The following is a preseason look at Greater Western Ohio Conference American North girls high school basketball.
The girls season begins on Friday, Nov. 23. The boys basketball season begins on Friday, Nov. 30.
Affiliation: GWOC American North.
2017-18 standings: Tippecanoe (25-3 overall, 15-0 GWOC American North); Butler (15-9, 11-4); Greenville (14-10, 10-5); Troy (12-11, 9-6); Piqua (7-16, 4-11); Sidney (2-21, 2-13).
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Head coaches: Andy Holderman (Tipp), Rachel Kerns (Greenville), Jon Dolph (Piqua), Lauren Stefancin (Sidney), Molly Bardonaro (Butler), Aaron Johnson (Troy).
• A former Wright State basketball 3-point specialist and Butler and Tipp boys assistant, Holderman has turned the Red Devils into a D-II area girls power. Major graduation losses must again be overcome, but haven’t been an issue yet.
• Dolph succeeds Brian Gillespie. A former standout football and basketball player at Piqua, Dolph previously was the Indians’ freshman boys coach. Piqua hasn’t had a winning season since 1999-00.
• Bardonaro is in her sixth season guiding the Aviators.
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• Kerns is in her fifth season as head coach of the Green Wave.
• A former Troy football and basketball standout, Johnson is in his third season as the Trojans’ head coach.
• This is Season 2 of Sidney’s rebuild with Stefancin.
Notable from last season: Everything begins and ends with Tipp. The Red Devils blew through the North unbeaten for their second divisional title in as many season. Tipp also takes a 30-game unbeaten GWOC North streak into this season.
Tipp appeared to be the successor to Alter’s grip on the D-II regional. Instead, it was Bellbrook that stung Tipp 47-41 in a regional final. It was the fourth straight season Tipp was ousted at the regional level, all but one in the final. Two high-scoring reasons for Tipp’s great run was graduates Maddie Frederick (Iowa State) and Allison Mader (Cedarville).
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Top returning scorers: Alina Kindle, sr., G, Sidney, 11.2 points; Abbie Schoenherr, sr., G, Butler, 11.0; Tyree Fletcher, sr., G, Butler, 10.8.
Top returning rebounders: Tia Bass, jr., F, Troy, 9.0 rebounds; Fletcher, Butler, 8.7; Lauren McGraw, jr., F, Troy, 5.0.
What to know: Tipp is the team to beat again, and this is the final season for GWOC teams to do that. Senior Brooke Aselage (6.0 points), junior Kendall Clodfelter (3.7) and sophomore Ashleigh Mader (2.5) form a proven Red Devils’ nucleus.
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• This is the final season for these six teams to compete in the GWOC. They’ll join GWOC American South members Fairborn, Stebbins, West Carrollton and Xenia in reviving a 10-team Miami Valley League.
• GWOC crossover games against American South teams count in divisional standings.
Quotable: “Their leadership and toughness have set the tone for this season. They are mature and are confident in what we are doing. They will be responsible for much of our success.” – Greenville coach Rachel Kerns on four returning seniors.
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Openers: Russia at Sidney (Fri., Nov. 23), Ponitz at Greenville (Fri., Nov. 23), Troy at Springfield Shawnee (Mon., Nov. 26), Northmont at Butler (Mon., Nov. 26), West Liberty-Salem at Tippecanoe (Mon., Nov. 26), Graham at Piqua (Tue., Nov. 27).