FORT WAYNE – The Leo girls basketball team returns its top two scorers from last season – Keanna Gary and Taylor Seiss – and thats reason enough to think the Lions are in good position to contend for the conference title once again.
But coach Carrie Shappells team lost six players to graduation, including Hannah Field and Kayla Woodward, who combined for more than 15 points and eights assists per game.
While we lost an amazing group of seniors, we are looking forward to the future, Shappell said. We have a group of girls returning that are willing to work hard and a group of young kids coming up that will love to win, too. Our goal is to develop new leadership to carry on without the class of 2012.
Gary, a senior, averaged 11.7 points and 10.2 rebounds last season.
Seiss, also a senior, averaged 10.1 points as the Lions went 19-5, including 7-0 in the conference.
The Lions lost 43-35 in overtime to Concordia in the sectional finals. The Cadets went onto win the Class 3A state championship, and Leo was the only team before the title game against Mount Vernon to give the Cadets problems.
Among the Lions players who will have to step up this season to replace the graduation losses are juniors Toby Carman and Tia Lindsey, who combined for less than four points per game last season, along with sophomore Jenna Beer (five points, three rebounds), plus senior Haley Bowers and sophomore Millie Adams.
Garrett, which was 13-7 (6-1 ACAC), lost some talented players in Katie DePew, Jordyn Knott and Laura Moynahan – they combined for 24 points and 15 rebounds per game – but still has a lot of skill this season.
Brandi Dawson, a junior, averaged 15 points and six rebounds last season.
She can take the next step and become the go-to player every night, coach Bob Lapadot said. She is getting a lot of college attention, and she needs to take her game to that level on a consistent basis.
Also, who steps up as our second scorer? It will be a new role for whomever it is.
The Railroaders may look to senior Becca Oliver or junior Katlin Wisel to be that player.
And they will need someone to best Woodlan, which has senior Lauren Ehle (14 points per game), junior Burgundy Price (10.6 points), junior Haley Hostetler (8.5 points) and senior Jaryn Malfait.
The Warriors, who were 13-9 (5-2 ACAC), lost only Katie Knoblauch to graduation.