CAMDEN — Coming off one of its most successful seasons in several years, Preble Shawnee’s girls’ basketball team should be right in the mix for a league title and possible deep tournament run.
The Arrows finished last year 14-11 and reached the sectional final — and most of those players are returning.
Preble Shawnee coach Kevin Schaeffer said he expects his team’s strength to be defense.
“We should be an exciting team to watch on both ends of the court,” he said. “We allowed the second fewest points in the Buckeye Division and fourth overall in the SWBL. We certainly hang our hats on the defensive effort and composure and flexibility.”
Schaeffer said his team will be much improved offensively as well.
“The surprise this year to our opponents will be our growth on offense. We will definitely play ‘relaxed yet focused’ this year,” he said. “We will be incredibly hard workers on the defensive end of the floor and we will be creative and dynamic on offense. Last year, I think we felt pressure to be perfect on offense, which really limited our creativity. We were hesitant to try things, go outside the box. This year, we will be precise but also free. Last year, we all (I think) looked for Nicole (Sims) to carry us in scoring, but this year we are pushing other girls to steal the limelight a bit. Be the player that people notice on offense. We will be an active, hard-working, and excitingly creative team this year. High ceiling.”
Sims, a first-team All-SWBL pick last season as a sophomore, is arguably best guard in the league/area. She is a gifted ball handler, true point guard, and will have lots of scoring pressure lifted this year because Shawnee has several other confident scorers this year, according to Schaeffer.
Seniors include, Malorie Plaugher and Shelbie Brown (didn’t see much court-time last year due to injury).
Juniors include, Jenna Lovely, a multi-talented guard on offense and defense, Brenna Woodard, another strong guard who will be a match-up problem for other teams, whether at the guard spot or on the post? She does both well, according to Schaeffer said.
Junior Logan Hollon is a solid, well-rounded post.
Junior Kaylie Campbell, a 6-foot guard, who Schaeffer is expecting huge things from her this year.
“(She has) good footwork inside but has a nice 3-point shot too. (She) knocked down seven threes in the first scrimmage. Kaylie will be a big problem for other teams to defend.
Sophomore Cami Hollon, who bubbled last year, but is a very competent guard, is expected to contribute as well.
Schaeffer said his team is capable of challenging for a league title.
“We should be right in the mix at the top of our league this year,” he said. “Last year we were a little predictable on offense which often resulted in stale basketball. Too much thinking and not enough playing. We also put too much pressure, albeit indirect, on Nicole Sims. This year, I can really see 4 or 5 of the starters each scoring in double digits. The mentality at practice is looser, more relaxed, but also at the same time a little more focused. It is a unique group of girls that can pull that off and fortunately Preble Shawnee has just that group. Should be a fun year to coach, play, and watch basketball at Preble Shawnee.”
Shawnee is scheduled to open the season Saturday, Nov. 25 at Hamilton Badin. Varsity tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with the junior varsity contest slated for 6 p.m.
The Arrows will make their home debut on Tuesday, Nov. 28, against Middletown Madison.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.