Expectations high at St. Joe as season tips off
HUNTINGTON -- If you're Huntington St. Joe, and your girl's basketball team has won four consecutive Class A state titles, what can you do in the 2012-13 season but try to get number five?
State championships are the expectation for the Irish now, as girls prep basketball gets underway across the Tri-State in late November and early December.
"There are definitely high expectations," Irish head coach Shannon Lewis said.
And why not? The Irish have Mychal Johnson, a junior guard and top 25 national recruit who just verbally committed to play NCAA hoops for Notre Dame, along with most of their team from last season back.
One piece they will be missing is Asia Petitte, who has transferred.
As a sophomore last year, Petitte was a big part of St. Joe's offense.
"She was our post presence," Lewis said. "It looks like Mychal's sister Michelle will start this year as a freshman, and we'll have a three-guard, two-forward look.
"We won't have the size, but we have a team that is extremely athletic and shoots well, so we'll look to spread it out and attack it that way."
Defensively, Lewis said the team will have to change looks often to compensate for the lack of size.
St. Joe plays only a handful of games in their own gym this year, though they play in a tournament at Spring Valley and in the St. Joe Invitational, which this year has moved to Big Sandy Superstore Arena after the demolition of Veterans Memorial Field House.
The Irish will also play in the relatively exclusive Peach State Basketball Winter Tip Off Classic in Atlanta in late December. The tournament features elite teams from across the country.
Lewis said the tournament provides the type of competition he thinks his team needs to get better.
It also offers players some national exposure, as scouts from numerous NCAA programs will be in attendance.
"Most of our starting five have Division I interests," Lewis said. "But obviously the goal is a state championship, and this helps our team to get better as the season progresses."
(Some dates not yet available)
Dec. 1, at Columbus Africentric; Dec. 7, Wheeling Central at Williamstown; Dec. 8, TBA at Williamstown; Dec. 14, at Boyd County; Dec. 15, Parkersburg Catholic; Dec. 27-29, Peach State Classic, Atlanta.
Jan. 1, Greenup County at Ashland Shootout; Jan. 8, at Parkersburg Catholic; Jan. 12, at Fort Frye (Ohio); Jan. 16, Charleston Catholic; Jan. 25, Eastern (Ohio); Jan. 23-26, St. Joe Invitational, Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Huntington.
Feb. 1, Scott County (Ky.) at Spring Valley; Feb. 2, Olentangy Orange (Ohio) at Spring Valley; Feb. 6, at Warren Local (Ohio); Feb. 9 at Hathaway Brown (Ohio); Feb. 11, Ashland; Feb. 13, Williamstown; Feb. 16, at Parkersburg South.
For Cabell Midland, it's easy to notice what's missing as the 2012-13 season gets under way.
Three key players for the Knights, Emily Harbour, Taylor Carter and Lindsay Newlin, graduated in the spring.
Harbour will be especially missed as she was the first Midland player in 18 years to score more than 1,000 points in her career.
But who the Knights have coming back will likely keep them right in the thick of things in the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
Returning are Sierra Jordan and Emily Pitkin, two post players who have a tendency to clean the glass and erase shot attempts.
Pitkin is a lethal combination of scoring, double-digit rebounds and multiple blocks just about every time she takes the floor.
The Knights will also have veterans Kendall McNeely and Alex Ellis back for the 2012-13 campaign.
Nov. 30, Point Pleasant; Dec. 4, at Huntington High; Dec. 7, Parkersburg; Dec. 11 Lincoln County; Dec. 13 at Ripley; Dec. 19 Ironton; Dec. 21, at Princeton.
Jan. 3, at George Washington; Jan. 4 at Lincoln County; Jan. 9, at Riverside; Jan. 11, at Woodrow Wilson; Jan. 15, Capital; Jan. 17, Nitro; Jan. 19, at Winfield; Jan. 23, Spring Valley; Jan. 25, at South Charleston; Jan. 28, Huntington High; Jan. 31, at Hurricane.
Feb. 1, at Point Pleasant; Feb. 8, at St. Albans; Feb. 11, Hurricane.
The Highlanders went through a bit of a rebuilding phase last season after being a fixture in the Class AAA semifinals and finals for several consecutive seasons.
Last season, the Highlanders bowed out in the first round of the state tournament to eventual champion Greenbrier East.
Coach Lonnie Lucas has three starters returning in Kiana Evans, Chelsea Woodson and Dominique Gibson.
Evans, a 6-foot-1 senior who signed to play at Marshall University next year, averaged 20.5 points per game last season and earned All-MSAC and All-State honors.
"We're always pretty good, and we're always competitive, we just have to see how fast we can get going," Lucas said. "Right now, it's kind of early to tell what we're going to do. We've got a few starters returning who will have to lift up the younger kids."
Huntington High has lofty goals, but Lucas said, state tournament aside, the competition just within Section II of Region IV is fierce this season.
"We expect to have a good team," he said. "This year, our sectional is pretty tough. Spring Valley and Cabell Midland have improved quite a bit.
"Getting to state, realistically, two teams could come out of our section. We'll see what happens. This is a competitive squad, and they all can play."
Nov. 27, St. Albans; Nov. 30, at Lincoln County; Dec. 4, Cabell Midland; Dec. 7, Woodrow Wilson; Dec. 11, at Parkersburg; Dec. 13, Logan; Dec. 21, at Ripley; Dec. 27, Spring Valley.
Jan. 3, Princeton; Jan. 5, at Fairland; Jan. 9, at George Washington; Jan. 11, at Capital; Jan. 15, Riverside; Jan. 17, Winfield; Jan. 19, at South Charleston; Jan. 21, at Hurricane; Jan. 23, Nitro; Jan. 25, at Spring Valley; Jan. 29, at Cabell Midland.
Feb. 7, at Ironton; Feb. 8, Hurricane; Feb. 16, MSAC Night of Champions.
The Timberwolves are bringing a lot of talent to the court this season, and expectations are high.
Bo Miller's squad has Mackenzie Morris returning from an ACL injury, and her sister, sophomore Madison Morris also figures to be a big factor in how well the Timberwolves perform.
Sophomores Brooke Heck and Sarah Kelly, both of whom started as freshmen, also return.
"We're young, but they all played last year, so inexperience shouldn't be too much of a factor for us," Miller said.
Spring Valley's MO this season is going to be to play at a frenetic pace -- getting the ball up the court quickly and relying on speed for open looks, while applying full-court pressure on defense.
"We don't have a lot of size this year, so we have to try and push the ball," Miller said. "We're going to play a lot of different presses on defense to try and eliminate the other teams' big girls."
The Timberwolves will have to be road warriors early, as they don't play a single home game in the month of December.
Miller said each season is full of surprises, and he hopes some of the team's other players will up their game in contributing to the overall effort.
"We're working on conditioning a lot here, recently," Miller said. "I hope we can use other players so fatigue won't be an issue with the pace we're going to play at. Hopefully someone will step up."
Miller said a state tournament berth should be a goal that the Timberwolves reach.
"I always have high expectations," he said. "Anything less than getting to Charleston is a disappointing season."
Dec. 4, at Boyd County; Dec. 8, Morgantown; Dec. 11, at Riverside; Dec. 14-15, Tolsia Invitational Tournament; Dec. 19, at Woodrow Wilson; Dec. 22, at Ironton; Dec. 27, at Huntington High.
Jan. 3, Parkersburg; Jan. 11, at Princeton; Jan. 14, George Washington; Jan. 15, Ripley; Jan. 17, at St. Albans; Jan. 19, Hurricane; Jan. 21, Capital; Jan. 23, at Cabell Midland; Jan. 25, Huntington High; Jan. 28, South Charleston; Jan. 31, at Winfield.
Feb. 6, Logan; Feb. 8, at Nitro.
Schedules for some other Tri-State teams:
Dec. 7, Capital; Dec. 11, at Woodrow Wilson; Dec. 13, Parkersburg; Dec. 21, Point Pleasant.
Jan. 2, Ripley; Jan. 5 at Point Pleasant; Jan. 7, at Capital; Jan. 9, at Princeton; Jan. 11, at Riverside; Jan. 15, George Washington; Jan. 17, at South Charleston; Jan. 19, at Spring Valley; Jan. 21, Huntington High; Jan. 23, Winfield; Jan. 25, St. Albans; Jan. 29, at Nitro; Jan. 31, Cabell Midland.
Feb. 4, Winfield; Feb. 8, at Huntington High; Feb. 11, at Cabell Midland.
Nov. 28, Point Pleasant; Nov. 30, Huntington High; Dec. 4, at Winfield; Dec. 6, at Mingo Central; Dec. 11, at Cabell Midland; Dec. 14-15, Tolsia Invitational Tournament; Dec. 19-21, Chesapeake Holiday Tournament; Dec. 27, at Coal Grove; Dec. 29, at St. Albans.
Jan. 4, Cabell Midland; Jan. 7, Winfield; Jan. 11, at Point Pleasant; Jan. 14, Coal Grove; Jan. 17, at Logan; Jan. 25, Mingo Central; Jan. 30, Tolsia.
Feb. 4, Nitro; Feb. 8, Logan; Feb. 11, St. Albans.
Nov. 28, at Lincoln County; Nov. 30, at Cabell Midland; Dec. 4, Nitro; Dec. 6, Riverside; Dec. 12, at Greenbrier East; Dec. 15, at St. Albans; Dec. 18, at River Valley (Ohio); Dec. 21, at Hurricane; Dec. 27-29, South Gallia Holiday Tournament.
Jan. 3, St. Albans; Jan. 5, Hurricane; Jan. 8, Parkersburg; Jan. 11, Lincoln County; Jan. 17, at Ripley; Jan. 22, Gallia Academy (Ohio); Jan. 28, River Valley; Jan. 31, at Riverside.
Feb. 4, at Parkersburg; Feb. 6, Ripley; Feb. 9, Cabell Midland; Feb. 11, at Nitro.
Nov. 29, Mingo Central; Dec. 11, Chapmanville; Dec. 14-15, Tolsia Invitational; Dec. 18, at Logan; Dec. 28, at Keyser.
Jan. 3, at Mingo Central; Jan. 5, at Chapmanville; Dec. 8, at Scott; Jan. 10, at Poca; Jan. 14, Logan; Jan. 17, Wayne; Jan. 22, Sissonville; Jan. 25, at Herbert Hoover; Jan. 28, Tug Valley; Jan. 30, at Lincoln County.
Feb. 1, Scott; Feb. 4, Chesapeake; Feb. 5, at Wayne; Feb. 8, Herbert Hoover; Feb. 11, at Sissonville; Feb. 14, Poca.
Nov. 29, Waterford (Ohio); Dec. 3, Trimble (Ohio); Dec. 5, at Charleston Catholic; Dec. 6, at Corning Miller (Ohio); Dec. 10, at Racine Southern (Ohio; Dec. 13, South Gallia (Ohio); Dec. 17, Federal Hocking (Ohio); Dec 18 at Man; Dec. 20, at Belpre (Ohio); Jan. 5, Meigs; Jan. 7, at South Gallia; Jan. 9, at Buffalo; Jan. 10, Federal Hocking; Jan. 14, Racine Southern; Jan. 16, Man; Jan. 17, at Waterford; Jan. 24, at Trimble; Jan. 28, Corning Miller; Jan. 30, at Meigs; Jan. 31, at Eastern; Feb. 4, Belpre.
Nov. 29, at Tug Valley; Dec. 4, Chapmanville; Dec. 6, at Sissonville; Dec. 10, Hannan; Dec. 15, Herbert Hoover; Dec. 17, at Scott; Dec. 19, at Chesapeake; Dec. 22, Chesapeake Tournament; Dec. 27, at Poca.
Jan. 3, at Chapmanville; Jan. 7, Poca; Jan. 10, at Grace Christian; Jan. 12, at Mingo Central; Jan. 17 at Tolsia; Jan. 19, at Herbert Hoover; Jan. 21, Grace Christian; Jan. 25, Scott; Jan. 26, at Hannan; Jan. 29, Sissonville.
Feb. 2, Mingo Central; Feb. 5, Tolsia; Feb. 11, at Tug Valley.
Dec. 4, Lincoln County; Dec. 7, Ripley; Dec. 11, at Princeton; Dec. 13, George Washington; Dec. 21, at Riverside; Dec. 26-27, Parkersburg Tournament.
Jan. 3, Capital; Jan. 7, at Lincoln County; Jan. 9, at Woodrow Wilson; Jan. 12, Logan; Jan. 15, Parkersburg; Jan. 17, at Huntingtion High; Jan. 19, Cabell Midland; Jan. 23, at Hurricane; Jan. 25, at Nitro; Jan. 29, at St. Albans; Jan. 31, Spring Valley.
Feb. 4, Hurricane; Feb. 8, South Charleston; Feb. 11, at Logan.
Dec. 3, Southern Local (Ohio); Dec. 7, at Belpre (Ohio); Dec. 11, Grace Christian; Dec. 14-15, Wahama Tournament; Dec. 17, at Teays Valley Christian; Dec. 21, at Calhoun County; Dec. 27, at Federal Hocking (Ohio).
Jan. 4, at Calhoun County; Jan. 8, at Grace Christian; Jan. 11, at WVHIT round one; Jan. 14, Teays Valley Christian; Jan. 17, at Ironton St. Joe; Jan. 19, at WVHIT round two; Jan. 22, Wahama; Jan. 26, Wayne.
Feb. 1, WVHIT at Parkersburg; Feb. 6, at Southern Local; Feb. 7, Ironton St. Joe.
Nov. 27, Ohio Valley Christian; Dec. 3, Gallia Academy; Dec. 6, Fairland; Dec. 10, at Portsmouth; Dec. 13, South Point; Dec. 15, River Battle; Dec. 17, West Carter (Ky.); Dec. 19-21, Lady Peake Tournament; Dec. 27, Symmes Valley.
Jan. 3, at River Valley; Jan. 5, Athens; Jan. 7, Rock Hill; Jan. 10, at Coal Grove; Jan. 14 at Gallia Academy; Jan. 17, at Fairland; Jan. 21, at South Point; Jan. 24, River Valley; Jan. 31, at Rock Hill.
Feb. 4, at Tolsia; Feb. 7, Coal Grove.
Nov. 29, Portsmouth; Dec. 3, Alexander; Dec. 6, River Valley; Dec. 10, at Raceland (Ky.); Dec. 13 at Rock Hill; Dec. 15, River Battle; Dec. 17, at Ironton; Dec. 20, at Symmes Valley; Dec. 22, Ironton St. Joe; Dec. 27, Lincoln County (W.Va.).
Jan. 3, at South Point; Jan. 5, at Wheelersburg; Jan. 7, Fairland; Jan. 10, Chesapeake; Jan. 12, at Oak Hill; Jan. 14, at Lincoln County; Jan. 21, Rock Hill; Jan. 24, South Point; Jan. 31, at Fairland.
Feb. 4, Raceland; Feb. 7, at Chesapeake.
Nov. 26, Greenup County (Ky.); Nov. 29 at Meigs; Dec. 6, at Chesapeake; Dec. 10, at Gallia County; Dec. 13, River Valley; Dec. 20, Oak Hill; Dec. 27-28, at Yule Classic, Liberty Union.
Jan. 3, Rock Hill; Jan. 5, Napa Showcase; Jan. 7, at Coal Grove; Jan. 10, South Point; Jan. 17, Chesapeake; Jan. 19, at River Valley; Jan. 21, at Classic in the Country X; Jan. 24 at Rock Hill; Jan. 28, Wheelersburg; Jan. 31, Coal Grove.
Feb. 4, Meigs; Feb. 7, at South Point.
Full schedule not yet available
Nov. 29, at Rock Hill; Dec. 10 at South Point; Dec. 17, Coal Grove; Jan. 3, at Oak Hill; Feb. 4, at Wheelersburg.
Ironton St. Joe
Dec. 3, Fairview; Dec. 5, Notre Dame; Dec. 6, Rose Hill (Ky.); Dec. 13, Ohio Valley Christian School; Dec. 15, River Battle; Dec. 22, at Coal Grove; Dec. 27, at Sciotoville Community.
Jan. 3, Western; Jan. 12, Glenwood; Jan. 14, at Whiteoak; Jan. 16, at Green; Jan. 17, Hannan (Ohio); Jan. 22, at Fairview; Jan. 24 at Rose Hill; Jan. 26, at Manchester; Jan. 28, at Notre Dame; Jan. 30, at Glenwood.
Feb. 4, Scioto Community; Feb. 7, at Hannan.
Nov. 29, Ironton; Dec. 1, Green; Dec. 6, at South Point; Dec. 13, Coal Grove; Dec. 15, Lady Rockets Classic at Wellston; Dec. 17, Wellston; Dec. 20, at Northwest; Dec. 27-29, at Glenwood Winter Tournament.
Jan. 3, at Fairland; Jan. 5, at Sciotoville Community; Jan. 7, at Chesapeake; Jan. 10, at River Valley; Jan. 17, South Point; Jan. 19, Clay; Jan. 21, at Coal Grove; Jan. 24, Fairland; Jan. 26, Glenwood; Jan. 28, at Symmes Valley; Jan. 31, Chesapeake.
Feb. 4, at Notre Dame; Feb. 7, River Valley.
Nov. 26, at Athens; Nov. 29, Lawrence County (Ky.); Dec. 3, Ashland; Dec. 6, Rock Hill; Dec. 10, Ironton; Dec. 13, at Chesapeake; Dec. 15, River Battle; Dec. 17, Gallia Academy; Dec. 21, at Lawrence County.
Jan. 3, Coal Grove; Jan. 10, at Fairland; Jan. 17, at Rock Hill; Jan. 21, Chesapeake; Jan. 24, at Coal Grove; Jan. 28, at Gallia Academy; Jan. 31, at River Valley.
Feb. 2, at Greenup County; Feb. 7, Fairland.
Nov. 26, Scioto Community; Nov. 29, at Clay; Dec. 3, Green; Dec. 6, Eastern; Dec. 10, at Glenwood; Dec. 13, Western; Dec. 15, Lady Rockets Classic at Wellston; Dec. 17, Notre Dame; Dec. 20, Coal Grove; Dec. 22, at Gallia South; Dec. 27, at Chesapeake.
Jan. 5, at Southern; Jan. 10, Clay; Jan. 14, at Green; Jan. 17, at Eastern; Jan. 24, Glenwood; Jan. 26, South Gallia; Jan. 28, Rock Hill; Jan. 31, at Western.
Feb. 2, Manchester; Feb. 7, at Notre Dame.
Nov. 28, Lewis County; Dec. 1, at George Rogers Clark; Dec. 3, at South Point; Dec. 8, Boyd County; Dec. 14, East Carter; Dec. 15, Campbell County at Boyd County Classic; Dec. 15, TBA at Boyd County Classic; Dec. 20, Southwestern at Republic Bank Classic in Lexington; Dec. 21-23, TBA at Republic Bank Classic.
Jan. 5, Magoffin County; Jan. 8, Fairview; Jan. 10, at Ironton; Jan. 11, at Lafayette; Jan 12, at Montgomery County; Jan. 15, Rose Hill; Jan. 17, Greenup County; Jan. 19, at Boyd County; Jan. 21, at Wheelersburg; Jan. 25, at Fairview; Jan. 26, Fairland at Ironton Shootout; Jan. 28, at Raceland.
Feb. 1, at Rose Hill; Feb. 2, Madison Central; Feb. 4, at West Carter; Feb. 7, Fleming County; Feb. 8, at Russell; Feb. 11, Huntington St. Joe; Feb. 15, at East Carter.
Nov. 26, at Johnson Central; Nov. 29, Russell; Dec. 12, at Ashland; Dec. 10, Rose Hill; Dec. 22, at Fleming County.
Jan. 4, Fairview; Jan. 5, Perry County at Ashland Kitten Shootout; Jan. 11, at West Carter; Jan. 14, at East Carter; Jan. 17, at Ironton; Jan. 19, Ashland; Jan. 21, at Rose Hill; Jan. 24, Raceland; Jan. 28, at Sheldon Clark; Jan. 31, at Rowan County.
Feb. 2, East Carter; Feb. 5, at Greenup County; Feb. 8, at Fairview; Feb. 9, West Carter; Feb. 11, Lewis County; Feb. 15, at Magoffin County.
Nov. 26, Elliott County; Dec. 1, Piarist School; Dec. 7, Raceland; Dec. 8, Phelps; Dec. 10, at Greenup County; Dec. 13, Rose Hill; Dec. 17, Rose Hill; Dec. 18, Elliott County; Dec. 19, Phelps; Dec. 27, at Green (Ohio).
Jan. 4, at Boyd County; Jan. 8, at Ashland; Jan. 10, West Carter; Jan. 17, at Rose Hill; Jan. 19, at June Buchanan; Jan. 25, Ashland; Jan. 26, at Piarist School; Jan. 28, Green; Jan. 29, at Raceland.
Feb. 2, June Buchanan; Feb. 8, Boyd County; Feb. 9, at Phelps; Feb. 11, at Elliott County; Feb. 14, at Russell.
Nov. 29, at Boyd County; Dec. 1-6, EKC Tournament; Dec. 8, Menifee County; Dec. 10, Prestonsburg; Dec. 14, at Raceland; Dec. 17, Morgan County; Dec. 18, Bath County; Dec. 21, Lewis County; Dec. 27-29, Lady Colonel Holiday Classic at Bourbon County.
Jan. 2, at Greenup County; Jan. 5, Raceland; Jan. 8, Rowan County; Jan. 12, Bath County; Jan. 18, East Carter; Jan. 21, at Paintsville; Jan. 24, at Elliott County; Jan. 28, at West Carter.
Feb. 1, Greenup County; Feb. 2, at Fleming County; Feb. 6, at Lewis County; Feb. 8, Ashland; Feb. 13, at Lawrence County; Feb. 14, Fairview.