The Westfield High girls’ basketball team lost some key players to graduation from last year’s successful squad. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs have a high number of quality players back on the roster and could be headed for another strong showing in the Concorde District.
Another local team, Centreville High, meanwhile, has high hopes of improving on last year’s six-victory season. The Wildcats have a number of returning players back in this year’s line-up, including Erin Meador, Centreville’s top player from last winter.
The 5-foot-10 inch Meador, who can play any position on the floor well, earned First Team All-District honors in 2009-`10 when she averaged 17 points and six rebounds per game. She tied a school record when she scored 31 points in a game versus Langley.
Fifth year Centreville head coach Wally Horton said there might be better players than Meador across the Northern Region in certain facets of the game – shooting, rebounding, ball-handling. But he loves the fact that Meador excels in all of those areas and then some. And on top of that, she has a hunger to help her team excel.
“I wouldn’t trade her for anybody,” said Horton. “She’s got the whole package. She can play all over the floor. We’ll be playing her as a guard [foremost]. She’s a determined, strong player.”
Meador can score points in a variety of ways. One of her strengths is driving to the basket where she often gets fouled. Horton said Meador got to the foul line more than any player across the entire metropolitan area last year, taking 165 shots from the charity stripe.
Two other key backcourt players for Centreville will be junior Kayley Shomers and freshman Jenna Green. Shomers was the starting point guard for the 10-4 JV Wildcats last year. She will see varsity court time at both the point and shooting guard positions this season.
“Kayley gives us some real nice versatility [in the backcourt],” said Horton. “She’s used to handling the ball, she’s quick and she’s a wonderful passer.”
Green, as a ninth grader, will be an impact varsity player from the start this season. She is a seasoned player who has competed within the local SYA league as well as on AAU teams. She has been attending Centreville High girls’ basketball camps each summer since the fifth grade.
“She has a good basketball IQ,” said Horton. “Jenna has the ability to handle the ball, sees and runs the court well and can run the offense. She has the opportunity to really have a nice freshmen year. She has a lot of experience playing.”
In the front court, Centreville has a talented returning player in six-foot junior post player Chaney Forbush, who earned Third Team All-District recognition a year ago in a season in which she averaged 10 points and five rebounds as a sophomore. The Wildcats will also receive good post play from Taylor O’Hara, Centreville’s third leading scorer last year.
Other key contributors this season will include seniors Haley Diamond and Katie O’Donnell. Diamond played point guard last year and will give the Wildcats solid play at the guard/forward positions this winter.
O’Donnell, who has earned a soccer scholarship at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, will also see action at guard and forward.
“She has that soccer mentality – she’s a hard-nosed defender,” said Horton, of O’Donnell. “She also likes to go to the basket.”
In all, Centreville returns eight players, including six seniors, to this year’s varsity roster. Horton likes the look of his team both inside and outside the paint.
“We have more size this year, we’re quicker in the backcourt and we have better ball-handling,” said the coach.
There is every indication that the Wildcats will be an improved team this season. A year ago, Centreville played better down the stretch and got big late season wins over Langley in overtime and Robinson on Centreville’s senior night. The Wildcats played Herndon close for a while in a first round district tournament game before losing and seeing their season end. Several underclassmen on last year’s team who were part of the late season surge are back and determined to see the forward progress continue this season.
“We took some lumps last year but we got better at the end of the year,” said Horton. “We’ve got more experience and maturity. It’s all predicated on playing good defense.”
Centreville was scheduled to open the season earlier this week on Tuesday, Dec. 1 against host West Springfield. This Friday night, Centreville will play at Lake Braddock in part of a girls’-boys’ double-header. The girls’ game will be played first at 5:45, followed by the boys’ game.
<b>WESTFIELD HIGH</b> lost several key starting players, including two-time District Player of the Year Shelby Romine, to graduation. Romine, a shooting guard, averaged 17 points for the Bulldogs, who enjoyed an outstanding 17-4 season that ended with a second round loss to Edison in the Northern Region tournament.
While Westfield lost talented players to graduation, the team also has nine returning players to the varsity roster. Head coach Pat Deegan likes the early season make-up of his team and is impressed with his players’ versatility and ability to play both around the perimeter and closer to the basket.
“We have a number of good players coming back,” said Deegan. “All of them are very talented and complement each another.”
One of the squad’s top players is 5-foot-10 inch senior guard Siobhan Beslow, who averaged nine points and seven rebounds per game last year. Beslow, who recently signed a collegiate letter of intent to play basketball at La Salle University in Philadelphia, missed six games due to lower back problems last year but looks to be healthy again. She is quick, runs the floor well and hits the backboards hard.
The team has a pair of fourth year varsity players with the ability to put the ball in the basket in seniors Yawrely Ramirez and Jessica McNamara.
Ramirez, a Third Team All-District selection last year who averaged eight points at shooting guard, brings a solid all-around game to the court.
“She’s got a scorers mentality, she’s real athletic and gets off the ground quickly,” said Deegan, of Ramirez. “She’s dangerous on the offensive boards and likes to jump into passing lanes and create turnovers.”
McNamara, meanwhile, made Second Team All-District last year.
“She handles the ball a lot for us and is a great off-the-ball defender,” said Deegan. “She can play the point guard or off guard.”
Another fourth year member of the varsity is senior guard Dani Knox, a good outside shooter who can also play around the baseline area of the floor as well. She averaged five points last year.
Maggie McInturff, a junior guard, will be a big contributor this season. She saw plenty of playing time off the bench last year. Both she and teammate McNamara will see minutes at the point guard position.
A year ago, Westfield began the season with two tough losses to top caliber teams before going on a long win streak. Deegan said this year’s team has that same kind of potential to put together extended win streaks.
“People will play us a little more straight-up defensively,” said Deegan, who explained that opponents a year ago were constantly looking to slow down sharp-shooter and ball handler extraordinaire Romine. “We have a bunch of different players who can play well. We’d like our defense to create some points for us.”