Shelbyville head coach Becca Hoefler and the Golden Bears are currently hosting a summer league at SHS on Wednesday nights. The league is balanced with small and large schools, giving teams a variety of competition as they grind to improve over the offseason.
In addition to the Golden Bears, Waldron and Morristown are also competing in the league. Below are notes and observations from league play this week. Keep in mind, it is extremely early to get a real gauge on players and teams at this point in the summer. Nonetheless, it was great to be back in a gym for a competitive night of hoops.
Notes and observations from Wednesday night:
Minus 2021 senior guard Megan Eads, Hoefler returns every piece from last season’s 8-15 team. Seniors Madison Phares, Madison Bassett and Jaidyn Tackett and junior Kylee Edwards all return with starting experience.
Phares, a forward, looked more comfortable handling the ball Wednesday, even against smaller guards. Her ability to pass from the high-post area is extremely valuable for SHS. Phares is also playing high-level travel ball with Indiana Flight during the offseason.
Sophomore Abigail Brenner is another player who stood out on Wednesday. She is a strong guard who is capable of getting to the basket and finishing against taller players.
And, of course, Edwards, who led SHS in scoring last season at 17.6 points per game, can still put the ball in the basket. It seems like she is more athletic every time I see her. She is gearing up for what could be a monster junior season.
The Mohawks will be deep. That is the first thing I noticed Wednesday night when Waldron played Morristown. WHS head coach Anthony Thomas should have about 8-10 girls he can play at any given time.
It was clear the Mohawks will need some time to adjust without 2021 senior point guard Lauryn Thomas – a four-years starter. But that was expected. Seniors Megan Bogemann, Nichole Garner, Bella Larrison and Hadlie Ross are returning starters and are more than capable of reaching double figures.
Junior Josee Larrison and senior Cheyenne Lozier stood out on Wednesday. Lozier can really shoot the ball, while J. Larrison has a nice overall feel for the game.
Last season, Waldron was 18-4 and ranked as high as No. 2 in Class A. With the amount of talent they have returning, it would not be surprising to see the Mohawks win 20 games during the 2021-22 season. They could even start the season as the top-ranked team in their class.
Morristown will look very different this upcoming season. Guards Rylee Kleine and Emma Theobald (2021 seniors) are gone, but head coach Rachel Kleine has pieces – although some are young and inexperienced – to work with. How fast can the Yellow Jackets develop?
Junior point guard Raegan Kleine and senior wing Gracie Laster return to lead the team. They combined to score approximately 16 ppg last season. Both players are extremely capable of driving to the basket and knocking down free throws, which puts pressure on opposing defenses.
Senior Delaney Cornn, junior Maggie Lutes, junior Emma Spahr and sophomore Alexia Rogers also return with varsity experience.
The freshmen at Morristown showed some promise Wednesday in the game I saw against Waldron. They have quickness and length and will give the program depth as Coach Kleine develops her new varsity rotation.
The Yellow Jackets were 11-10 during the 2020-21 season.