2004 Fifth Third Bank Classic Participating Teams

2004-2005 Ron Harrison

American Division

Betsy Layne – Coach Cassandra Akers’ Ladycats finished 25-7 last season and are expected to be one of the top contenders for the 15th Region title.  They have three returning starters in 5-7 Sr. Kim Clark (16.7 ppg), 6-0 Sr. Kristal Daniels (11.3 ppg), and 5-6 Sr. Kristen Smith (11.3 ppg).  The Ladycats should get key contributions from several players, including 5-9 Sr. Breann Akers, 5-6 Jr. Nicole Spurlock, and 5-7 Jr. Whitney Tackett.

Boyd County – Coach Pete Fraley’s Lady Lions finished 23-9 last season and captured the 16th Region two years ago.  Boyd County graduated key performers and 5-8 Sr. Kasi Mullins-Galloway, who has started at the varsity level since the 7th grade, transferred to Knott County Central.  The Lady Lions will rely on 5-7 Sr. guard Brandi Mahar and some young players stepping up their game.

Bullitt East – Coach Chris Stallings’ team finished 28-5 last season and captured the 8th Region title.  The Lady Chargers return ten players, including four starters from last season.  5-6 Sr. Abby Thompson will start her third season running the point.  5-8 Sr. Jacquelyn Bleemel and 5-5 Sr. Holly Huber will join her in the backcourt.  5-4 Jr. Jennifer Beichler and 5-5 So. Kathleen Thompson add long-range shooting and a scoring spark off the bench.  5-8 Fr. Whitney Hanley and 5-7 Fr. Kellie Harrod will compete for playing time.  6-0 Sr. Katie Followell (10.5 ppg) returns in the frontcourt with 5-11 Sr. Kasey Harrod and 5-8 Sr. Ashton Smith.  They will be backed up by 5-11 Sr. Mollie Bolin, 5-10 So. Jennifer Fletcher, 5-10 So. Kelli Thompson, and 5-9 Fr. Kayla Phipps.  This team has returning depth and experience, and should compete for regional honors.

Clinton County – Coach Ronnie Guffey’s Lady Bulldogs finished 25-9 last season, captured the All “A” Classic last season, and should be favored to capture the 4th Region title this season.  They will be led by the Guffey twins, 5-8 Sr. Paige (23.1 ppg) and 5-7 Sr. Amber (19.0 ppg).  5-8 Sr. Brittany Abbott is another deadly three point shooter who missed last season due to an injury.  They will get help in the paint from 5-10 Sr. Dorothy Papineau.

Eastern – Coach Steve Ward’s Lady Eagles finished 12-16 last season and this year’s team enters the 7th Region wars with a very quick, athletic squad.  They will be led by 5-10 Jr. Dymon Rondo (13 ppg).  Other key contributors include 6-0 Sr. Tiffani Slaughter (8 ppg 7 rpg), 5-5 So. She’ri Jenkins (8 ppg), 5-3 Sr. Tierra Payne, 5-8 So. Jamie Williams, 5-7 So. Tesha Wright, and 5-9 Jr. Ciera Chisholm.

Harrison County – Coach Mac Whitaker’s Fillies finished 27-6 last season and are expected to be one of the top teams in the 10th Region this season.  Although the Fillies graduated all-stater Megan Gray, Coach Whitaker returns a good combination of proven veterans and promising newcomers.  Some of the players to watch this season are 5-10 Jr. Brooke Faulkner (21 ppg), 5-6 So. LaDonna Turley (9 ppg), 6-1 Jr. Garyn Price (5 ppg, 7 rpg), 5-8 Jr. Katie Kendall, and 5-8 Fr. Laura Kendall.

Lexington Catholic – Coach Greg Todd’s Lady Knights were 29-8 last season and were runner-up in the Sweet 16.  Lexington Catholic returns a deep and talented squad and will enter the season ranked either #1 or #2 in all major state polls.  They should be led this season by 6-1 Sr. Shannon Novosel (15.5 ppg 10.2 rpg), 6-0 Jr. Anaris Sickles (16.2 ppg 8.2 rpg), and 5-8 Jr. Nikki Davis (10.2 ppg 6.3 rpg).  Other players expected to play major roles are to 5-6 So. Keyla Snowden, 5-10 Fr. Natalie Novosel, and 5-6 Sr. Lesley Server.  (Server is currently rehabbing an ACL injury but could be available in January).  Coach Todd will also get help from two talented transfers from Dunbar in 5-9 Sr. Adaeze Azubuike and 5-6 Fr. Briana Green.  Lexington Catholic also has several other talented players including 5-7 Sr. Rebecca Rhule and 5-11 So. Kellie Cash who should provide quality minutes this season.

Louisville Central – Coach Damon Cobble’s Lady Yellowjackets finished 18-10 last season and should compete for the 6th Region title this season.  6-2 Sr. Ciara Gibbs is a force in the paint at both ends of the floor.  5-8 Sr. Kandy Baines is an aggressive scorer and excellent ballhandler.  Other players expected to be key contributors include 5-11 Sr. Danielle Bonds, 6-0 Sr. Gail Forbes, and 5-8 Sr. LaSasha Hamilton-Sloss.  This is a very athletic team with an excellent mix of experienced talent and promising underclassmen.

Mercy Academy – Coach Mark Evans’ Jaguars finished 22-8 last season but graduated seven players from last year’s squad.  Coach Evans will enter the 7th Region wars this season with a smaller but quicker squad.  Some players expected to be key contributors include 5-11 Jr. Jenny Petrie, 5-8 Sr. Courtney Hall, 5-9 Jr. Emily Napier, 5-7 Jr. Mallory Luckett, 5-10 Sr. Sha’Lori Moore, and 5-8 Jr. Brittany Buss.

Monroe County – Coach Dwayne Murray’s Falcons finished 24-6 last season playing in the 4th Region.  The Falcons graduated five seniors but they return an excellent guard in 5-7 Jr. Kenzie Rich.  Coach Murray should get help from 5-6 So. Laura Anderson, 6-2 Sr. Terin Burgess, 5-7 Jr. Tara Harlan, and 5-8 Jr. Chelsea McCreary.

Owensboro – The Lady Red Devils finished 15-12 last season and Tom Campbell takes over at the helm this season.  He inherits a team that could challenge for the 3rd Region title this season. Two of his key players should be 6-0 So. Ashley Prince and 6-1 Fr. Janae Howard.

Paducah Tilghman – Coach Allison Graham’s Blue Tornado finished 25-6 last season and are expected to be a strong contender for the 1st Region championship this season.  Paducah Tilghman has a lot of talent returning including 6-1 Jr. Pam Bell (15.5 ppg 10.4 rpg), 5-8 Sr. Aseer Itiavkase (14.4 ppg 8.9 rpg), and 5-3 Sr. Christian Shelton (12.4 ppg).  Other players expected to help are 5-10 So. Jeriesha Hayes, 6-0 Jr. JeNisha Martin, 5-3 Sr. Dria Moore, and 5-7 Sr. Shakiyah Leonard.  5-7 Fr. Ali Watson transferred from St. Mary and should compete for playing time at point guard.  This team has a lot of weapons and Coach Graham has the talent to make a lot of noise this season.

Pike County Central – The Lady Hawks finished 21-11 last season, captured the 15th Region championship, and Coach Tammy Tussey returns all five starters.  Some key players include 5-8 So. Haley Ratliff (18.3 ppg), 5-5 Sr. Mishay Weddington (10.5 ppg), 5-3 Fr. Paige Lowe (8.3 ppg), 6-0 Sr. Taylor Brown (7.6 ppg), 5-8 Sr. Elizabeth Birchfield, and 5-11 Fr. Kayla Lowe.  Coach Tammy Tussey also expects help at the forward/center position from 6-1 Jr. Ashley Vanko (a transfer from Chicago).  This team has good size in the paint and guards who can play at both ends of the court.

Rockcastle County – Coach Chrysti Noble’s Lady Rockets finished 30-4 last season, captured the 13th Region title, and should be one of the top teams in the state this season.  5-5 Sr. Johnna Abney (18 ppg) is reportedly fully recovered from an ACL tear that ended her season in the regional championship last season.  The other members of the “terrific trio” include 5-10 Sr. Tara Rowe (15 ppg) and 5-10 Sr. Heather Hammond (14 ppg).  Other key performers include 5-9 Sara Parsons, 5-9 Sr. Katie Parsons, 5-6 Jr. Ashley Lunsford, and 5-8 Fr. Sarah Rowe.  The Lady Rockets are short on size but deep in talent, desire, and knowledge of the game.

Washington County – The Commaderettes finished 24-8 last season and coach J. T. Burton’s squad should be contenders in the 5th Region again this year.  The Commaderettes will be led by 5-7 Sr. Katie Filatreau and 5-9 Jr. Brittany Edelen.  Other players expected to contribute include So. Stacy Tope, Fr. Jane Goatley, and Fr. Lee Goatley.

Wayne County– The Lady Cardinals finished 25-8 last season and captured the 12th Region championship but graduated four key seniors from that squad.  However, Coach Tim Pyles returns 5-11 Sr. Ashley Bell who is considered by many to be the best player in the region.  Ashley has the ability to score in the paint and the shooting touch to hit the perimeter jumper.  Two other key returnees are 5-5 Jr. Lindsey Dishman 5-9 Jr. Latoyia Green and 5-5 Jr. Kara Gothrup.

National Division

Cawood – Coach Bucky Burkhart’s Trojanettes finished 17-9 last season, and competes in the tough 13th Region.  Coach Burkhart has talent returning to once again battle their competitive foes in the 13th Region.  5-8 Jr. Sierra Wynn (11 ppg) is the top returnee.  Other players expected to help are 5-6 Sr. Whitney Rhymer, 5-4 Fr. Emily Boggs, 5-8 Jr. Cynthia Green, and 5-8 Jr. Tiffany Brock.

Elizabethtown– Coach Tim Mudd’s Lady Panthers finished 26-6 last season and are favored to capture the 5th Region crown this season.  E-town has an excellent frontline in 6-1 Jr. Kabrenda Warfield, 6-0 Sr. Robyn Jennings, and 6-0 Sr. Sara SextonJennings has the ability to score both inside and out.  Sexton is aggressive in the paint on both ends of the court and attacks the basket with a nice spin move.  5-5 Sr. Lara Donnelly is an excellent leader and team player who can shoot the ball.  5-4 Sr. LaTasha Turner runs the point guard position.

Graves County – Coach Jeff Stokes squad finished 20-8 last season and but his team resembled a M.A.S.H. unit with Leslie Dowdy, Kacie Henderson, and Amber Bradley all going down with torn ACLs.  The Lady Eagles should challenge for the 1st Region title if all recover and can stay healthy this season.  6-2 Sr. Leslie Dowdy (11.4 ppg) and 6-0 So. Jessica Doran provide size in the paint.  5-7 Jr. Kacie Henderson (6.8 ppg), 5-5 Sr. Amber Bradley, 5-6 Fr. Brittany Young (who transferred from Fulton City), and 5-6 So. Alysha Legate should give Graves County solid perimeter play.

Greenwood – The Lady Gators finished 13-14, last season and longtime assistant Ken Waddell takes over as head coach this season.  The Lady Gators have the talent to challenge for the 4th Region championship.  Some of the leading returnees include 6-0 Sr. Katie Sanderson (14.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg), 5-9 Jr. Angela Kitchens (9.7 ppg), 5-9 Jr. Ryanne Embry (8.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg), 5-10 Jr. Cali Carter (7.6 ppg) (returning from a knee injury), and 5-5 Jr. Devin Dewitt (4.2 ppg).  Dewitt started at point guard last season and will be depended upon for leadership.  5-10 Jr. Amanda Howard, 5-6 So. Richi Njoku, and 5-9 Sr. Brittany Fields are other players expected to help.

Henderson County– The Lady Colonels finished 28-4 last season and Coach by Jeff Haile’s squad should compete for the 2nd Region championship and a lofty state ranking.  They will be led by Miss Basketball candidate 5-9 Sr. Ashley Hawkins, who averaged 18.3 ppg and 6.1 apg last season.  5-7 Sr. guard Krista Hatfield (8.6 ppg) is an excellent three point threat and 5-11 Sr. center Whitney Waddell averaged 5.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg.  5-2 Jr. guard Sierra Gilbert averaged 7.6 ppg.  Other players to watch include 5-7 Jr. Aurelia Quarles, and 5-5 Fr. Rinesha Soaper.  Coach Haile enters the season with a 389-112 record and needs 11 wins to reach the 400 win plateau.

Lexington Christian Academy – The Lady Eagles finished 15-13 last season and Donna Murphy takes over as head coach this season.  The Lady Eagles compete in the tough 11th Region and also have a chance to compete for an All “A” tourney berth.  Players to watch include 5-6 So. Emily London (9.6 ppg), 5-9 Sr. Leah Anderson (9.4 ppg), 5-10 Jr. Katie Brittain, 5-7 Sr. Kayla Yates, 5-10 Sr. Cara Johnson, 5-9 Sr. Casey Johnson, 6-1 Jr. Kirby Barnhart, and 5-8 Jr. Noelle Jones.  The Lady Eagles have several players capable of being in the starting lineup.

Louisville Christian Academy – The Lady Centurions finished 24-7 last season and Coach Don Rice’s squad has the talent and experience to challenge Sacred Heart for 7th Region supremacy this season. They return everyone from last year’s team and add 6-2 Sr. Maggie McKemie who had to sit out a year after transferring from Manual.  McKemie has the ability to play anywhere on the floor.  5-7 Jr. Meredith Marsh can score from anywhere and possesses excellent court vision.  5-8 Sr. Jessie Marshall is a consistent threat from beyond the arc.  The frontcourt will be capably manned by 6-4 Sr. Ashley Fishback, 5-8 Sr. Ali Shubert, and 5-9 Sr. Kristen Blake.  Other players expected to contribute include 5-8 Sr. Danielle Kom, 5-7 Jr. Molly Magee, 5-10 So. Abby Tappendorf, 5-7 So. Courtney Smith, and 5-6 Fr. Brooke Willoughby.

Muhlenberg North – Coach Mike Harper’s Lady Stars finished 25-7 last season and captured the 3rd Region title for the fifth consecutive year.  Despite the graduation of all-stater Jade Perry, the Lady Stars are expected to compete for the regional title again this season.  6-0 Jr. Candace Garrett (7.3 ppg) will move to center this season.  5-7 Sr. Veronica Peercy (9.5 ppg), 5-9 Sr. Heather Oglesby (6.5 ppg), and 5-6 So. Heather Mitchell (6.8 ppg) are returning players who can score.  5-7 Jr. Lauren Jill Tatum is a capable outside shooter who passes the ball.  5-9 Sr. Holly Neal should also log key minutes this season.  The Lady Stars have an excellent blend of veteran proven talent and some promising newcomers.

Newport Central Catholic – Coach Christie McDonald’s Thoroughbreds finished 24-8 last season and was the 9th Region runner-up.  They only return one starter this season in 5-7 Sr. Jayme Thiem who averaged 14 points per game last season.  NCC returns three seniors in 5-3 Christine Guidugli, 5-5 Alex Litmer, and 5-10 Stacey Smith, who should provide solid contributions.  Coach McDonald also has some talented underclassmen including 5-8 So. Shannon Klei and 6-0 Fr. Whitney Cundiff.  Although this team may be relatively experienced, they are talented and athletic with the ability to make a late run for the title.

Ohio County – The Lady Eagles finished 25-7 last season and Coach Brad Johnson’s squad has the talent to compete for the top spot in the 3rd Region this season.  Ohio County will be led by 5-11 Sr. Julie Leach, who averaged 24 ppg last season and is also an aggressive rebounder.  5-7 Sr. Amanda Critchelow is also considered to be one of the top players in the region.  Coach Johnson utilizes a deep rotation with several players capable of making key contributions.

Paris – Coach Terence Brooks Ladyhounds finished 26-9 last season and captured the 10th Region championship.  Coach Brooks returns four starters: 5-6 Jr. Taylor Christman, 5-7 Sr. Natalie Tubbs, 5-4 Sr. Iona Caulder, and 5-8 Jr. Alishia Tucker.  Other players to watch include 5-5 Jr. Whitney Mitchell, 5-6 Jr. Laurie Mitchell, and 5-7 Sr. Sarah Yeiser.  Paris will find a center among several contenders and as usual they will utilize speed, defense, and a three point attack.

Russell – Coach Merle Kidwell’s Lady Devils finished 25-8 last season, return their top eight players, and are favored to capture the 16th Region crown this season.  5-8 Jr. Kala Faulkner is an ultra-quick scorer who averaged 22 ppg last season.  5-5 So. Britt Faulkner is a top defender and an excellent athlete.  6-0 So. Jessica Fortman averaged 11 ppg and 7 rpg as a freshman.  6-1 Jr. Christen Daniels averaged 10 ppg and is an excellent post player who runs the floor well.  6-0 So. Chinwe Okoro is a strong post player who averaged  defender and an excellent averaged 9.8 ppg and 6.0 rpg.  5-5 Sr. Cristina Williams is coming off two ACL injuries but when healthy can stroke the three pointer.  5-4 Fr. Samantha Sparks is a good shooter and defender.  This is a very athletic team with solid post play.  (It has been reported that Kala and Britt Faulkner are no longer members of the Russell basketball squad.)

Sacred Heart Academy – Sacred Heart finished 37-1 last season and captured their third consecutive state championship.  Coach Donna Moir’s Valkyries enter the season shooting for four in a row but first must survive the competitive 7th Region.  The Valkyries will be led by 5-8 Sr. point guard Carly Ormerod, who is considered the leading candidate for Miss Basketball.  5-10 Sr. Taylor Kopple is an very athletic swingman who can play anywhere on the floor.  6-1 So. Elizabeth Campbell is greatly improved and will provide Sacred Heart with an inside presence.  5-9 Sr. Jackie Distler is an excellent long-range shooter and 5-4 Sr. Jordan Hess is a blur on both ends of the court.  The Valkyries have an excellent rotation of players coming off the bench including 5-5 Sr. Alison Denbow and 5-9 Sr. Kelsey McCarty who know how to win.

South Laurel – The Lady Cardinals finished 24-7 last season and Coach Konnie Snyder’s squad is one of the favorites to capture the 12th Region crown this season.  The Lady Cardinals will be led this season by 6-0 Sr. Taran Johnson and 5-6 Sr. Mallory Jones.  Other players expected to be key contributors are 5-10 Jr. Amber Neace, 5-9 Sr. Brittany Turner, and 5-6 So. Whitney Smith.  5-7 Jr. Kayla Baker, 5-7 Jr. Kayla Valentine, 5-7 So. Courtney Hamm, and 5-9 So. Devon Burchette are expected to log quality playing time this season.

Todd County Central – The Lady Rebels finished 12-13 last season but Coach Jeff Stamps is optimistic about his team this season and believes they will be very competitive in the 4th Region this season.  5-6 Sr. guard Brittany Darden averaged 15.3 ppg and 3.8 apg last season and recorded 115 steals.  5-7 Jr. Fontay Martin is another guard with an excellent outside shot.  6-2 Jr. Jaleesa Glass and 6-1 So. Millie Deason should present a formidable inside presence and will be joined by two sophs, 5-10 Krystal Head and 6-1 Lindsey Shade.  Other players expected to provide quality minutes this season include 5-6 Jr. Cyerra Fort, 5-6 So. Holly Mayes, 5-8 Fr. Amber Westerman, and 5-5 So. Tabitha Taylor.

Whitesburg – Coach Dickie Adams’ Lady Jackets finished 28-6 last season and are considered strong contenders for the 14th Region title this season.  5-10 Sr. forward/center Camille Cook averaged 16.2 ppg and 9.0 rpg last season.  5-9 Sr. guard Whitney Hogg averaged 15.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 4.4 apg.  Both these ladies have tallied more than 1250 points and 600 rebounds for their respective careers.  Other players to watch include 5-5 Jr. Autumn Morris (5.4 ppg), 5-10 Sr. Chasity Watts (2.4 ppg), 5-10 Jr. Stephanie Whitaker, and 5-7 Jr. Tiffany Lowe.

Please send your comments and questions to Ron Harrison at prephoops@yahoo.com.

Ron Harrison’s reports on this and other basketball events appear on http://www.angelfire.com/ky/prephoops.