BROOKVILLE — With a couple of 19-6 seasons and District 9 Class 3A titles along with one District 5/9 Sub-Regional title and a state playoff win, the Brookville Lady Raiders basketball team looks to continue that trend as era comes to a close this year.
Head coach Mark Powell’s 18th season marks the end of a run for a group of seven seniors that’s been the core of the team’s success since their freshman year.
Expect a focused squad looking to go out on a strong note and improve at least one step from its first-round state playoff win two years ago.
“Any time you have a senior-laden group like this, you’re always looking forward to their senior year, and listen these kids are like family. There’s no denying that,” said Powell, who sports a 220-194 career records. “We want to put them in the best position to be as successful as they can. And they have goals, just as we have goals and fortunately for us, those goals are the same. We want to hang a banner at the end of the year and improve on what we’ve done in the postseason.”
Those seven seniors — Marcy Schindler, Morgan and Madison Johnson, Lauren Hergert, Kira Powell, Brooke Ganoe and Leah Kammerdeiner — accounted for 80 percent of the team’s points last year. They’ll be there again, although with Powell’s return from a knee injury will keep her out for the first month of the season.
Coach Powell hopes to get some key contributions from his underclassmen, but either way, the playing rotation won’t be as deep as in the past few seasons.
“We’ve been very fortunate to be very deep the last few years and that’s why you’d see 11 or 12 kids play along nights for me even in close games,” Powell said. “A theme early on has been conditioning because the rotation we expect to not be five, six or seven coming off the bench. It may be more like three, though, we might go, eight, nine deep.”
Schindler and Morgan Johnson were D9Sports.Com All-District players last year. Schindler was a First Team selection after averaging 12.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.9 blocks per game.
“She’s just a great all-around player,” Powell said. “She’s really worked hard in the offseason on her game to extend her range, so I think you’re going to see offensively more of a diverse game out of her. You’ll still see her with her back to the basket, but you’re going to see her around the perimeter a little bit more as well. I think she’s, she’s poised to have a fantastic senior season.”
Johnson was a Third Team pick after leading the team in scoring (13.4 ppg.) and 3-point shooting (39 at 36.1 pct.) while also averaging 2.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
“Morgan’s responsibilities are going to broaden a little bit, and not so much being just a two guard, but she’s going to be asked at times to run the offense out front which will be a change but something that she’s you know willing to do and I think she’ll do fine,” Powell said.
With Powell out at the start of the season, the Lady Raiders will start sophomore Elizabeth Wonderling most likely at point guard. Wonderling was the leading scorer on the JV team last year and saw some key postseason minutes. She’ll help take the ball-handling load off Morgan and Madison Johnson as well.
“We think very highly of Elizabeth and she will assume probably those point guard duties early on in the season when she’s on the court,” Powell said.
Madison Johnson scored 8.2 points per game along with 2.4 assists and a team-high 2.8 steals.
“We’re going to try to take more advantage of Madison’s speed and aggressiveness out there,” Powell said. “We we’ve moved her around in a couple of the defenses to try to take advantage of that. So I think you’re going to see a you see a great year out of Madison, just like she’s had the last couple seasons, but she’ll be in a couple different spots on the floor than where you’re used to seeing her.”
Hergert averaged 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds and will be a key paint player for the Lady Raiders, considering they’re not as deep at the forward spot this year.
“My excitement level for Lauren is high,” Powell said. “I really think she can really open some eyes in the district this year. We need a little more offense and boards out of her, but I think we’ll get that. I think she’s really excited about what the prospects of her season.”
Kammerdeiner was injured in the team’s season-opener last year, but she’s back and will be a wing player in the playing rotation as will Ganoe.
Powell injured her knee in the Lady Raiders’ state playoff loss to Central Cambria after averaging 4 points per game and sinking 21 3-pointers. She also handled the ball at point guard, so it’ll be a key absence from the lineup.
“She’s practicing now and she’s able to run, but she’s just not able to do the cutting, and a lot of a jumping yet, but we’re slowly working towards it and her goal is to be back on the floor,” Coach Powell said. “She has really been a nice leader and working with Elizabeth and that’s her role. She knows that right now that she’s going to help teach Elizabeth how to do some of the things.”
Powell said that the preseason work he’s seen from sophomore Jordan Cook has been a positive, considering she’d give the team another option inside at the forward spot. Sophomores Alayna Haight and Elisa Molnar will dress varsity and provide depth at the wings as well. Sophomore forward Ella Zimmerman could eventually see action, but will start the season on the injury list as well.
Regardless of the perceived shorter rotation, the style you’ll see from the Lady Raiders won’t change much — aggressive defense leading to a high-paced approach offensively as well.
“I think we’ll find out early on what the rotation looks like and exactly how crazy we can get out there defensively, but I can tell you right now with what we’ve done before what we’re adding to it, I think you’re going to see a more chaotic style of defense,” Powell said. “We want to force tempo.”
While the two home tournament setups and District 9 League schedule remain unchanged, the Lady Raiders have five new teams on the schedule — St. Joe’s Catholic Academy from State College, Homer Center, Saltsburg, West Shamokin and Cranberry — along with Indiana for the second year after adding them last year.
“There’s excitement and anticipation, but at the same time a little bit of unknown because these teams they’ve never played,” Powell said. “The revamped schedule was designed to help us in February and March. We really wanted to challenge these kids with teams we’ve really never seen or haven’t seen in years, and lets us become more challenged.”
Powell’s coaching staff consists of Jim Hill and two of his former players Madison and Kaitlyn Hill.
Seniors: Lauren Hergert, Brooke Ganoe, Madison Johnson, Morgan Johnson, Leah Kammerdeiner, Kira Powell, Marcy Schindler.
Sophomores: Jordan Cook, Alayna Haight, Elisa Molnar, Elizabeth Wonderling, Ella Zimmerman.
Freshmen: Hannah Melton, Kyleigh Nimmo, Reggan Olson.
Host Tip-Off Tournament
6-Clarion-Limestone, 6 p.m.
7-Clearfield or North Clarion, TBA
11-St. Joe’s Cath. Acad. (No JV), 6:30 p.m.
13-at Elk Co. Catholic
Host Christmas Tournament
8-at West Shamokin, 6:15 p.m.
31-Homer Center (varsity only), 6 p.m.
5-Elk Co. Catholic
12-at St. Marys
JV games begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted