CAMDEN — Maggie Neanen has lofty goals set as she enters her first season as Preble Shawnee’s girls basketball coach.
And for good reason.
The Arrows return six of their top players from a team that went 10-11 last season and was 8-4 in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Buckeye Division.
Shawnee has since moved on from the SWBL and joined the Western Ohio Athletic Conference.
“Going into the new league (WOAC) our goal and expectation is to compete for the League Championship,” she said. “We know we have a tough wall to climb with Tri-Village and Arcanum but we think we have a very good chance. We are returning a lot of speed and quickness plus our scorers are all returning.”
In addition to the returning players, Neanen said the talent doesn’t stop there.
“We have young talent that I am excited about, they all are very competitive people which will make watching us fun,” she said. “We, as a program, expect us to compete in every game this season, to compete for a sectional and district Championship. Our goal is to bring home a banner for Preble Shawnee Girls basketball for the first time in 30-plus years. We are striving everyday towards that goal.”
Shawnee has one returning senior on the roster.
Gracie Lovely – all-league honorable mention – guard, — “Great leader on the team, does everything we ask, looking forward to watching her grow this season. She is a very good defender,” Neanen said.
Three juniors all started last season as sophomores.
Olivia Thompson – returning starter, averaged 11 points last season, 1st team all-league — “She will play a big role as a main contributor this season and will take on a leadership role. Liv is extremely quick and handles the ball very well. We look for her to have a big season,” Neanen said.
Harlee Howard – returning starter, Honorable Mention All League last season — “Harlee is dominant on the boards and is extremely feisty, could be a match up nightmare for some teams,” Neanen said.
Campbell Jewel – returning starter, returning lead scorer averaged 14 points, 1st team All League player — “Cam was the leading scorer a season ago, we look for her to contribute more this season, she is very quick off the dribble and loves the defensive game. We look for her to have a big season,” Neanen said.
The roster also features a pair of sophomores who saw varsity time as freshmen.
Korrie Woodard – guard — “Will play a big role for us this year, she has tremendous speed and will help handle the ball for us, great defender. Really looking forward to watching her grow,” Neanen said.
Kahlen Kulms – post — “She will be a key player for us this year, we need her to dominate the boards and have a soft touch at the rim, she is really working hard this preseason on developing the confidence to really be the dominant player we expect her to be.”
Newcomers this season include a senior and a pair of sophomores.
Senior – Makayla Morris – forward — “She didn’t play last year so this is my first year watching her, she is very aggressive on the boards, she is a great leader, we look forward to watching her this season. She works her tail off both offensively and defensively.”
Sophomore – Addison Sergent-Eckert – forward — “Addison can do a little bit of it all, she can play post, she can hit the three like a guard, she is an extremely versatile player who will do whatever it takes to get on the floor. She will be a very good contributor for us,” Neanen said.
Sophomore – Ashleigh Mondello-Garrett- guard — “Ashleigh is quick and is a good ball handler, we can’t wait to watch her keep growing, she is a very athletic girl,” Neanen said.
“Overall I am excited to be at Preble Shawnee and the community support here is absolutely outstanding and I hope to have a lot of the community at our games. Let’s fill the gyms with black and red,” Neanen said.
Shawnee opened the season on Saturday, Nov. 20 with a 52-39 win over Brookville.
Jewel led the team with 16 points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists.
Thompson added 10 points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Kulms contributed nine points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Shawnee (1-0) is scheduled to host Ponitz on Saturday, Nov. 27 and will play at Valley View on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr