Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll: Clear Fork still No. 1, others creeping

Clear Fork's Lilly Wortman has the Colts at No. 1 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.
Clear Fork's Lilly Wortman has the Colts at No. 1 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.

And we're off.

All but one girls basketball team in Richland County has played a game, with the last one scheduled to tip off on Friday night. It has been a nice start to the season as Richland County still has three undefeated teams and two more with .500 records or better.

Let's take a look at this week's Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll and recap each team's week and see why they are ranked where they are.

1. Clear Fork (1-0)

The Colts tipped off their season last week and knocked off some rust with a 52-39 win over Madison on Tuesday night. The Colts showed a lot of balance with Lilly Wortman leading the way with 11 points while Lyvia Davis added nine and Pacey Chrastina had eight. The Colts had five players score six or more and seven total reach the scorebook. Wortman also added 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals for a solid double-double and an early start to padding a resume for the NJ Player of the Year. The Colts have a huge test in game No. 2, traveling to River Valley on Thursday to tip off Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference play. The road to the title starts then. They then head to Galion on Saturday seeking a 2-0 start in the league.

Mansfield Christian's Kyleah Jones has the Flames at No. 2 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.
Mansfield Christian's Kyleah Jones has the Flames at No. 2 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.

2. Mansfield Christian (2-0)

The Flames moved to 2-0 for the season after showing exactly what they can do on the court with a 71-52 win over Black River last week. Kyleah Jones and Alexis Ripple combined for 50 points as Jones scored a career-high 28 and Ripple posted her second 20-point performance with 22. If the Flames can continue their two-player game and get contributions from other starters like Raegan Standridge (who scored eight in the win over Black River), Noelle Beare (seven) and Abby Little (six) they might find themselves at the top of the power poll sooner rather than later. They host Loudonville on Saturday for a true measuring stick kind of game.

Ontario's Adrienne Kearns has the Warriors at No. 3 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.
Ontario's Adrienne Kearns has the Warriors at No. 3 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.

3. Ontario (1-0)

The Warriors were impressive in a season-opening 43-35 win over Lexington last week. So much so that they jump up to No. 3 in the power poll after being underrated coming in. There is a lot to like about this team with the inside game of Lizzie Nagel, the streaky scoring of Lauren Sexton, who sparked a 19-0 run in the third quarter to help the Warriors pull away, and the athleticism of Taylor Counts, Adrienne Kearns and Maddie Henderson. The Warriors showed a lot of balance against Lex with Nagel leading the scoring with 11 points, followed by Henderson with eight and Sexton with seven. Who knows where that style of play can take the Warriors, but all signs point to a successful year. They travel to Smithville on Tuesday before traveling to Highland on Thursday and hosting River Valley on Saturday for a busy week.

Shelby's Eve Schwemley has the Whippets at No. 4 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.
Shelby's Eve Schwemley has the Whippets at No. 4 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.

4. Shelby (1-1)

The Whippets rebounded after a season-opening loss to Margaretta to shake up the power poll standings with a 53-47 win over Mansfield Senior on Saturday night. Audi Albert was the leader the Whippets need her to be with 19 points, while sophomore Eve Schwemley had a career night with 15 points. Trinity Baker also had nine points. It was exactly the kind of response the Whippets were hoping to see after a disappointing loss to open the season and the confidence should be at an all-time high after that win over Mansfield Senior. They will look to build off that in an MOAC opener against Pleasant on Thursday before traveling to Marion Harding on Saturday.

Mansfield Senior's Kyiah Wentz has the Tygers at No. 5 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.
Mansfield Senior's Kyiah Wentz has the Tygers at No. 5 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.

5. Mansfield Senior (2-1)

The Tygers had a busy start to the season. After beating Sandusky in the opener, the Tygers knocked off Olentangy Orange 52-40 early last week behind Monetta Hilory's 18-point performance. Then, the Tygers lost to Shelby to start the year 2-1 but still had some nice individual nights with Kiersten Bradley scoring 18 points and Kyeona Myers adding 12. The Tygers have a very busy week this week with St. Francis DeSales coming in on Tuesday, a trip to Loudonville on Wednesday and Wooster visiting on Thursday. Three games in three days against three very quality opponents will be a nice test before next week's showdown with Clear Fork.

6. Plymouth (1-2)

The Big Red has now lost two straight since winning their opener. Their latest loss was 40-15 to Colonel Crawford last week as Jaylin Branham led the team with eight points. Plymouth hosts South Central in a rare Friday night game for their only game this week.

Lexington's Madi Basilone has Lady Lex at No. 7 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.
Lexington's Madi Basilone has Lady Lex at No. 7 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.

7. Lexington (0-2)

Lady Lex is out to a slow start to the season, which was a little bit expected given the youth on the roster and a new coach at the helm. After falling to Ontario in the opener, Lex lost 64-33 to West Holmes, a favorite to win the Ohio Cardinal Conference, on Saturday on the road. Madi Basilone has been great to start the year and scored 17 points against the Knights. Once the young players start to see the game at a slower pace and things start to gel, Lex could put together a great season, and that could start Tuesday at home against Willard before heading to Ashland on Thursday.

Madison's Bri Bowles has the Rams at No. 8 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.
Madison's Bri Bowles has the Rams at No. 8 in the Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll.

8. Madison (0-2)

The Rams are out to an 0-2 start with their latest loss 52-39 to Clear Fork in a game the Rams really gave the Colts everything they could handle until late. Bri Bowles is off to a hot start, leading the team in scoring the last two games with 14 points against Clear Fork. Natalee Back also added 13 and Chloe Eberling collected seven so the Rams are showing signs of being a great team, and once they put it together, watch out. The Rams host New Philadelphia on Thursday to start OCC action.

9. Crestview (0-1)

The Cougars didn't have a game last week after falling to Waynedale in the opener as they enjoyed a nice break over Thanksgiving. Now, they jump right into a crucial stretch where they travel to Colonel Crawford on Tuesday, host Western Reserve on Friday in the Firelands Conference opener and head to Lucas on Saturday. Three wins this week will definitely put to Cougars in top-three contention.

10. Lucas (0-3)

The Cubs are struggling a little bit to start the season with a young squad. They took a 44-5 loss to Hillsdale, a 63-15 loss to Black River and a 66-9 loss to South Central last week as they await the return of All-Ohioan Shelby Grover, who is out with stress fractures in her ankle. The Cubs will be without her again this week and next as she is scheduled to see if she can be cleared to play on Dec. 13. It will take her some time to get back into basketball shape, but when she does expect the Cubs to be more competitive.

11. St. Peter's (0-0)

The Spartans have yet to start the 2022-23 season as they tip off the year Friday night at home against Crestline, a very winnable game for St. Peter's and a chance to get back into varsity competition on a high note. There is no one more excited to get going than coach Roy Shoulders as the Spartans look to get back to their winning ways.

jfurr@gannett.com

740-244-9934

Twitter: @JakeFurr11

Last week's rankings

  1. Clear Fork

  2. Mansfield Senior

  3. Mansfield Christian

  4. Shelby

  5. Lexington

  6. Ontario

  7. Plymouth

  8. Madison

  9. Crestview

  10. Lucas

  11. St. Peter's

This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Richland County Girls Basketball Power Poll: Clear Fork still No. 1