Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Mason unanimous No. 1 in Division I

By Dave Schutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When it comes to girls basketball in the Cincinnati area, very little has changed since the 1996-97 season.

  • 1. Mason (14) 140
  • 2. Mercy 112
  • 3. Colerain 106
  • 4. Sycamore 72
  • 5. Princeton 67
  • 6. Mount Notre Dame 59
  • 7. Oak Hills 34
  • 8. Lakota West 30
  • 9. McAuley 29
  • 10. Ursuline 26
  Others: Seton 20, St. Ursula 19, Harrison 17, Fairfield 12, Hughes 12, Milford 7, Lebanon 5.
        For the fifth consecutive year, Mason was voted No. 1 in The Cincinnati Enquirer's Division I preseason poll. Mercy, Colerain, Sycamore and Princeton round out the top five.

        Five of the top 10 teams are from the Greater Miami Conference and four are from the Girls Greater Cincinnati League.

        Although Mason, ranked No. 9 in the USA Today Super 25 poll, was a unanimous choice, the Comets may not be as dominant as in past seasons.

        With Michelle Munoz and Jere' Issenmann the only returning starters from last season's state championship team, coach Gerry Lackey must rely on many players without varsity experience.

        “It's hard to say, but we may be very overrated,” Lackey said. “There's so many good teams in Cincinnati and the state and there's not much difference.”

        Munoz, a preseason All America who has signed with Tennessee, averaged 20 points and eight rebounds last season. The University of Illinois-bound Issenmann, who averaged 10 points, four assists and three steals, is the Comets' outside threat.

        “Michelle and Jere' will be the bulk of our offense, especially early on,” Lackey said. “Once the other girls get experience, they will become more comfortable.”

        Junior Nicole Stein has assumed the point guard position, and Rachael Minnich is at the shooting guard spot. Stacy Shull, who was used frequently last season, will start at forward.

        “Staying out of foul trouble and remaining healthy are concerns,” Lackey said. “Defense will be a key. We may not put as many points on the board, but we're going to be a good team.”

        2. Mercy: The strength of this season's Bobcat team will be on the inside, with returning starters Angie Heintz, Melissa Clavier and Siobhan Zerilla, along with Kim Stern. Starters Jennifer Winright and Erin Mullen return at the guard positions.

        But the Bobcats have not been able to work together much, since some players have just finished with fall sports.

        “We're two to three weeks behind because of the success of the soccer and volleyball teams,” Huismann said.

        3. Colerain: Since Chris Trentman took over as coach three years ago, the Cardinals have gone 38-8.

        With double-figure scorers Quanita Hailey and Katie Haggard back, along with Annie Wessels and Alysa Croxton, look for the Cardinals to post another outstanding record.

        4. Sycamore: Although hit hard by graduation, coach Paula Hayden's Aviators will be an experienced team with veterans Jesica Fitzwilson, Jenny Kimmey and Emily Schwerdtmann.

        5. Princeton: It's another reloading year at Princeton. Coach Jerry Stein will rely on returning players Brie Bradshaw, Dee Davis, Jamie Skoog and Katie McNamara.

        6. Mt. Notre Dame: With no returning starters and only four letter winners back, the Cougars will rely on seniors Liz Engel and Liz Braun.

        7. Oak Hills: The Highlanders' first season in the Greater Miami Conference should be rewarding, with the help of veteran players Danielle Dietrich, Jackie Cornelius, Stacey Fehr, Vanessa Laug, Michelle Holmes and Amanda Sauers.

        8. Lakota West: Cara Wright, Andrea Carlberg, Tara Swift and Stephanie Comisar have performed well in preseason scrimmages and will key players.

        9. McAuley: The Mohawks return nine letter-winners, including post players Lisa Kampschmidt, Kristen Rust and Nicole Koenig. Three-year starter Nikki Lichtenfeld and Amanda Hoffman will start at guard.

        10. Ursuline: The Lions' strength will be at the guard positions with veterans Erin Davren and Whitney Klein. However, the the team lacks height, which might be tough to overcome.


McNicholas tops Div. II-IV poll - barely