Get to know all of the top KHSAA girls basketball teams and players in the Sixth Region
Here's what to know about Kentucky's Sixth Region girls basketball teams for the 2022-23 season:
Coach: Shawn Mattingly (ninth season)
Last season: 9-15, lost 67-45 to Holy Cross in 21st District semifinals
Player to watch: Allie Streble led the Bearcats in scoring as a seventh grader (11.5 ppg) while shooting 30.5% from the field.
Other top players: Haley Mattingly (fr., 8.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg), Morganne Piercey (sr., 8.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
Outlook: The Bearcats' strongest quality may be their chemistry. Beth Haven has four players with more than four years of varsity experience and coach Shawn Mattingly has seen improvement. "Our shooting has improved significantly and we are well-conditioned," Mattingly said. "Our main concern is depth. We have a good opportunity to have a great season, just have to maintain our conditioning with our lack of depth."
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Coach: Mamie Nash (sixth season)
Last season: 8-19, lost to Valley 46-35 in first round of the 21st District Tournament
Player to watch: Junior Gracie Smithson is the Bulldogs top returning scorer from a year ago. She put up 10.4 points on 38% shooting in 27 appearances.
Other top players: Lillian Alcorn (so., 5.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg), Kassidy Krieger (sr., 1.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg )
Outlook: "We have a handful of players returning and will be lead by Gracie Smithson," Fairdale coach Mamie Nash said. "Very young but determined team. We will be competitive."
Coach: Jacob Kaelin (first season)
Last season: 16-16, lost to Bullitt Central 42-40 in the Sixth Region quarterfinals
Player to watch: Senior Savannah Shawver (6.9 ppg, 6 apg) is the Cougars' top returning scorer after leading the team in rebounds last season. She also led the team in efficiency, shooting 47% from the field.
Other top players: Taylor Holland (sr., 3.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg), Reese Pence (sr., 2.1 ppg, 1 rpg)
Outlook: Holy Cross recovered after starting last season 0-4 and became one of the more stubborn teams in the Sixth Region. What direction will first-year coach Jacob Kaelin take the team?
Pleasure Ridge Park
Coach: William Black (second season)
Last season: 17-17, lost to Mercy 75-44 in the Sixth Region semifinals
Player to watch: Breanna Jones averaged 11 points and six rebounds per game last season and was selected First-Team All-Region. The senior has offers to Simmons College and IU Kokomo.
Other top players: Jeannae Bolin (jr., 12.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg), Alyssa Fox (jr., 6.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Outlook: It's been a busy offseason for PRP. The Panthers returned their two top scorers has their share of new faces, too. "We have added 6-foot-2 transfer Kambree Lathery as well as Bobbie Calvin that will be additional contributors off the bench," PRP coach William Black said. "My biggest concern would be filling the void left by junior point guard Chandler Duncan, who tore her ACL in July. This loss will affect our start but we will be clicking by midseason."
Coach: Dennis Williams (fifth season)
Last season: 9-21, lost to PRP 66-22 in the 21st District semifinals
Player to watch: Freshman Leah Stinson led the Vikings with 16.6 points per game last season as an eighth grader. Despite her youth, Valley's offense flows through her. Last season she shot 36% from the field.
Other top players: Jimmay Stone (sr., 8.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Nyesha Perkins (jr., 2.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
Outlook: The Vikings return much of their core from a year ago. Including freshman Leah Stinson, who handed out 30-point performances to Southern and Doss. Valley is young and not very deep, though. The Vikings have only one senior and could experience growing pains throughout the season.
Coach: DeMarcus Avery (first season)
Last season: 11-18, lost to Mercy 60-35 in the Sixth Region quarterfinals
Player to watch: Ramiya White's the Bearette's top returning scorer. Last season she averaged 10.4 points and 6.1 rebounds. Tamesha Dozier's graduation leaves a void in Butler's offense, and White is qualified to fill it. When White can't find her shot she's still a solid defender. This season she might have to take another step offensively to kickstart Butler's offense.
Other top players: Anieja Russell (so., 5.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Aniya Haskins (jr., 4.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Outlook: The Bearettes head into the season with first-year head coach DeMarcus Avery led by Ramiya White, a talented two-way junior. New ways have to be learned fast if Butler wants to start strong. The team starts its season with difficult matchups against Newport Central Catholic, Male, Bullitt East and Central. Instead of easing into the Avery era, Butler is diving headfirst into it.
Coach: Andrew Bailey (fifth season)
Last season: 5-16, lost to Iroquois 65-42 in the 22nd District semifinals
Player to watch: Emily Gerne (sr., 6.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg) led Doss on the glass last season and will be the Dragon's top returning scorer in 2022-2023.
Other top players: Faith Smith-Matthews (so., 2. 4 ppg, 1.1 apg)
Outlook: The Dragons have four seniors and four juniors, and sophomore Faith Smith-Matthews could see her numbers improve heading into Year 2. Doss's offense could take a step backwards after leading scorer Bobbie Calvin transferred to Pleasure Ridge Park.
Coach: Robert Taylor (third season)
Last season: 10-22, lost to Bullitt East 83-22 in the Sixth Region quarterfinals
Player to watch: Senior Nyree Damis is the Raiders' highest-returning scorer (3.1 ppg) and rebounder (6.3 apg).
Other top players: Ramaya Atkins (so., 1.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg), Fifi Munezero (so., 1.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
Outlook: The Raiders are very young after graduating three seniors last season, including top scorer Deontae Nae Neal (19.4 ppg). Nyree Damis could anchor the defense, but figuring out the offense will take time.
Coach: Taijuan Mitchem (first year)
Last season: 1-18, lost to Butler 66-7 in the 22nd District semifinals
Player to watch: Junior guard Leslie Bright led the Warriors in scoring last season with 9.5 points per game.
Other top players: Jamica Calbert (sr., 3.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Aubryonna Durrah (so., 0.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
Outlook: Western heads into the 2022-2023 season led by first-year head coach Taijuan Mitchem. The Warriors' three seniors bring some experience to the court as young players like SaNyah Harrison, Courtney Russell and Shabrena Standard get acclimated.
Coach: Jessie Curry (fourth season)
Last season: 24-10, lost 60-28 to Bullitt East in Sixth Region semifinals
Player to watch: Bullitt Central's all-time leading scorer Haley Dillman is back for her senior season after averaging 16 points and 6.2 rebounds last season for the Cougars. Dillman's made first team all Sixth Region three years straight and could complete the sweep this season.
Other top players: Emily Bible (sr., 7.9 ppg , 5.2 rpg), Emma Lesher (jr., 9.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg)
Outlook: Bullitt Central could have a special season if its core remains healthy and Dillman continues her tear throughout the Sixth Region. There's a lot to like with this Cougars squad. "Our biggest strength this year is that we have our core coming back that we have had for the last three seasons," coach Jessier Curry said. "Our weakness could be our depth, although it is the most depth we have had since I have been here. We think we can play 8-12 on any given night. With the region about as balanced as it has been since I have been here, we have very high hopes with this group."
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Coach: Chelsea Hoke (fourth season)
Last season: 14-5, lost to North Bullitt 58-33 in the 23rd District semifinals
Player to watch: Junior forward Aylana Taylor averaged a double-double (16.6 ppg, 14.5 rpg).
Other top players: Seantavia Thomas (sr. 15.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg), Natalya Pits (fr. 10.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
Outlook: Moore was rolling on a seven-game winning streak before North Bullitt ended the Mustangs' season in the 23rd District semifinals. Moore kept its core together and will look to recreate that energy early in the season.
Coach: Chris Downey (second season)
Last season: 15-18, lost to Pleasure Ridge Park 70-39 in the Sixth Region quarterfinals
Player to watch: Ashlee Blair was selected second-team All-Region last season after pacing the Eagles with nine points and a little less than six boards a game.
Other top players: Kylie Downey (fr., 8.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg), Emily James (jr., 4.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
Outlook: North Bullitt's Chris Downey believes North Bullitt is in position to take a step forward this season. "We are returning every key player from a season ago," Downey said. "Kylie Downey is looking like a top player in the region, and I expect Ashlee Blair to pick up where she left off. Look for Emily James to have a big junior season. Will this be the year we make the next stride in turning around the program? I believe our post play will have to get better to be able to compete. Our star player is just a freshman, can she handle some face-guarding at times this season?"
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Coach: Jeremy Niestadt (third season)
Last season: 3-21, lost to Bullitt Central 77-17 in 23rd District semifinals
Player to watch: Southern coach Jeremy Niedstadt said freshman Zorale Simms (2.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg) will play small forward this season and play a big role in the Trojans' plans.
Other top players: Ayek Deng and Awel Deng (no relation) are two freshman newcomers that Niedstadt believes could make some impact, especially in the paint.
Outlook: "I'm also counting on the development of Madison Cash at the point to control the floor game," Niedstadt said. "We have very little production returning from last year's team, but I am enjoying working with this new squad. I believe their work ethic will pay off as the season rolls on."
Coach: Chris Stallings (23rd season)
Last season: 33-5, lost to Sacred Heart 64-46 in the Mingua Beef Jerky Girls Sweet Sixteen Basketball Tournament Championship
Player to watch: Senior point guard Lilly Reid was a big part of Bullitt East's postseason run last year. Alongside seniors Gracie Merkle (18.6 ppg, 10 rpg) and Emma Egan (12.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg), Reid playing the third option was overwhelming for most teams. She'll have to run with new mates this season, however. Egan and Merkle scored 30 points per game, and Reid is going to have to find a way to help replace that.
Other top players: Logan Ortega (sr., 3.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg), Jada Hughes (jr,. 6.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
Outlook: It's hard to expect one player alone could replace the production from Egan and Merkle last season. Merkle was a double-double machine and Egan put the offense in motion. But it's time to move on. There are still several pieces from Bullitt East's core, and if they're able to work out the fit the Chargers could be competitive. But growing pains could be on the way.
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Coach: Joni Brown (first season, interim last season)
Last season: 15-11, lost to Mercy 73-21 in the 24th District semifinals
Player to watch: Jada Adams was one of the Tigers' best rebounders last season. The junior hauled in 4.1 rebounds per game in 17 appearances. If the Tigers can have her on the court every night, that'd be a boost to their defense.
Other top players: Zay Montgomery (so., 0.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg), Serenity Cleaves (jr,. 6.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
Outlook: Joni Brown looks forward to leading the Tigers into a new season with the interim tag removed. Even though Fern Creek has faced its shared of adversity. "We are a very young team," Brown said. "Graduated five seniors last season and our only returning starter is out with injury. [We'll] have to replace the majority of our scoring from last season.
"We are in the early stages of building a program here at FC. We have expectations of exceeding our record from last season and continue to grow as we build around our young players."
Coach: Elliott Hardesty (third season)
Last season: 13-10, lost to Fern Creek 50-8 in the first round of 24th District Tournament
Player to watch: Jeffersontown coach Elliott Hardesty expects sophomore Jaylynn Jaggers (4.9 ppg) to carry the offense after scoring the second-most points on the team last season.
Other top players: Amiya King (jr., 2.2 ppg)
Outlook: Jeffersontown is a young team short on experience. Hardesty said many of his players are playing for the first time, and while wins many come in short supply his main goal is for his players "to learn the game and continue to build interest from students in the building."
Coach: Nick Cann (second season)
Last season: 23-9, lost to Bullitt East 63-50 in the Sixth Region championship
Player to watch: Leah Macy is one of the top players in the country. Mercy's super sophomore was ranked No. 2 in the Kentucky high school basketball coaches' statewide Top 25 players poll after leading the Jaguars with 20 points and 12 rebounds a game. She's still undecided on her college destination, but Macy has already received offers from the Louisville, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Other top players: Alyssa Murphy (so., 14.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg), Emma Barnett (sr., 11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, Ohio University commit), Mary Smith (sr., 10.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
Outlook: After falling short of the Sixth Region championship last season, Mercy turned one of its glaring weaknesses into a strength. "After having issues with our depth last year, I think depth will be one of our strengths this season," Nick Cann said. "We have a few freshman expected to fill large roles as well as internal development of younger players from a year ago. The schedule is brutal, and we will have to lean on Leah and Alyssa to carry a lot of weight in bigger games until some of our new depth can acclimate to the speed of high level varsity basketball games."
Coach: Glenn Wathen (fourth season)
Last season: 23-8, lost to Bullitt East 53-39 in the 24th District semifinals
Player to watch: University of the Cumberlands signee Amy Thompson only played in 17 games last season, but her 15.4-point average was the highest on the team. Couple that with her ability on the glass (5.5 rpg), the senior is one of the top interior players in the region.
Other top players: Allison Spieker (sr., 13.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg), Cameron Poole (sr., 13.4 ppg, 7 rpg)
Outlook: "Whitefield Academy likely has the toughest schedule any team at Whitefield has ever put together," Wildcats' coach Glenn Wathen said. "Playing teams in the Sixth Region such as Mercy, Bullitt East, PRP and Butler then adding in teams from the Seventh Region such as Male and CAL. But we have a solid group that has now been together for a while. ... Getting out of the 24th District is hard enough with Bullitt East and Mercy, but we have the players and talent to do it."
Follow Courier Journal reporter J.L. Kirven on Twitter @JL_Kirven for more updates on Louisville prep sports.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: KHSAA Sixth Region girls basketball: Get to know top teams, players