High School Basketball

Preview of Lexington's girls' teams

Kierra Muhammad, a 5-foot-4 senior, returns for Paul Laurence Dunbar after helping lead the Lady Bulldogs to the Sweet Sixteen semifinals last season. Dunbar opens the season ranked No. 3.
Kierra Muhammad, a 5-foot-4 senior, returns for Paul Laurence Dunbar after helping lead the Lady Bulldogs to the Sweet Sixteen semifinals last season. Dunbar opens the season ranked No. 3.

Bryan Station

Coach: Donna Murphy, second year (16-15)

Last season: 16-15 (lost to Madison Central in region semifinals)

Top players: Serena Sandusky (5-8 sr.), Victoria McCoy (5-10 jr.), Hallie Crumbie (6-1 sr.), La'bianca Frazier (5-6 sr.), Bairesha Gill (5-11 fr.), DeShante Clay (5-8 sr.), Destiny Cozart (5-7 fr.), Zaria Elery (5-6 so.), Lakyesha Stennis (5-9 jr.)

Outlook: Five seniors and the top six players return from Murphy's first Station squad, including starters McCoy (10 ppg, 5 rpg), Crumbie (6 rpg), Frazier, Clay and Butler signee Sandusky (14 ppg, 4.8 rpg).

"Last year was our first year together so we were both trying to make adjustments," Murphy said. "They feel a little more comfortable with me and I feel a little more comfortable with them."

The strength of the team is defense. "We don't have a lot of scorers," Murphy said. "... Consistent scoring inside, the post area.

"I need some consistency in being able to score inside and on the perimeter."

Lady Defenders' schedule

Nov. 30—Madison Central, 7:30.

Dec. 4—Henry Clay, 6; 7—at Sayre, 7:30; 8—Ryle, 1 (Lady Defender Classic); 11—at Scott Co., 7:30; 14—vs. South Laurel at Berea Holiday Classic, 6; 19—vs. Bourbon Co. at Republic Bank Classic (Lexington Catholic), 6.

Jan. 3—at Lafayette, 8; 9—at Tates Creek, 7:30; 11—Scott Co., 6; 15—Dunbar, 7:30; 17—at Henry Clay, 7:45; 19—Tates Creek, 2:30; 22—Anderson Co., 7:30; 25—Lafayette, 8; 29—at Franklin Co., 7:45.

Feb. 1—Lincoln Co., 7:30; 7—at Dunbar, 7:30; 9—LaRue Co. at Valentine Shootout at John Hardin, 7; 15—Harrison Co., 7:30; 16—Louisville Christian, 2:30.

Henry Clay

Coach: Eric Sanford, second year

Last season: 4-23 (lost to Scott Co. in first round of district)

Top players: Areanna Porter (5-9 jr.), Destiny Carter (5-6 so.), Jasmine Richmond (5-6 so.)

Outlook: The Blue Devils, without a senior, certainly qualify as young. "We are a very young team with little experience ... and are still rebuilding off of last year's experience," Sanford said. "We will be more athletic and deep this year, with the chance to surprise people if we stay consistent. They have worked extremely hard in the off-season and continue to work hard to get better each day."

Porter (8 rpg), Carter (6 ppg) and Richmond (6.5 ppg) all started last season.

Sanford has plenty of other sophomores ready to help: Kennedy Coney, Kerrigan Davis, Ki-Ki Joyce and Hannah Young. Several freshmen could contribute, too: T'laya Lyvers, Jordyn Jackson and Nakeisha Green.

"We'll have an up-tempo style of play," Sanford said, "with an emphasis on pressing and man-to-man defense."

Lady Devils' schedule

Nov. 27—Lexington Catholic, 7:45; 30—Shelby Co., 7:30.

Dec. 4—at Bryan Station, 6; 7—Ballard, 7; 8—vs. Lincoln Co. at (Bryan Station) Lady Defender Classic; 27—at Western Hills (Lady Wolverine Classic), 6.

Jan. 2—Anderson Co., 7:45; 4—Scott Co., 7:45; 5—at Madison Central, 7:30; 10—at Dunbar, 6; 11—at Tates Creek, 7:45; 17 —Bryan Station, 7:45; 19—Knox Central, 1; 22—Western Hills, 7:30; 25—at Scott Co., 8; 26 —vs. Pulaski Co. at Berea College Showdown; 28—at Sayre, 7:30; 31—Frankfort, 7:30.

Feb. 1—at Woodford Co., 8; 2—at Holmes, 7:30; 5—at Franklin Co., 8; 11—Lafayette, 7:45; 13—Dunbar, 7:45; 15—Tates Creek, 7:45.


Coach: Allison Tate Denton, 12th year (176-142 overall)

Last season: 15-14 (lost to Dunbar in district semifinals)

Top players: Sarah Cooley (6-0 jr.), Ken'yale Demus (5-8 jr.), Ashanti Thomas (6-3 so.)

Outlook: Ashanti Thomas, an all-state candidate with good size, averaged 7.0 points and 7.8 rebounds as a freshman.

"We don't have any seniors this year," Tate Denton said. "We have talent and we are very young."

In addition to Thomas, the Generals will look to juniors Sarah Cooley and Ken'yale Demus. Cooley, a 6-footer, averaged 9.7 points and 9.1 rebounds last season, although shooting only 48.9 percent at the free-throw line. Demus averaged 10.2 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 34 percent from three-point range and 72 percent at the free-throw line.

"We will be focusing all year on the little things," Tate Denton said, "as well as playing together as a team and not as a group of individuals."

Lady Generals' schedule

Nov. 27—at Danville, 7:30.

Dec. 1—Tates Creek, 2:30; 3—Franklin Co., 7:30; 11—at Lexington Christian, 7:30.

Jan. 3—Bryan Station, 8; 11—Ashland Blazer, 7:30; 14—at Lexington Catholic, 7:30; 18—at Boyle Co., 7:30; 23—at Dunbar, 6; 25—at Bryan Station, 8; 26—vs. Shelby Valley at Berea College Showdown, 4:30; 28—at Woodford Co., 7:30; 31—Lexington Catholic, 7:30.

Feb. 2—at Tates Creek, 2:30; 4—at Madison Central, 7:30; 7—Lexington Christian, 7:30; 11—at Henry Clay, 7:45; 15—at Western Hills, 7:30.

Lexington Catholic

Coach: Scott True, first year

Last season: 20-12 (lost to Madison Central in first round of region)

Top players: Octavia Wilson (5-7 sr.), Sara Cawood (5-4 sr.), Rachel Blake (5-8 so.), Hannah Gadberry (5-10 jr.), Suzanne Miller (5-5 jr.), Tori Pippen (5-6 so.), Bailey Browning (5-4 so.), Caroline Lynch (5-7 so.), Caroline Osbourn (5-5 fr.), Sara Bonn (5-7 fr.)

Outlook: Top returnees are Wilson (12.5 ppg), Cawood (2.1 ppg) and Blake (4.5 ppg). Wilson is the lone returning starter.

"We will be replacing four starters and roughly 70 percent of our offense from last year," True said. "We have some young players who must step into much larger roles this season on the varsity level.

"We will have some depth, but we do not have a player 6 feet tall, so size will be an issue. We have the capability to be a good three-point-shooting team and, with our lack of size, this will be very important to our success."

Lady Knights' schedule

Nov. 27—at Henry Clay, 7:45; 30—Anderson Co., 7:30.

Dec. 4—Mercy, 7:30; 7—at Newport Central Catholic, 7:30; 11—Boone Co., 7:30; 15—Dunbar, 7:30; 20—Meade Co. in Republic Bank Classic at Catholic, 7:45; 21-23—TBA in Republic Bank Classic; 27—TBA at Bourbon Co. Holiday Classic, 5.

Jan. 3—at Scott Co., 7:30; 7—at Marion Co., 7:30; 11—Lexington Christian, 7:30; 14—Lafayette, 7:30; 21—at Madison Central, 7:30; 25—Tates Creek, 7:45; 26—Clay Co., 5; 29—at Dunbar, 6; 31—at Lafayette, 7:30.

Feb. 4—at Montgomery Co., 5; 8—at Walton-Verona, 7:30; 9—at Tates Creek, 3:45; 12—at Lexington Christian, 7:30; 15—Scott, 6.

Lexington Christian

Coach: Jason Seamands, seventh season (136-54 overall)

Last season: 12-19 (lost to Lexington Catholic in second round of district)

Top players: Kristin Rinehart (5-7 sr.), Katelin Bundy (5-7 jr.), Hannah Sue Hartley (5-5 fr.), Holley Huellemeier (6-1 jr.), Savannah Compton (6-0 so.), Carah Burdette (5-4 8th)

Outlook: Coming off a disappointing season, Seamands hopes his Eagles are about to fly higher this time around.

"Our players have worked hard in the off-season and have dedicated themselves to becoming better players," he said. "We will rely on our upperclassmen, Katelyn Bundy and Kristin Rinehart, to lead us as we move forward."

Bundy averaged 9.6 points as a sophomore, while Rinehart added 5.6 points and 3.2 rebounds as a junior.

"We think the addition of (Scott County transfer) Holley Heullemier will give us a versatile post player," Seamands said. "We also got Savannah Compton back in our program (from home school), and she should give us a big lift as well."

Lady Eagles' schedule

Dec. 4—at Tates Creek, 6; 8—at Harrison Co., 7:30; 11—Lafayette, 7:30; 27—vs. Collegiate at Herrington Lake All-A Classic (Burgin).

Jan. 4—Louisville Christian, 7:30; 5—Tates Creek, 7:30; 8—at Dunbar, 7:30; 11—at Lexington Catholic, 7:30; 22—Holmes, 7:30; 26—St. Henry, 7:30; 28—at Boyle Co., 7:30; 29—Shelby Co., 7:30; 31—at Oldham Co., 7:30.

Feb. 5—Dunbar, 7:30; 7—at Lafayette, 7:30; 9—at Estill Co., 8; 12—Lexington Catholic, 7:30; 15—at West Jessamine, 7:30; 16—at Moore, 7:30.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Coach: Sarah (Van Horn) Bridenbaugh, second year

Last season: 30-7 (lost to Manual in state tournament semifinals)

Top players: Kierra Muhammad (5-4 sr.), Jordin Fender (5-4, sr.), LaKeena Parks (5-10 sr.), Brooke Todd (6-2 jr.)

Outlook: The Bulldogs lost leading three-point shooter Morgan McEldowney (11 ppg), but the cupboard is mostly full.

Muhammad (10.2 ppg) and Fender (12.3 ppg) are dual triggers, both extremely quick.

Parks (9.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Todd (6.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) do the tough stuff inside.

Bridenbaugh says her team "looks to return a lot of experience to its bench this season."

That includes Lexus Edwards (5.2 ppg) and Shakeema Jackson (5.8 ppg).

Bridenbaugh adds that she plans to use "their speed and quickness ... to pressure other teams into making mistakes, and defend at a high level."

Lady Bulldogs' schedule

Nov. 30—at Scott Co., 7:30.

Dec. 7—Tates Creek, 7:45; 8—vs. Perry Co. Central at (Bryan Station) Lady Defender Classic, 2:30; 11—at Anderson Co., 6:30; 13—Walton-Verona, 7:30; 15—at Lexington Catholic, 7:30; 20—vs. TBA at (Manual) Lady Crimson Classic; 27—vs. Walton-Verona at (Montgomery Co.) Holiday Classic.

Jan. 3—Mercy, 7:30; 5—at Lafayette, 8; 8—Lexington Christian, 7:30; 10—Henry Clay, 6; 15—at Bryan Station, 7:30; 18—at Tates Creek, 7:45; 23—Lafayette, 6; 26—vs. TBA at (Mercy) Raatz Fence Classic; 29—Lexington Catholic, 6.

Feb. 1—vs. TBA at (Bellarmine) Louisville Invitational Tournament; 5—at Lexington Christian, 7:30; 7—Bryan Station, 7:30; 9—Ryle, 6; 13—at Henry Clay, 7:45; 15—at Madison Central, 6.


Coach: Scotty Sutton. 10th year (158-73 overall)

Last season: 18-9 (lost to Bryan Station in first round of district)

Top players: Gabby Bowie (6-3 so.), Hayden White (5-7 jr.), Cammie Croney-Clark (5-7 sr.), Molly Manella (5-8 jr.)

Outlook: "Losing three seniors was going to be tough enough, but we lost Grace Rahman — one of two starters back — to an ACL tear from the soccer season," Sutton said.

Manella, who moved in from Florida, will provide instant help at point guard. She not only handles the ball well but has a shot to keep defenders honest.

"The issue is simply numbers. There are not many girls who have played any varsity minutes," Sutton said. "Gabby will have to be a major force this year, and I think she will, but the young players must improve and step up."

Bowie averaged 13.4 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman, shooting 55 percent from the field.

The Spartans could have one or two middle-schoolers in the starting lineup.

Lady Spartans' schedule

Nov. 28—St. Patrick, 7:30.

Dec. 1—Model, 3; 3—at Scott Co., 6; 7—Bryan Station, 7:30; 10—at Menifee Co., 7:30; 18—Henry Co., 7:30; 27-29—at Whitefield Academy Christmas Classic.

Jan. 5—at Bethlehem, 2:30; 9—at Berea, 7:30; 11—at Burgin, 7:30; 15—Berea (11th Region All "A" Classic), 6; 23—at Madison Southern, 7:30; 28—Henry Clay, 7:30; 31—at Williamstown, 7:30.

Feb. 2—Deming, 2; 4—at Nicholas Co., 6; 5—at Whitefield, 6; 12—Kentucky Country Day, 7:30; 15—East Jessamine, 6.

Tates Creek

Coach: Tina Winn, first season

Last season: 13-17 (lost to LCA in first round of district)

Top players: Lexi Whaley (5-5 sr.), Dominique Etling-Turner (5-6 sr.), Oney Harrison (5-6 sr.), Katie Pippen (5-9 sr.)

Outlook: Winn coached the Lady Commodores' freshmen for two seasons. She inherits Division I signees in Pippen (Eastern Kentucky) and Harrison (St. Bonaventure).

Whaley and Etling-Turner figure in Winn's plans. The Commodores' senior depth extends to Lisa Middleton and Tanisha Rivera. The coach has a pair of nieces on the team in twins Navé and LaTaya Winn.

Creek's forté is its quickness.

"We're a small team, so it's going to be a lot of up-and-down basketball," Winn said. "Man-to-man. ... That's the goal — to press a lot, to run the ball. Just be really aggressive."

That style also is the biggest difference since last season, Winn says, when the Commodores were much more deliberate.

In addition to the seniors, look for sophomores Kendra Evans, Brady Lang and Hannah Hamill to contribute, along with freshman Mary Carter-Downing.

Lady Commodores' schedule

Dec. 1—at Lafayette, 2:30; 4—Lexington Christian, 6; 7—at Dunbar, 7:45; 8—Covington Holy Cross, 5:30; 11—Shelby Co., 8; 15—at Conner, 3; 17—at Scott Co., 7:30.

Jan. 2—at Woodford Co., 7:30; 5—at Lexington Christian, 7:30; 9—Bryan Station, 7:30; 11—Henry Clay, 7:45; 15—at Clark Co., 7:30; 18—Dunbar, 7:45; 19—at Bryan Station, 2:30; 23—Franklin Co., 7:30; 25—at Lexington Catholic, 7:45; 29—at Madison Southern, 6.

Feb. 2—Lafayette, 2:30; 5—at Bourbon Co., 7:30; 9—Lexington Catholic, 3:45; 12—Madison Central, 7:45; 15—at Henry Clay, 7:45.