GREENVILLE – The Greenville girls basketball team hopes to finish among the top teams in the Greater Western Ohio Conference this season.
The Lady Wave took a big step forward last season when they compiled a 9-14 record after winning just three games the previous two seasons combined. This year Greenville would like to take another step forward and become one of the best teams in the GWOC’s American North Division.
“We are expecting to win some games this season,” Greenville girls basketball coach Rachel Kerns said. “Last year we won nine and are definitely looking to win more than that. The girls need to know and accept their roles as well as be great teammates to each other. (We are) hoping to do well this season to set us up for the (Ohio High School Athletic Association) tournament so we can a game or two there. We are also hoping to finish in the top two or three in our conference, which would be an improvement from where we have been.”
Setting up the Lady Wave for a strong season is the return of four starters from last year’s roster – Payton Brandenburg, Cassie Cromwell, Morgan Gilbert and Saki Nakamura.
Cromwell, a four-year varsity player, returns for Greenville after leading the Wave with 9.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last year. She’s currently out with a knee injury that forced her to miss the entire volleyball season.
Once Cromwell is cleared to return from her injury, she’ll be a key player for Greenville again this season in the post.
“Once she is cleared we are expecting her to pick up where she left off,” Kerns said. “Cassie did a much better job finishing around the rim last season and was a solid rebounder for us.”
Another senior, Brandenburg, is back for her third year of varsity action and will man the inside along with Cromwell. She does a great job of rebounding and running the floor, Kerns said, and can guard a post or a guard. After averaging 3.9 points a game last year, Greenville will look for Brandenburg to be a bigger offensive threat this season.
Gilbert, a sophomore, will man the point guard role for Greenville. Last year as a freshman she averaged 6.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game for the Wave.
“When she is in control, we are in control,” Kerns said. “She is well respected by her teammates and is always one of the hardest working players in the gym.”
Nakamura, a junior, also is a returning starter at guard. She has a strong first step and finds open seams, Kerns said, which last year allowed her to average 5.0 points and 4.8 rebounds a game.
Junior Lani Shilt also is in position to claim a starting spot this season. Last season she averaged 2.7 points a game and also was one of Greenville’s best defenders.
“Lani can help take some of the pressure off of Morgan by running some of our half-court sets,” Kerns said. “Lani is one of the best passers we have in our program.”
Junior Jada Garland also returns for her second year of varsity action. She averaged 5.9 points a game last season and was the Wave’s leading 3-point shooter, making more than one-third of her attempts.
Other key players coming off the bench will be sophomore guard Haleigh Mayo, sophomore post Annie Hayes and junior post Koryann Elliott.
Kerns sees speed as a strength of this year’s Greenville team so the Lady Wave will look to pick up the tempo more and run the full court.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.