By THE HERALD-WHIG
Coach: Lindsay Uhlmeyer (2-20 at Canton, second season).
2011-12 record: 2-20.
Returning starters: G Brittney Berhorst, 5-5, Soph.; F Courtney Baalman, 5-9, Sr.; G Aubrey Durst, 5-5, Sr.; G Lauren Janney, 5-4, Jr.
Other returning letterwinners: G Jessie Campen, 5-7, Sr.; F Mariah Shaffer, 5-9, Jr.: G Bailey Hoewing, 5-4, Soph.; F Jordyn Crenshaw, 5-7, Jr.
New faces: F Allison Phillips, 5-6, Fr.; G Kailee Gaither, 5-6, Fr.; G Allie Carper, 5-5 Soph.
Key losses: G Katie Shuman.
Outlook: Although last year's victory total may not show it, the Lady Tigers steadily improved.
They want to take a couple more steps this season.
Canton isn't blessed with much height but there is some experience back. Baalman (14 points per game) and Berhorst (12 ppg) are the top two returning scorers. The Lady Tigers will be without Janney for much of the season after she suffered a torn labrum in her hip during softball season.
"We're still rebuilding and we will continue to play many young players to give them experience," Uhlmeyer said. "Although we don't have a lot of varsity experience, we have a lot of players who put in a lot of time during the summer to be ready for this season."
Coach: Kelly Campbell (fifth season at Clark County, 12th season overall).
2011-12 record: 15-13 (5-4, third place Clarence Cannon Conference).
Returning starters: G Jenna Huston, 5-3, Jr.; G Brittani Miller, 5-6, Sr.; G Hannah Trump, 5-6, Sr.
Other returning letterwinners: G Mishaylee Cline, 5-5, Jr.; G Tressa Harrison, 5-6, Jr.; G Megan Oilar, Soph.; F Hunter Kirchner, Soph.; F Taylor Carter, 5-7, Sr.; F Kailey Roberts, 5-7, Sr.
New Faces: None listed.
Key losses: Megan Brennan, Jorden Plenge, Lindsey Williams.
Outlook: Clark County will benefit from the return of Roberts, who was out for the season after sustaining an early-season knee injury. Huston is Clark County’s leading returning scorer. She averaged seven points per game last season. Miller will provide the Indians with an inside presence.
“We will miss the scoring and overall game that Megan (Brennan) brought to the floor,” Campbell said. “She was our go-to girl. We hope that Kailey and Taylor (Carter) can step in and fill that scoring as well as rebounding that we will miss from Jorden. Jenna (Huston) will continue to run the point.”
Coach: Ron Greenwell (8-32 at Hannibal, third season).
2011-12 record: 5-15 (1-11, seventh place in the North Central Missouri Conference).
Returning starters: F Melanie Blase, 5-8, Jr.; G Kylee Anderson, 5-6, Jr.; G Theresa Sheffer, 5-3, Sr.
Other returning letterwinners: G Lauren Holliday, 5-3, Jr.; F Paige Utterback, 5-8, Soph.; C Jodeci Washington, 5-9, Jr.
New faces: F Anasia Elder, 5-8, Fr.; G Olivia Strickland, 5-6, Soph.
Key losses: F-C Cassidy Trenhaile, F Krystal Ferguson, G Ashley Stevenson.
Outlook: There is progress being made in Hannibal. A sign of that is the victory total improving the past two seasons.
The team's leading scorer and rebounder returns in Blase, who averaged 9.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game last season. She'll be joined by Anderson, who will figure in as the team's playmaker, and Sheffer, one of the team's better perimeter defenders.
Greenwell also welcomes back a pair of juniors in Holliday and Washington and Utterback, a sophomore who got some playing time as a freshman.
Cutting down on turnovers is a must for the Lady Pirates, who turned the ball over an average of 23 times last season.
"We're looking for better guard play this year to handle pressure and set up offenses," Greenwell said. "We have very hard working girls who are wanting to make the program better and are willing to be coachable to attain their goals."
Coach: Brad Dance (10th season at Highland).
2011-12 record: 17-11 (5-4, fourth place in the Clarence Cannon Conference).
Returning starters: C Taylor Wiseman, 5-11, Sr.; G Ashton Luttrull, 5-8, Sr.
Other returning letterwinners: G Ashlynn Lay, 5-8, Jr.; G Sarah Plant, 5-4, Jr.; F Katelyn Boone, 5-11, Jr.; G Casey Hinkle, 5-4, Soph.
New faces: F Kristen Bringer, 5-7, Jr.; C Sydney Luttrull, 6-1, Soph.; G Morgan Bringer, 5-5, Jr.; G Amber Garner, 5-4 Fr.
Key losses: G Nicole Kraft, F Julie Schultz, F Abbey White.
Outlook: The Cougars are getting a look at the future a little earlier than they would've liked.
Ashton Luttrull, an all-state guard who verbally committed to play at Southeast Missouri State, tore an ACL in her AAU team's final game of the summer. That's forced Dance to seek backcourt help from the underclass ranks.
Sydney Luttrull, Ashton's younger sister, was injured in the preseason and will be sidelined for a while as well.
"We're going to have to handle the ball well and find some scoring from other places," Dance said. "It means other girls will gain some valuable experience."
Wiseman is the only senior on the roster after averaging 6 points and 3 rebounds per game last season. At 5-11, Boone will give Highland some help down low, while Lay, Plant and Hinkle should give the Lady Cougars steady play at guard.
Coach: Ron Lebel (10-15 at Knox County, second season)
2011-12 record: 10-15 (2-8, tied for fifth place in the Tri-Rivers Conference).
Returning starters: G Hannah Strange, 5-8, Sr.; G McKayla Miller, 5-6, Sr.; F Devin Gudehus, 5-10, Sr.
Other returning letterwinners: F Sarah Duley, 5-8, Jr.; G Lauren Dale, 5-8, Soph.; F Taylor Lincoln, 5-7, Jr.
New faces: F Alex Hamlin, 5-8, Soph.; F Amy Gudehus, 5-6, Soph.
Key losses: G Kathleen Hinkle, G Kelsey Cahalan.
Outlook: Since Knox County advanced to the Class 1 softball state tournament, Lebel didn't have a lot of time with his players during the preseason. He's put them to work in the past few weeks, though.
Gudehus, an All-Tri-Rivers Conference performer, will be the go-to player on the offensive end of the floor. Strange and Miller are returning starters at guard and will be responsible for running the team.
Lebel wants to make sure his team accomplishes two things -- take better care of the basketball and play better defense.
"Those are our two points of emphasis. If we can get those two things done, we'll be pretty good," Lebel said. "I'm excited. This team wants to succeed and is working real hard."
Coach: Craig Pedersen (19-30 at Louisiana, third season).
2011-12 record: 4-19 (2-7 Clarence Cannon Conference).
Returning starters: C Jenn Radcliff, 5-10, Sr.; G Caitlin Bolton, 5-3, Jr.; G Morgan Murry, 5-2, Soph.
Other returning letterwinners: None listed.
New faces: G Samantha Pedersen, 5-2, Soph.; F Batrice Blackwell, 5-6, Jr.; F Denise Blackwell, 5-5, Fr.; F Taylor Cunningham, 5-6, Fr.; G Macie Crane, 5-3, Fr.; F Allison Lawson, 5-7, Fr.
Key losses: G Na’Kea Shepherd, G Candance Smith.
Outlook: Louisiana will look to rebound from a first-round exit from districts. Caitlin Bolton is the Lady Bulldogs’ leading returning scorer after averaging 6.6 points per game last season. Radcliff averaged 7.7 rebounds per game and will again be counted on to provide Louisiana with toughness inside.
“We will need to run, create turnovers and play solid defense in order to consistently win, especially with a tough conference and tournament schedule,” Pedersen said. “Districts again will be a challenge with the Silex and Clopton teams being the favorites going into the season.”
Coach: Mike Johnson (257-119 at Marion County, 16th season).
2011-12 record: 30-1.
Returning starters: G Kaelyn Spratt, 5-7, Sr.; F Devan Johnson, 5-7, Jr.
Other returning letterwinners: G Destiny Johnson, 5-3, Jr.; G Victoria Hales, 5-9, Jr.; G Sadie Pollard, 5-3, Soph.
New faces: G/F Danielle Maxwell, 5-9, Soph.; F Roxanne Tobias, 5-8, Soph; F Karley Spratt, 5-9, Sr.
Key losses: G Randi Plunkett, C Jessica Redd, F Rachelle Sharpe.
Outlook: It'll be hard to duplicate the success of the past four years in Philadelphia, Mo.
Four straight trips to the state tournament resulted in four trophies -- two third-places, one second and a state title two years ago. The cupboard isn't completely bare but there are some pieces missing especially after the graduations of two all-staters -- Redd and Plunkett.
Both Kaelyn Spratt and Devan Johnson have a lot of starting experience. They'll be helped by Destiny Johnson, Hales and Pollard as well as Karley Spratt who sat out last season with an injury.
"We will miss our players we graduated but we'll be a good team by the end of the season," Mike Johnson said. "We're excited about the talent we return, plus we have several players who have been waiting for an opportunity to play."
Coach: Alex Brandenburg (first season)
2011-12 record: 3-20 (0-9 Clarence Cannon Conference).
Returning starters: G Maygun Huff, 5-5, Sr.; F Mackenzie Grossmann, 5-9, Jr.; G Alicia Cole, 5-6, Jr.
Other returning letterwinners: F Candace Gatson, 5-8, Sr.; F Kayla Palmer, 5-9, Sr.; F Kyley Barnes, 5-7, Jr.; G Keeley Smashey, 5-0, Soph.; G Chloe Majors, 5-1, Soph.
New Faces: F Michelle Epperson, 5-10, Fr.
Key Losses: G Ashley Keil, F Brittany Bailey.
Outlook: Mark Twain will look to claw its way out of the cellar in the Clarence Cannon Conference under rookie head coach Brandenburg. The Lady Tigers return some size, including Grossman, who is the team’s leading returning scorer at 9.8 points per game.
“We have more size than normal so we will be looking to work the ball inside as much as possible,” Brandenburg said. “I will expect a lot out of our bench since most of our bench players are returners from last year.”
Coach: Cody Leonard (0-0 at Monroe City, first season; 64-68 overall, sixth season).
2011-12 record: 19-8 (7-2, third place in the Clarence Cannon Conference).
Returning starters: G Carly Spalding, 5-6, Sr.; G Olivia Crager, 5-5, Sr.; G Kiette Mundy, 5-5, Sr.; F Kelly Winking, 5-6, Sr.
Other returning letterwinners: F Leah Albus, 5-5, Sr.; F Roberta Burns, 5-6, Sr.
New faces: C Jade Hawkins, Sr.; F Emily Lee, Sr.; G Lizzie Minor, Fr.
Key losses: G Paige O'Bryan, F Kara Bichsel, F Kally Minor, G Madelyn Potterfield.
Outlook: The Lady Panthers seniors have paid their dues the past four years, with several stepping into regular roles on the varsity as freshmen. They hope to cap off their careers in a memorable way this season.
The team will be led by Spalding, a four-year starter. The point guard last season, Spalding scored 10 points per game. She'll be joined by a trio of three-year varsity players in Crager, Mundy and Winking.
Monroe City will have one of the strongest perimeter attacks in the area but won't have much height to go with it.
"We want consistency on both ends of the court," Leonard said. "We want to move the ball quickly, play unselfish basketball and help our teammates get the best shot."
Coach: Joshlin Yoder (11-16 at North Shelby, second season).
2011-12 record: 11-16 (2-8, tied for fifth place in the Tri-Rivers Conference).
Returning starters: F Elizabeth Linberger, 5-8, Sr.; G Ashton Reitz, 5-3, Sr.; G Brianna Cochenour, 5-6, Jr.; F Ashley Bichsel, 5-8, Jr.
Other returning letterwinners: G Mercedes Nute, 5-5, Jr.; F Whitney Otto, 5-8, Sr.; G Savanna Presson, 5-4, Soph.
New faces: F Bridgett Gibbons, 5-6, Jr.; G Kaitlyn Mersman, 5-5, Fr.; G Amber Miles, 5-3, Fr.
Key losses: G Rachel Echternacht, G Leah Gaines.
Outlook: Although the Lady Raiders finished below .500, they made some progress during the second half of last season. Several of those contributors are back.
Four starters return, led by Linberger who averaged 10.9 points and 7.2 rebounds to lead the team. She'll be joined down low by Bichsel, while Reitz and Cochenour will give the perimeter game some experience.
Both Linberger and Reitz are three-year varsity starters.
"To be successful, we will have to take care of the ball, play good pressure defense and look to our strength which is our inside game," Yoder said. "Although we won't be extremely deep, we will look to get up and down the floor."
Coach: Chris Parsons (0-0 at Palmyra, first season; 99-76 overall, eighth season).
2011-12 record: 19-8 (8-1, first place in the Clarence Cannon Conference).
Returning starters: G Alexis Van Nostrand, Sr.; G Evie Miles, Sr.; G Katee Hinkle, Jr.; G Allie Dietrich, Jr.; G Alexis Losson, Jr.
Other returning letterwinners: F Emily Bross, Jr.; F Haylee Nix, Jr.; G Brianne Caldwell, Sr.; G/F Madison Ragar, Jr.
New faces: F Megan Hooper, Sr.
Key losses: F Katie Serbin.
Outlook: There may not be a more experienced team in the area than the Lady Panthers.
Only the coach is different.
Parsons arrives from Sedalia Smith-Cotton to take over the reins from Brian Wosman, who stepped away to concentrate on his athletic director duties.
Although Serbin, the team's leading scorer, graduated, five players are back who started the majority of last year's games. Hinkle is the team's top returning scorer with 9 points per game. The team will be guard oriented and are excited to welcome back Hooper, who missed last season with an injury after starting most of her sophomore year.
Parsons is excited with what he sees.
"We will look to be up tempo, but with the scorers we have we'll be able to adjust," Parsons said. "We feel we can go to anyone on our roster and not skip a beat."
Coach: Ashley Agee (first season)
2011-12 record: 7-19 (1-8, Clarence Cannon Conference).
Returning starters: G Erica Milner, 5-2, Sr.; G Kellie Harvey, 5-5, Sr.; F Cassidy Johnston, 5-10, Jr.; F Hayley Carroll, 5-6, Jr.
Other returning letterwinners: G Aimee Ellyson, 5-4, Jr.; G Jessi Mae Baker, 5-3, Soph.; G Kaytlyn Chinn, 5-1, Soph.
New Faces: None listed.
Key Losses: F Jade Berry.
Outlook: The Lady Birds, with four returning starters mixed in with some returning reserve players, might be in position to move up in the Clarence Cannon Conference standings. South Shelby will be led by Johnston, who is the Cardinals leading returning scorer (13.8 points per game) and rebounder (7.8 per game). Returning starters Milner, Harvey and Carroll also will be counted on to contribute.
“The key for us this year to have a winning season is doing the little things right,” Agee said. “We need to rebound, make free throws and most of all hustle.”