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Prep hoop campaign under way

December 06, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

As the 2005-06 prep basketball season unfolds, fans in the Tri-State area will see a substantial amount of individual talent meshed within team concepts.

Some Pennsylvania and area private schools are off to an early start, but the remaining Keystone and Washington County schools open play this week. West Virginia schools will gradually take off the lid this week, heading to a full slate next weekend.

So, who comes to the forefront among the boys and girls teams?

On the boys side, the Top Cat is at Jefferson, where 2005 Herald-Mail Player of the Year Josh Brown returns to lead the Cougars in an encore of last year's state-tournament season.

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Brown, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, averaged nearly 20 points a game with six rebounds, six assists and five steals last season. He is a leading candidate to repeat as the area's top player, but there are others - including one from the Cougars.

Sophomore Vance Hosby could be an intimidating 6-4 presence for Jefferson.

Martinsburg will have two players ready for prime time in 6-3 senior forward Andre Hornes and 6-0 junior guard Q'Monte Matheny. Hornes was an All-Area selection last year, averaging 16 points a game.

Other top big men include 6-7 seniors Gene Johnson of St. Maria Goretti and Alex Tyler of Mercersburg Academy. Johnson was an All-Area choice off his 13-point, seven-rebound average last year for the Gaels. There's James Buchanan's Shane Rife, a 6-6 junior forward bringing back a 13.4 scoring and nine-rebound average for the Rockets, while Waynesboro's Kevin Kline, a 6-3 junior forward, returns after averaging 15 points a game last year.

The smaller guys can play big, too.

Chambersburg's Jonathan Motichka, a three-year varsity veteran, has finally reached senior status with his 13-point average as the Trojans compete in the rugged Mid-Penn Commonwealth.

Watch for Greencastle's Jaren Gembe, a 5-11 junior guard that came close to a 16-point average last year. Also in the mix are versatile North Hagerstown 6-2 junior Dee Mency, who can play out front or post down low, and Cumberland Valley Christian's 6-2 senior forward Jordan McBeth, who averaged 17 points last year.

Hosby, Matheny and Motichka were Herald-Mail Second Team selections.

There is no shortage of talent on the girls' side.

The top two players could conceivably play on the same team, which could mean good things for Hedgesville.

Seniors Miranda Reed and Samantha Guell, a pair of Herald-Mail First Team selections, return for the Eagles, who reached the West Virginia Class AAA quarterfinals last year. Reed, a 5-5 guard, brings back 14.8 points, six assists and three steals per game, while Guell, a 6-0 forward, averaged 13 points and eight rebounds.

Alicia Myers, a 5-5 senior guard who was another first-team choice, returns at James Buchanan after setting the school's single-game scoring record with 47 points. She averaged 18 points a game. Watch for Waynesboro's Kris Root, a 6-0 senior center, and Chambersburg's Allie Rife, a 5-9 junior guard.

In the paint, North Hagerstown's Cara Thompson, a 6-2 junior forward, and Martinsburg's LaToya Buckner, a 6-1 senior forward, top the class. Hancock presents 5-11 senior center Jennifer Willison as its main ingredient. Thompson and Willison were named to the H-M second team last year.

In the frontcourt, Boonsboro's Jerica Hewett, a 5-6 junior; South Hagerstown's Sadie Williams, a 5-9 senior; Smithsburg's Teonna Jewell, a 5-5 senior; and Berkeley Springs' Emily McCoy lead the returnees at guard. McCoy and Hewett garnered second-team honors.

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