With 8 letter winners back, West Branch is poised for a deep run

The Warriors played at Ravenna in the opener.

West Branch Warriors High School Basketball

2017-18 West Branch Girls’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Walt DeShields
Record: 25-3 (13-1), 1st place in NBC

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

The Good News
West Branch has won the District crown in three of their previous four years (2014, 2015, 2017). The Lady Warriors return three starters (Natalie Zuchowski, Kayla Hovorka, Sarrah Tennefoss). Zuchowski, the team’s 6’3 center, averaged 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as she was named to the First-Team All-NBC. Natalie has signed her Letter-of-Intent to play at Shawnee State University next winter. Hovorka scored 10.5 points and 7.0 rebounds while Tennefoss almost averaged the same amount of points (5.2) as she did boards (4.2). Kayla will move onto Mount Vernon University next year to play basketball. Their senior classmate Shannon Wolfe returns also after averaging 2.4 points and 3.7 rebounds a year ago. Other returning letter winners are senior Kirsten Plocher (0.9 rpg), junior Grace Heather (2.5 ppg) as well as sophomores Hannah Ridgway (3.6 ppg) and Peyton Alazaus (2.4 ppg). Newcomers Elizabeth Ostadali (5’5/JR), Jessica Book (6’1/SO), and Carly Scarpitti (5’6/SO) should have the opportunity to see time on the floor.

With all of the experience returning, the Warriors have lofty goals for themselves. “We will need to stay healthy and get better on the little things every day,” says coach Walt DeShields. “By staying focused on the next opponent will help this team prepare for every battle. We should be a lot of fun to watch.” The defense a year ago, was a staple to their success. “We’ll continue looking for our girls to work hard (on the defensive end),” indicates DeShields. “We want them to be tough on that very important aspect of the game this season.”

West Branch’s girls program is 3-wins shy of reaching 700-wins all-time. Entering the season, the Warriors have won 697 games and lost 291 for a winning percentage of 70.6%.

2017-18 Schedule
Nov. 25 – at Ravenna, 7
Nov. 29 – Canfield, 7:30
Dec. 4 – at Marlington, 7:30
Dec. 6 – at Canton South, 6:30
Dec. 9 – Minerva, 1:30
Dec. 13 – at Salem, 7:30
Dec. 16 – Carrollton, 1:30
Dec. 28 – at Wadsworth vs. Mentor, 7:30
Jan. 3 – at Alliance, 7:30
Jan. 6 – Louisville, 1:30
Jan. 8 – at Garfield, 7:30
Jan. 10 – Canton South, 7:30
Jan. 13 – Marlington, 1:30
Jan. 17 – at Minerva, 7:30
Jan. 20 – Salem, 1:30
Jan. 22 – Fitch, 7:30
Jan. 27 – at Carrollton, 1:30
Jan. 31 – Hathaway Brown, 6:30
Feb. 3 – at Alliance, 1:30
Feb. 7 – at Louisville, 7:30
Feb. 10 – at Fairless, 2:30
Feb. 14 – Lakeview, 7:30

Challenges
West Branch will be without their team captain (point guard) Brenna Rito and four-year letter winner Emma Rankin this season. Rito scored 9.8 points and grabbed 3.1 rebounds as a 1st-Team All-NBC competitor. Rankin started last year and was able to score 6 points per game (5.9)while hauling down 2 caroms a contest (2.2).

2016-17 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 55.9
Scoring Defense: 36.9

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