published Monday, December 24th, 2012

Best of Preps tournament girls teams

ARTS & SCIENCES (4-4)

Coach: Lee Ziegler

3 players to watch: Keturah Billen, Fr., G; Resnick Billen, Sr., G/F; Brooke Mitchell, Jr., F.

What you need to know: Like many of the teams on the girls' side in the best of preps tournament, CSAS graduated a great deal of its offense off last year's team. Coach Ziegler said trying to develop some shooters this year is a priority. In the meantime the Lady Patriots are relying on their defense. They show multiple looks, fullcourt and halfcourt. Resnick Billen brings some leadership to a young team, and she has the ability to score facing the basket, or with her back to it.

BAYLOR (4-7)

Coach: John Gibson

3 players to watch: Marcy Carter, Sr., F; Kaleigh Clemons, Fr., PG; Jazmine Simpkins, Fr., C.

What you need to know: Coach Gibson has his most versatile team, one that may press fullcourt, settle into a halfcourt man-to-man, and later sprinkle in some zone. Gibson said Carter, who will play soccer at the University of Pittsburgh next year, sets a great example for the others, as far as attitude and how to go about preparing. And the coach believes his group has a willingness to work to improve. Also, their top four scorers are freshmen, so the Lady Raiders are still trying to learn how to finish.

BRAINERD (4-5)

Coach: Carolyn Jackson

3 players to watch: Chanelle Rogers, Sr., G; Jamee Ward, Fr., G; Jasmine Woods, Sr., PG.

What you need to know: Coach Jackson, in her 40th season and all at Brainerd, said the Lady Panthers are learning that their offense is more efficient when they don't get in a hurry. Conversely, they're all about trying to get the opposition to speed up its tempo on offense with the hope of creating steals and throwaways. Brainerd has some capable shooters, and it will put up some 3-point shots. They enter the tournament with multiple injured players, although as of now, none has been ruled out from playing.

CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN (5-6)

Coach: Laura Cottrell

3 players to watch: Hannah Henry, So., G/F; Joanna Smith, So., G/F; Mary Sabourin, Sr., PG.

What you need to know: One thing the Lady Chargers are capable of doing is frustrating opposing offenses. Coach Cottrell has been known to have her team playing multiple defenses in a particular game. CCS has had trouble scoring at times, but its defense is expected to help create offensive opportunities. It enters with a couple of regulars out with injuries, but even so can go with a rotation as deep as eight.

CLEVELAND (7-3)

Coach: Mindy Kiser

3 players to watch: Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad, Jr., F; Sydnie Anderson, Sr., G; Nora Berry, Jr., G/F.

What you need to know: Coach Kiser admits her team isn't geared toward playing a halfcourt game and grinding things out. Cleveland instead wants to play fast, create turnovers and dictate its style. But when the Lady Raiders do have to set up in their offense, they like to spread the floor and drive to the rim, with dishing to shooters on the perimeter as an option. The return of Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad, who has missed the last eight games with a broken hand, will add depth.

EAST HAMILTON (5-5)

Coach: Derek Morris

3 players to watch: Jessica Caudle, Sr., PG; Juliette Harp, Jr., C; Lexi Zackery, Jr., G.

What you need to know: East Hamilton isn't the up-tempo team it's been in the past. But that doesn't mean it won't pressure the ball and try to force errors. The Lady 'Canes lost 86 percent of their scoring from last season, and they're still searching for some scoring help from behind the arc. But Caudle offers a good combination of strength, quickness and experience, and she knows how to get to the free-throw line. Harp is a transfer who's been a menace to the opposition underneath the basket.

GPS (6-3)

Coach: Susan Crownover

3 players to watch: Brianna Farris, Sr., G; Akia Harris, Fr., PG; Chappel Sharrock, Sr., F.

What you need to know: Although the majority of the players that helped GPS win back-to-back Division II-AA state championships have graduated, some talent remains. The Farris and Harris combo is where most of the offense has come from. Coach Crownover said her new group is still learning how to play together. They've gotten back in some games this year because they remain adept at setting up traps and forcing turnovers that can lead to some quick scoring bursts.

SILVERDALE BAPTIST (7-4)

Coach: David Massengill

3 players to watch: Mariah Massengill, Sr., PG; Haley Redmond, Sr., F; Sloane Woodard, Jr., G/F.

What you need to know: With no player taller than 5-foot-8, defensively Silverdale is out to take the ball away as the opponent tries to get it up the floor. Creating some turnovers early on is a key because it enables the Lady Seahawks to build momentum and increase their confidence. They've shown an ability to move the ball around in their halfcourt offense, but they must be competitive on the boards in order to win.

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