Girls Basketball Preview: Youth movement for Monroe County Region teams

Summerfield's Destanee Smith is mobbed by the Lenawee Christian defense Friday night in the Division 4 District championship game.
Summerfield's Destanee Smith is mobbed by the Lenawee Christian defense Friday night in the Division 4 District championship game.

Mickey Moody may consider putting his players in a bubble.

The Summerfield girls basketball coach has two of the best returning players in the Monroe County Region in All-Region players Abby Haller and Destanee Smith.

But Moody doesn’t have many players.

“We’re not going to be very deep,” the coach said. “We only have like seven players.”

There were more, but injuries have thinned the ranks.

“One of them got hurt in a powder puff football game,” Moody said. “We lost another one in an injury at home. Just a freak thing.”

Summerfield will end up starting two freshmen.

“We’re going to be very young,” Moody said.

But the Bulldogs have two outstanding seniors. Haller and Smith led Summerfield to the state semifinals in in 2020-21.

“They are very special players,” Moody said. “Both of them have a ton of game experience. They hardly ever come off the floor. Abby is more of a scorer. Destanee is more of a floor general, but she can score, too.”

Haller and Smith lead a small group of returning All-Region players along with Erie Mason's Kaylie Bash and Monroe's Sophia Bussell.

The Region has just one new coach this year in Whiteford's Jim Ross. Monroe's John Mason is back after coaching just the final five games of the season last year for the Trojans.

AIRPORT

2021-22 record: 16-7.

Coach: Darrell Mossburg, 10th year (123-71).

Roster: Senior Marie Redlin (5-8, G); juniors Rae Ann Drummond (5-10, PF), Madison Hoppert (5-6, G), Mariena Lambrix (5-7, G), Natalie Mumbower (5-10, PF), Cecelia Ortega (5-8, G); sophomore Kelly Rodak (5-7, G); freshmen Brenna Baker (5-7, SG), Jillian Baker (5-9, PF), Olivia Gratz (5-8, PG), Chloe Lemke (5-10, PF), Chloe Ruhlig (5-8, C), Joelle Shrewsbury (5-9, PF), Renee Shrewsbury (5-9, PF), Peyton Zajac (5-8, G).

Returning Starters: None, but Drummond, Redlin, Mumbower, and Rodak played quality minutes off the bench.

Coaches Comments: "We will be a very pesky group that will compete every day. We are getting a lot of great effort from kids. ... Those who compete, respond to adversity and are efficient in areas that help will earn the right to have quality minutes. This team has the intangibles to be good."

Bedford's Payton Pudlowski drives inside against Riverview's Elyssa Kincaid during the Division 1 Regional semifinal last season.
Bedford's Payton Pudlowski drives inside against Riverview's Elyssa Kincaid during the Division 1 Regional semifinal last season.

BEDFORD

2021-22 record: 17-6.

Coach: Bill Ryan, 19th year (299-116).

Roster: Seniors Grace Fulop (5-8, G), Ava Gray (5-8, G) Madison Henegar (5-10, F), Emma Jensen (5-8, F), Zalyn Stelmaszak (5-6, G); juniors Paige Anderson (5-9, F), Madelyn Armstrong (5-4, G) Payton Pudlowski (5-8, G); sophomores Peyton Behnke (5-6, G), Victoria Gray (6-2, F), Aubrey Hensley (5-5, G), Nyah Mullins (5-9, F)

Returning Starters: Pudlowski (7 points, 2 assists, 2 steals per game last year) and Behnke (8.2 ppg) are effective scorers and defenders. Hensley and Victoria Gray (4.8 ppg, 6 rpg) each averaged 15 minutes per game last year off the bench.

Coaches Comments: "We will be more guard-oriented than we have been in recent years. This team has a high ceiling. ... I like the team's chemistry and work ethic. It should be an exciting year in the SEC Red with a lot of competitive teams."

DUNDEE

2021-22 record: 10-12.

Coach: Josh Salley, fourth year (27-27).

Roster: Seniors Sara Marek (G), Lia Parry (F), Taylor Vann (F); juniors Ellie Salenbien (G), Faith Stahl (F); sophomores Mirra Borg (G), Kaylee Imo (F), Natalie Rath (G); freshmen Veronica Rhoades (F), Maddie Salenbien (F).

Returning Starters: Stahl (4.1 ppg) is the leading returning scorer. Marek and Borg also return for a team that graduated five seniors.

Coaches Comments: "We're going to be a young group. There will be a lot of learning. We'll take a lot of bumps and bruises. We didn't ease up on our schedule at all. We're not going to get better playing weaker schools. The girls will learn to play with each other."

Kaylie Bash of Erie Mason pulls down a rebound as Airport's Marissa Boyless of Airport reaches in last season.
Kaylie Bash of Erie Mason pulls down a rebound as Airport's Marissa Boyless of Airport reaches in last season.

ERIE MASON

2021-22 record: 18-4.

Coach: Joshua Sweigert, seventh year (91-56).

Roster: Seniors Kaylie Bash (5-9, G), Emily Worden (5-10, C); juniors Abbigail England (5-7, F), Audrey Trainor (5-8, G), Jenna Wright (5-8, G); sophomores Mackenna Gallaher (5-11, C), Mikaela Graves (5-5, G/F), Brooklyn Langenderfer (5-7, G), Bailey Meiring (5-8, G); freshmen Gianna DeGasto (5-6, G/F), Paige Konrad (5-7, G).

Returning Starters: Bash (9.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg) was All-Region and First Team All-Tri County Conference. Wright scored sparingly but will have a bigger role this season.

Coaches Comments: "This season we return only two starters from last year's team. There will be a lot of learning and growing at the beginning of the season. ... They are determined to continue the success we have seen and are putting in the work to get there."

FLAT ROCK

2021-22 record: 3-17.

Coach: Brian Kryk, third year (16-21).

Roster: Seniors Megan Beaudrie (5-7, F), Breeya Kryk (5-7, G), Peyton Mysliwiec (5-7, F); juniors Mary Bayus (5-4, G), Whitney Cotter (5-11, G), Yasmine Muheisen (5-6, F), McKenna Williams (5-8, F); sophomore Addison Kopp (5-9, G); freshmen Layla Holbrook (5-4, G), Madleen Hussein (5-5, G).

Returning Starters: Kopp (4.1 ppg) had a career-high 12 points late last year against New Boston Huron.

Coaches Comments: "Having graduated five seniors, we are looking to fill a lot of roles. With only one returning starter, we are almost starting from scratch. We will be a young team with a lot more speed this season, which will allow us to do some different things."

Gibraltar Carlson's Abigail Carafelli (right) goes for the block while reaching over the top of Monroe's Olivia Bussell last season.
Gibraltar Carlson's Abigail Carafelli (right) goes for the block while reaching over the top of Monroe's Olivia Bussell last season.

GIBRALTAR CARLSON

2021-22 record: 18-4.

Coach: Kristin Fabrizio, fourth year (34-25).

Roster: Seniors Kaydin Fowler (5-8, G), Kristine Piatt-Bakos (5-8, F), Jalyn Bongiorno (5-7, C), Rachael Poli (5-8, PG); juniors Abigail Carafelli (5-11, C/F), Arianna Pate (5-2, G), Delaney Boller (5-8, C), Zella Neely (5-5, G/F), Reese Tolstyka (5-6, G); sophomores Breyan Shimizu (5-3, G), Brooklyn Kemokai (5-5, PG); freshman Addison Wallace (5-8, F).

Returning Starters: Carafelli (7 ppg, 6 rpg) scored a career-high 23 points early last season. Bongiorno and Pate both averaged around 4 points per game in their first year starting.

Coaches Comments: "Our team dynamic and approach is completely different this year. We have six returning players and six new additions, including two sophomores and a freshman. I'm looking forward to each individual contributing their role and working together toward success."

IDA

2021-22 record: 9-13.

Coach: Tim Leonard, 32nd year (545-145).

Roster: Senior Mackenzie LaRoy (5-7, F); juniors Grace Capling (5-8, F), Kennedy Albring (5-7, F), Kayla Liechty (5-6, G), McKenna Tarry (5-5, G); sophomores Jessica Schrader (5-7, G), Claire Allen (5-5, G), Reese Hennessey (5-9, F), Rylee Shaffer )5-9, F), Olivia Scheer (5-6, G); freshman Alyssa Torres (5-3, G).

Returning Starters: Schrader (8.9 ppg), Capling (8 ppg), and Albring (5.9 ppg) were Ida's three leading scorers last year. Schrader led the team with 26 three-pointers.

Coaches Comments: "We have three returning starters in Schrader, Capling and Albring who are capable of putting the ball in the hoop on a regular basis. Allen will start at point. We do not have the height to pound the ball inside, so we will need to move the ball around and knock down outside shots to be successful."

Kennedy Albring of Ida looks to pass with pressure from Jefferson's Brooklyn Costa and Ellie Hintz last season.
Kennedy Albring of Ida looks to pass with pressure from Jefferson's Brooklyn Costa and Ellie Hintz last season.

JEFFERSON

2021-22 record: 5-16.

Coach: Bryan Parran, fifth year (13-67).

Roster: Seniors Sammie Ladger (5-7, F), Ellie Hintz (5-7, G), Kayce Maitland (5-4, G); juniors Claire Boggs (5-5, G), Sephena Jordan (5-8, F), Anna Rumshalg (5-7, G); sophomores Anna Boggs (5-6, G), Lindsey Gennoe (5-5, G/F), Gracie Jones (5-8, F).

Returning Starters: Hintz is the only returning starter after the Bears graduated six seniors.

Coaches Comments: "A very young team. They work hard every day and are getting better."

MILAN

2021-22 record: 7-14.

Coach: Bobby Green, fifth year (35-49).

Roster: Seniors Jules Meads (5-9, F), Markeyla McCray (5-8, F), Paige Gingras (5-5, G); juniors Mariah Stines (5-8, F), Sydney McCray (5-7, F), Hailey Knox (5-4, G), Heidi Hatfield (5-5, G); sophomores Marissa Beck (5-9, C), Malea Wourman (5-7, G); freshman Kailey McDaniel (5-5, G).

Returning Starters: Stines (7.5 ppg, 8 rpg) was Honorable Mention All-Huron League last season. Markeyla McCray (9 ppg, 6 rpg) is the leading returning scorer.

Coaches Comments: "This is a hard working group that has good leadership led by four-year starter Markeyla McCray and three-year starter Mariah Stines. ... Our returning forwards offer our team not only a solid presence down in the paint, but they provide leadership which will be very important for our young squad."

Monroe's Sophia Bussell (left) drives to the hoop against Carlson's Breyan Shimizu last season.
Monroe's Sophia Bussell (left) drives to the hoop against Carlson's Breyan Shimizu last season.

MONROE

2021-22 record: 10-10.

Coach: John Mason, second year (2-3).

Roster: Seniors Natalie Kelley (5-9, F), Merin Merkle (5-11, F); juniors Alana Aulph (5-8, G), Molly Meier (5-7, G), Brooklin Stahl (5-4, G); sophomores Sophia Bussell (5-7, G), Zoe Leach (6-0, F), Hayven Neddo (5-5, G), Taylor Ray (5-8, F), Jillian Roberts (5-10, G), Maci Willey (5-7, G).

Returning Starters: Bussell (13 ppg) was All-Region as a freshman last year and broke the school record for 3-pointers in a game with eight. Roberts and Aulph also bring veteran experience.

Coaches Comments: "Asking our sophomores and juniors to step into big roles for the team will be key this season. ... We're excited to see our young core develop over the season. Building back the foundation of Monroe girls basketball. Only two returning seniors, but a ton of young talent will lead the way."

NEW BOSTON HURON

2021-22 record: 8-12.

Coach: Lindsey Backhaus, second year (8-12).

Roster: Seniors Ellah Bossick (5-9, C), Tiffany Burns (5-6, G), Saige Chaffin (5-10, C), Brooke Leporowski (5-7, G); juniors Lila Clements (5-5, G), Melissa Mentzer (5-6, G), Madeline Singer (5-6, G), Maggie Warden (5-7, G); sophomores Callie Eaton (5-7, G/F), Gabrielle Emelian (5-3, G); freshmen Addison Beddow (5-9, F/C), Nina Clements (5-7, G).

Returning Starters: Clements (12 ppg) was the team's leading scorer last year as a sophomore. Mentzer was a strong role player who should contribute more this season.

Coaches Comments: "We will need every player to contribute in a variety of ways in order to be successful. ... We have seven returners with experience, so as a team we should be able to use our experience to our advantage. It will be interesting to see how our leaders step up and how our team grows and develops together moving forward."

New Boston Huron’s Lila Clements drives the baseline against Abby Carafelli of Gibraltar Carlson last season.
New Boston Huron’s Lila Clements drives the baseline against Abby Carafelli of Gibraltar Carlson last season.

SMCC

2021-22 record: 9-12.

Coach: John Durbin, ninth year (106-65).

Roster: Seniors Avery Dalton (F), Caroline Roecker (F), Raelyn Turner (G); juniors Macy Carlton (F), Ana Cuccia (F), Faith Dean (F), Leah DeSarbo (G), Emma Gessner (G), Madeline Hamilton (F), Ava Villarreal (F); sophomores Natalie LaPrad (F), Brooke Mossburg (G), Julianna Potcova (G).

Returning Starters: Roecker (4.6 ppg) was the fourth leading scorer last year and is the top returning scorer.

Coaches Comments: "This is a very young team in terms of varsity experience, so it could take some time to develop good chemistry. However, the girls are working hard and competition in practice is definitely improving."

SUMMERFIELD

2021-22 record: 11-11.

Coach: Mickey Moody, seventh year (53-73).

Roster: Seniors Abby Haller (5-9, F), Destanee Smith (5-6, G); juniors Cami Taylor (5-5, G), Ava Fisher (5-2, G), Marissa Eastman (5-6, G); sophomore Mia Miller (5-8, F); freshmen Jaili Jones (5-9, F), Mayley Mannebach (5-2, G).

Returning Starters: Haller (17.3 points, 6 rebounds, 4.1 steals, 3.8 assists per game) and Smith (11.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.4 steals, 4.3 assists per game) both were All-Region players.

Coaches Comments: "I think if we can stay healthy and play with an attitude, I believe we can have a really nice year. ... This team has the potential to be the best shooting team I have ever had."

WHITEFORD

2021-22 record: 9-12.

Coach: Jim Ross, first year.

Roster: Seniors Alaina Andrews (5-9), Ava Hillard (5-3), Patrina Marsh (5-1), Madelyn Thomas (5-1), Alyssa Ulery (5-1), Jessica Ulery (5-6), Mackenzie Ulery (5-5); juniors Shay Alexander (5-0), Annabelle Gapp (5-11), Adriana Indoval (5-5), Anna Schober (5-4); sophomore Emily Rasor (5-5).

Returning Starters: Thomas (7.4 ppg) is the leading returning scorer. Hillard scored 4.6 ppg over Whiteford's seven-game winning streak late in the season.

Coaches Comments: "The girls work hard. My offense and defense are kind of different than what Les (former coach Les Manley) did. We like to go fast. It takes a while, but they are getting there. They are very smart. I think we'll get better and improve throughout the year."

This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Girls Basketball Preview: Youth movement for Monroe County Region teams