Area 4A Conference High School Basketball Preview

Cougars Blanca Thomas ranked No. 6 nationally in the Class of 2024. (All Photos by Ron Morris)
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Independence Patriots  

Boys Basketball: 



Coach: Preston Davis 

The Patriots have four returning seniors, but overall they are young, they work hard at practice, and they have athleticism. Coach Davis expects the team to be solid; he believes good things will happen for the Patriots, and the team has good chemistry. They will mature through game experience and preparation. Senior Dyshawn Taylor, Ralph Johnson, and Bryce Brooks are three key players.

Others who are expected to step up to make a contribution are seniors Sabastian Taylor, Jeremiah Palmer, Mekhi Mondesir, Amory Brown, and Kaezon Bryant; Jordan Appling, Tosh Alberga, Jared Taylor, and Kameron Jasper are also players to watch. The coach expects this team to be very competitive this upcoming season in a tough conference. Like all Coach Davis’ teams, they will be disciplined, play with consistency in all aspects of the game, and maintain a positive mental attitude and toughness.

Girl’s Basketball: 

Coach Lauren Galvani

The Lady Patriots are expected to be competitive against conference competition. They play at a fast pace, have some excellent ball handlers, can score from the 3-point range, but are a young team with potential who must play together. It’s a rebuilding year; however, they have high expectations for a winning season. This team has good chemistry, and Galvani challenges the girls to give it their all every day, “Empty Your Bucket.” If they make a mistake, “Gold Fish Brain” – gone in seconds, focus on the next play.

Key players to watch are Kamryn Kitchen, Kaylee Carson, Chloe Moss, and Kaila Ingram.  Other players who are expected to step up are Lily Gorum, Madori Walkup, Tamia Burgess, Jenn Stancil, Lily Todd, Olivia Clark, Lola Cabaniss-Ali, and Makinley Sellers.

Butler Bulldogs:

Boys basketball:

Coach Patrick King 

The team is young, but the season looks bright for the Bulldogs. The coach is extremely impressed with the players’ dedication, tenacity, and toughness. Senior Ty Black, a 20-point per game offensive threat, and Zion McDuffy are expected to make a significant contribution. Black is a combination point and shooting guard. He is the team leader and Captain while McDuffy is a small forward who can play power forward with a strong move to the basket. He is the Co-Captain of the Bulldogs and a hard worker.

Certainly, we will keep a lookout for Butler this season on the hardcourt.

Girl’s Basketball:

Coach Mark Sanders

The Lady Bulldogs are expected to win their fair share of basketball games this upcoming season. The team works hard; they play together, and are a work in progress with some good upside potential. They are young but have some good talent that should keep them very competitive in the conference.

Key players to watch are Kalieah Black, who can play both guard and forward positions. She is expected to lead the team in scoring, and her goal is to average 20.0 points or more per game.  Brooklyn Saunders, a point guard, is expected to make an immediate impact.

Rocky River Ravens

Boys Basketball

Coach Donald Kirby

In his second season at Rocky River, Kirby expects his young team to compete in every game, especially when visiting teams come into the Ravens Nest. They could be exciting to watch; they lost only two seniors from last season and are returning 5 players with game experience. The team’s goal is to win games, contend for the conference championship, and earn a playoff berth. They have speed and quickness, solid chemistry, are athletic, and play good team defense.

Key players to watch are Javeres Green, Jayden Lyles, 6’6″ Center Jahvanni Bratchford, and 6′ 5″ power forward Henry Price. The guard position combination of Green and Lyles will be critical for this team to have success.

Other teams to watch in the Southwestern 4A Conference are the Charlotte Catholic Cougars, Providence Panthers, and Garinger Wildcats. The Cougars in particular with the boys’ team led by Patrick Tivnan, QGHS transfer Joshua Williams, Peter Rossitch, and Vaughn Thomas will make an impact. The Cougars are expected to finish in the top tier of the conference and will seek a playoff berth.

Meanwhile, the Lady Cougars have set very high expectations, and why not, led by one of the best Top 10 players in the country in the Class of 2024, sophomore Blanca Thomas, a 6’5″ shooting guard and center who is surrounded by a solid Lady Cougar team. Blanca can deliver double-doubles in every game, score from inside and outside the paint, and can dominate the boards on both ends of the court. Other key players include Gracynn Gough, Lilly Schachte, Imelda McMenamin, and Alanis Diaz.

Indy Senior Kaila Ingram.
Indy Senior Kaila Ingram.
Indy's Bryce Brooks.
Indy’s Bryce Brooks.
Patriots Dyshawn Taylor.
Patriots Dyshawn Taylor.
Patriots Core 7.
Patriots Core 7.
Bulldogs Ty Black.
Bulldogs Ty Black.
Patriots Kamryn Kitchen.
Patriots Kamryn Kitchen.
Bulldogs Brooklyn Saunders.
Bulldogs Brooklyn Saunders.
Bulldogs Sydney Reynolds.
Bulldogs Sydney Reynolds.
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