Prep basketball preview: Sheets girls hope to improve; Westchester boys look promising

The Sheets Memorial Christian School girls nearly went .500 last season, with a very young team.

Head coach Ruth Voorhis hopes, with the bulk of her roster back, the Eagles can make a run in the playoffs this season.

“I love the spirit on this team,” Voorhis said. “There is so much unselfishness and a sense of teamwork.

“They hustle, they pass, they rebound.”

Seniors Natalie Wilson and Capria McRorie were solid contributors last season, and junior point guard Sarah Gainey and sophomore center Laura Blinson are solid team leaders.

But Voorhis is very clear about the team’s highest priority. “Our goal above all is to bring honor to the name of Jesus Christ,” she said.

Sheets boys

The Sheets boys lost a pair of solid guards, but will try to make up for that with experience in the post. Stephen Egelnick is a senior center who, along with senior forward Cody Myers, has contributed for the Eagles for several years.

Tanner McGee is back and will play a much bigger role in the backcourt, and new junior guard Brett Johnson has been impressive in the early going.

Westchester girls

The Westchester Country Day girls went 11-12 last season under coach Kat Lyons, and finished second in the Triad Athletic Conference. The Wildcats made their first trip to the NCISAA 2-A state tournament in five years, so Lyons believes they are headed in the right direction.

Westchester only has seven players, but they all gained varsity experience last season. That group is led by senior Meghan Ingram, who was an all-conference player last season.

Claire Councill, Leigh Tyson, Anna Hood and Terra Johns should also figure into the rotation, along with German exchange student Lea Rasenberger.

Lyons believes, with the right amount of effort, the Wildcats can be successful. “Our goal is to again finish in the top three in our conference,” she said. “And to be the hardest playing team in the conference.”

Westchester boys

One year after losing Deuce Bello and Quincy Miller to Baylor, the Wildcats slipped to a 15-15 record. They won the TAC championship, but lost in the first round of the state tournament.

Sadeeq Bello, Deuce’s little brother, will start at the point guard spot after a tremendous sophomore season. He led the Wildcats in assists and steals last year, and is being recruited by several Division I schools. Josh Burton is a 6-2 combo guard who averaged 19 points per game last season, and Justice Cuthbertson is a 6-3 junior combo guard who is being recruited by several D-I schools. Bruno Beca is a 6-9 post player also getting some college looks.

Union Grove girls

David Gilmore’s Patriots struggled to a 3-18 season a year ago, and hope to turn things around this year.

Senior Rachael Tullock, who led the team in scoring last year, will shift to point guard to replace the graduated Lara Beaver. Kristie Maness will be a key contributor in the post. She and Tullock will be counted on heavily to provide leadership.

“Obviously, one of our goals this year is to improve on last year’s record,” Gilmore said. “We want to improve every game. We want to be playing at the end of the season when others are just watching.”

Union Grove boys

The Patriots were plagued by injuries last season, and limped to a 2-18 record. Coach Addison Calley certainly hopes to improve on that this season.

Jordan Barkley, a senior who missed all of last season with a fractured vertebrae, is back to full strength and the Patriots will rely on him heavily.

Eric Salernitano led the team in scoring last year as a sophomore, and Tyler Sellers, Matthew Mauk and Ronnie Bassett should provide help in the paint.

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or