GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: North believes it can continue winning ways

Oct. 31—There's no point in beating around the bush when it comes to Terre Haute North girls basketball.

One of the greatest players in North history — Zoe Stewart — has graduated and taken her considerable talents to Murray State's program.

The hole Stewart leaves is massive. She averaged 24.8 points (on 46% shooting), 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 steals and two assists per game. No one else on the Patriots averaged double-figure points in an 18-8 season for the Patriots.

North coach Nathan Dillion, in his second season in charge on the north side, doesn't run away from the fact that the Patriots have a huge amount of production to create from new sources.

On the other hand? He also doesn't shrink from the belief he has in his current players to keep North at a winning level.

"Anybody that says missing Zoe Stewart isn't going to hurt is flat-out lying. We're looking forward to hanging up her Indiana All-Star jersey soon," Dillion said.

"I think it's going to be more of a committee approach this year. We have a lot of girls playing well for us in practices. Several have played AAU all summer going against the best competition in the country," Dillion continued.

"I think more opportunity and understanding that their roles have changed a lot will really solidify us," Dillion added. "It will be a change for people who have watched us over the last few years, but I think we'll have some marquee players who will step up for us."

Stewart wasn't the only veteran North lost. Halie Gilbert and AJ Campbell were also important contributors, but there are recognizable veterans who are back.

Guard Preslee Michael, a senior, averaged 8.8 points and five rebounds in 2022. Fellow guard Becca Gore, a junior, was a 45% 3-point shooter. Forward Jetta Harmon does a little bit of everything.

North will also get guard Hallie Hayes back. She missed 21 games in 2022 with an injury.

"Jetta and Presley have been monsters this summer. They're not missing work and they're getting work in. Becca is a dead-eye shooter and Hallie Hayes was injured most of last year, but her coming back gives us a massive boost on the defensive end," Dillion said.

New contributors, some who played sparingly and some not at all in 2022, include forward Lilly Jensen, guard Ruby Latorre-Diaz and promising youngster Charlie Walker.

"We have girls who haven't played varsity before, but they're living up to it in practice. I think we'll have a good season," Michael said.

Michael could be part of a North four-year class that would be the winningest in Patriots' history.

"We're not necessarily basketball players, we're athletes who want to win. Last year wanted us to come back and want more," Michael said.

The Patriots open their season at home against Evansville Central on Nov. 5.