With the high school basketball season upon us, The Kansas City Star’s girls preview zeroes in on five teams to watch this season.
St. Thomas Aquinas
The Saints bring back several from their Kansas Class 5A championship team. Sereena Weledji, a junior, was first-team All-State in Kansas last season, averaging 12 points and eight rebounds per game. She’ll be looked to for leadership, as well as junior Allison Thomas (a Truman State commit) and sophomore Alayna Townsell (nine points and four rebounds a game last year).
Shawnee Mission Northwest
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SM Northwest returns important pieces from its Kansas Class 6A runner-up squad – Emmalee Rose, Jordann Nachbar, Gena Ojeda and Sarah Petersen lead the charge. Without a de facto best player, the Cougars could have a different leading scorer every night, according to head coach Tyler Stewart.
Will this be the first season since 2012-13 that ends without a Bishop Miege championship in Kansas Class 4A-DI? The Stags have won three state titles in a row, to add to their pile of 19 trophies in school history. The team will look to add to its winning streak, after finishing the season last year undefeated at 25-0.
The Falcons finished fourth in the state last season, and have a new head coach in place – Mike Allen – to try to get to the next step. They return first-team All-Sunflower League forward DejaNae Roebuck, who averaged 11.2 points and 6.5 rebounds last year, as well as MidAmerica Nazarene commit Makayla Gooch, a point guard who averaged 5.2 assists last year.
Although they went 12-10 last season, Lawrence is potentially poised for a turnaround season. They return all five starters, including 6-foot-3 center Chisom Ajekwu, who was just shy of a double-double average last season (10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds a game). Sunflower League first-teamer E’lease Stafford (12.6 points, six rebounds per game) also returns.