kennedy had a major impact last year and will play a major roll this year. The Lady Norse have a solid sophomore class and a promising freshman class.
Wabash is coached by Scott Bumgardner who is 161-71 at Wabash and 190-110 overall in his 15th year. Wabash was 18-7 last year, winning the sectional for the 5th consecutive year, before falling to state runner-up Eastern in the regional final. The Lady Apaches lost two starters in Charlie Pardo and Katelyn Vogel. Pardo led the TRC in three-point percentage at 40.3 percent while Vogel was the defensive catalyst. The Lady Apaches return experience at key positions. Senior Kyleigh Hampton was 4th in the TRC in scoring at 11.8, while being in the top 10 in all offensive categories. Hampton is one of the premier shot blockers in the state. Junior Claire Cromer ran the point, while averaging 11.7ppg. Cromer was in the TRC Top 10 in three-point percentage and free throw percentage. Claire was second in the TRC in assists at 3.5 per game. Senior Lyndsie Thomas scored 9.6ppg, was 7th in field goal percentage and third in free throw percentage. Junior Sarah Puckett was a late bloomer after an injury, with Jaclyn Lewis, Sarah Ritter, Abby Stein and Shelby Stone adding varsity experience.
Southwood is coached by Dallas Duggan. Duggan is in his second year at the helm, leading the Lady Knights to a 16-5 record in his first year. Southwood fell to Wabash in the sectional. The Lady Knights were hit hard by graduation, losing the county and conference scoring leader Sarah White. White scored at a 16.8ppg clip, while shooting 46 percent, grabbing five rebounds per game, 2.8 assists and 2.3 steals. Southwood also lost Kaley Harness, Mollie Harnish, Ana Marie Farlow and Emily Murphy. Farlow was a top 20 scorer, 6th in free throws, 8th in rebounding and 9th in steals. Key returners for the Knights are senior Amy Bowman and junior Katie Stouffer. Bowman was in the top 15 in conference scoring last year at 8ppg and led the TRC in steals with 3.5 per game. Stouffer averaged 7 rebounds per game and was a leader in blocks. Haley Heath brings experience at point guard, with a slew of juniors and freshman looking to make an impact.
First year coach Brooke Airgood leads Manchester. After moving to Arizona from North Manchester during high school, Ms. Airgood was a three-sport athlete and an NJCAA All-American in track and field at Scottsdale Community College, as well as a scholar athlete at New Mexico State University, earning All Conference honors in the javelin.
For the past 12 years, she has been teaching and coaching in California, serving as a physical education teacher and basketball coach. She has experience coaching boys and girls at all levels and has coached volleyball and track and field as well. In 2004, she was elected to coach the All-Star game for Division 1, Southern Section California.
Manchester was 8-15 last year, falling to Wabash in the sectional championship game. The Lady Squires were also hit hard by graduation, losing four starters. Kayla Flack led the attack with 13.2ppg, was 4th in three-point percentage, 7th in rebounds and 3rd in assists. Bekah Brunn averaged 6.5ppg. Autumn Brewer scored 6.3ppg and was 5th in rebounds. Kalene Freshour was 7th in assists and 4th in steals. The lone key returner for Manchester is Tabby DeWitt, who scored 5.9ppg. The school will rely on a strong sophomore and freshman class. Look for the Lady Squires to be very young this year.
The regular season starts Friday, Nov. 15 when Northfield hosts Oak Hill, Manchester hosts Bluffton and Wabash travels to Mississinewa. Wabash will host Marion on Saturday the 16th. There is a possibility with the success of the Oak Hill football team that the Northfield game could be moved to Saturday. Southwood does not open their season until the 20th when they travel to Peru.