Top two scorers return for Cougars team that advanced to regional final.
SPRINGFIELD — Last year was Kenton Ridge’s best this decade. The Cougars went 26-2, won the CBC Kenton Trail, and won a district title after losing in the districts the previous four seasons.
The Cougars hope to match or better last year’s success, starting with their season opener tonight against Southeastern.
Kenton Ridge returns its top two scorers in Sydney Bates and Baylee Bennett. Bates, a 5-9 junior guard, led the Cougars with 15.6 points per game last year. Bennett averaged 13.3 points and four assists per game.
Bates and Bennett aren’t the only talented returning guards for the Cougars. Aiana Wilson (5-6 senior) also returns. Wilson averaged 4.8 points per game last season. She scored in double figures in four games. Desiree Jones, a 5-4 freshman, will give the Cougars more depth in the backcourt.
Jamari McDavid returns to anchor the Cougars in the post. McDavid, a 5-10 sophomore center, led the Cougars with eight rebounds per game and also scored 9.5 points per game. Julie Rogan (5-11 sophomore) will aid McDavid inside.
Just like last season, the Cougars don’t have much on the bench. Kenton Ridge has only 8 players on its varsity roster.
Tecumseh returns its top scorers from last season as well. Lindsey Nartker (5-11 junior forward) led Tecumseh with 20.5 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. Danielle Franklin (5-7 junior guard) also returns. Franklin averaged 17 points and six assists per game last season.
Ten players to watch
Sydney Bates, 5-9 Jr. G, Kenton Ridge. Bates was a first team selection in the Southwest District last season. She led the Cougars with 15.6 points per game and shot 35 percent from three-point range last year.
Baylee Bennett, 5-6 Sr. G, Kenton Ridge. Bennett was first team All-CBC Kenton last year. She scored over 16 points in four of Kenton Ridge’s six tournament games last year. She averaged 13.3 points and four assists per game.
Korynne Berner, 5-11 Jr. F, Northwestern. Berner was first team All-CBC Mad River as a sophomore for good reason. She averaged 12.2 points and six rebounds per game.
Taylor Burson, 6-0 Sr. F, Greenon. Burson averaged 10 points and led the CBC 11 rebounds per game last year. She scored 15 points in two of Greenon’s last three games.
Danielle Franklin, 5-7 Jr. G, Tecumseh. Franklin was first team All-CBC Kenton last year. She averaged 17 points and 5.9 assists per game. She scored a season-high 23 points in a tournament win over Miamisburg.
Jamari McDavid, 5-10 So. C, Kenton Ridge. McDavid led the Cougars with eight rebounds per game. She averaged 9.5 points per game. She scored 19 points in a key conference win over Tippecanoe last February.
Lindsey Nartker, 5-11 Jr. F, Tecumseh. Nartker led the CBC with 20.5 points per game last year and was fourth in the conference in rebounding (8.9 RPG). She was a first team All-CBC Kenton selection.
Katelyn Partlow, 5-8 Jr. F, Northwestern. Partlow led Northwestern with seven rebounds per game and scored 10.7 points per game. She had a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Urbana last January.
Lexie Perry, 5-4 Jr. G, Southeastern. Perry averaged 13.1 points and 3.2 assists per game for the Trojans. She was first team All-OHC last year.
Brittany Ruhe, 5-10 Sr. C, Northeastern. Ruhe led the Jets with 8.5 rebounds per game and averaged double digit points last year.
Three teams to watch
Kenton Ridge: Lack of depth wasn’t much of a problem last year for the Cougars and may not be much of a problem this year. Kenton Ridge returns three starters and its top bench player from last season’s 26-2 squad. The addition of freshman guard Desiree Jones will give the Cougars another scoring option.
Tecumseh: The Arrows return two of the CBC’s top three scorers from last season in Nartker and Franklin. Most of last season’s supporting cast returns too.
Southeastern: The Trojans lose only one senior from last year’s 18-5 team that lost in four overtimes in a sectional final game. Southeastern loses only one player from last year’s squad.