The following is a preseason look at Greater Western Ohio Conference National East girls high school basketball.
The girls season began on Friday, Nov. 23. The boys basketball season begins on Friday, Nov. 30.
Affiliation: GWOC National East.
2017-18 standings: Beavercreek (21-5 overall, 11-1 National East); Centerville (17-8, 7-5); Fairmont (17-9, 7-5); Wayne (15-10, 7-5); Springfield (11-13, 1-11).
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Head coaches: Ed Zink (Beavercreek), Adam Priefer (Centerville), Jeremey Finn (Fairmont), Travis Trice (Wayne), Darris Gattis (Springfield).
• Zink is the dean of Ohio coaches. In his 44th season with the Beavers, he continues to mount his all-time winningest record (770-242).
• Priefer is in his 18th season with the Elks (280-124).
• Finn succeeded Kyle Boze at Fairmont after Boze stepped down without ever coaching in a game due to a medical condition. Finn most recently was Oakwood’s girls coach last season, but also has extensive experience as a Fairmont boys assistant and Stebbins’ boys head coach for seven seasons.
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• Trice is in his second season with the Warriors’ girls after a great 10-season run with Wayne’s boys (195-41), which included a D-I state championship in 2015.
• In his second season, Gattis inherited the toughest rebuild in the GWOC.
Notable from last season: Beavercreek, Fairmont and Wayne all won sectional titles and advanced to district finals for a strong GWOC showing. But that’s where their tourney trails ended.
• Beavercreek started the season 1-3, then reeled off 16 consecutive wins to separate from the rest of the National East. Fairmont was the only team to beat Beavercreek in divisional play.
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• Centerville had a nine-game win streak to forge a rare three-way tie with Fairmont and Wayne for second place. Centerville defeated Fairmont and Wayne in the final week of the regular season to make it a three-way tie.
Top returning scorers: Mickayla Perdue, so., G, Springfield, 21.8 points; Maddy Westbeld, 6-3, jr., F, Fairmont, 11.3; Madison Bartley, 6-3, jr., C, Fairmont, 11.1.
Top returning rebounders: Westbeld, Fairmont, 11.1; Bartley, Fairmont, 7.5; Morgan-Elliott, sr., F, Fairmont, 6.4.
What to know: Fairmont and Wayne were the least affected by graduation.
Fairmont’s top six players return, including leading scorer and rebounder Maddy Westbeld, a 6-2 junior and the younger sister of former Notre Dame and Fairmont standout Kathryn Westbeld. Like Kathryn, Maddy is among the state’s most sought-after recruits and remains uncommitted. Three other Firebirds have signed: 6-3 junior Bartley (Belmont University), 6-0 senior Morgan-Elliott (Toledo) and 6-1 senior Emma Martcheva (Notre Dame College).
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• As loaded as Fairmont is, Wayne can match that. Senior Destiny Bohanon, a 5-8 senior, signed with Dayton. He missed about half of last season while recovering from injury. Senior guard Olivia Trice, the coach’s daughter, signed with Bowling Green. Aubryanna Hall, a 6-foot sophomore guard, also is being heavily recruited.
• Perdue was a heralded incoming freshman last season at Springfield and didn’t disappoint. She poured 40 points in her varsity debut against Yellow Springs and finished second to Trotwood-Madison grad Shaiquel McGruder (New Mexico) in GWOC scoring.
• Centerville freshman Cotie McMahon takes over the newcomer-to-watch role from Perdue. A 5-10 guard, McMahon received her first offer from Xavier as an eighth-grader.
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• All five teams will remain in the GWOC, which will split after this season.
• GWOC crossover games against National West teams count in divisional standings.
Quotable: “Extremely challenging schedule that includes Journey to the Tourney and the Classic in the Country. The GWOC is extremely balanced with several teams that can make a trip to Columbus and compete against the best in Ohio.” – Fairmont coach Jeremey Finn.
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Openers: Beavercreek vs. Cin. Roger Bacon at Lakota West (Sat., Nov. 24), Centerville vs. Berlin Hiland at Lakota West (Sat., Nov. 24), Fairmont vs. Solon at Lakota West (Sat., Nov. 24), Wayne vs. Westerville South at Lakota West (Sat., Nov. 24), Ben Logan at Springfield (Mon., Nov. 26).
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