With four returning starters and speed throughout the lineup, Berkshire’s girls’ basketball team has its sights set on winning the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division title.
The Badgers finished 14-10 overall and 10-6 in league play last season.
“I feel pretty confident with how we can do this season,” said third-year head coach James Bosley. “We have a good core group of players returning. We should be able to compete every night.”
While the Badgers return four starters, the team is relatively young with just one senior in Mollee Chapman.
“We have a young team overall,” Bosley said. “Mollee Chapman is our only senior but we have a couple others with experience. Our depth is going to have some road bumps while they learn on the fly. It should be a smooth transition for the most part because of how hard we push each other in practice.”
Chapman, a 5-foot-10 forward, averaged six points and six rebounds per game last season on the way to earning honorable mention All-CVC and All-District honors.
“Mollee has shown so much growth since I took over this program,” Bosley said. “She is one of the leaders of this team. She is one of the hardest workers every single day. She had a great offseason and it showed during volleyball season and now it’s going to be fun to see what she is able to accomplish during basketball season.”
Junior Lydia Kastor led the team in scoring last season with 13 points, three assists and three steals per game. She was named honorable mention All-Ohio as well as second-team All-CVC and second-team All-District.
The 5-foot-7 guard also hit on 31-percent of her 3-point shots and set school records for most 3s in a game and a single season. She enters the season with 93 career 3-pointers.
“Lydia Kastor is a soft-spoken leader of the team,” Bosley said. “She is an extension of our coaching staff on the court and just has a strong knowledge of the game. She is becoming a more complete player this year and going to show she isn’t just a shooter anymore.”
Junior Kylie Neumore and sophomore Maddy Triskett also are returning starters.
Neumore, a 5-foot-9 guard, averaged three points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals per game on the way to earning All-District honors. Triskett, a 5-foot-9, guard/forward, averaged four points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists per game. She earned honorable mention All-CVC and All-District honors.
“Kylie has always been a utility player and just filled in playing multiple positions as we have needed her. This year, she is going to be one of our main guards and she is really going to excel. She has great court vision, can handle the basketball and can shoot the ball. She is going to be a big contributor to our success this season,” Bosley said. “Maddy is our best team player. She always knows what is expected of her and is always ready to rise to any challenge. Her skill set is well-rounded so she is going to be a hard matchup for opposing teams.”
Sophomore Caroline Kuchling, a 5-foot-8 guard, is expected to round out the starting lineup.
“Caroline has been impressive so far this preseason,” Bosley said. “Her defense has really improved from her injury-plagued freshman year. With her healthy, she adds another threat to our offense.”
Juniors Kaylee Polewchak and Faith Aldrige, sophomores Lanie Wadsworth, Brooke Ruchalski and Natalie Hering, and freshman Hayley Stoddard will provide depth for the Badgers.
Polewchak is a 5-foot-9 for4ward while Aldridge is a 5-foot-6 guard.
“Kaylee is coming back from a knee injury last season. She is going to help add depth to the team. She is also going to help stretch the defense when she is in games because she’s able to shoot the ball from the forward spot,” Bosley said. “Faith is a small guard that plays big. She is fun to watch play because she uses all the things our coaching staff tells her at practice. She isn’t afraid to attack the rim and draw fouls. She has embraced a defensive role and likes to really get up and pressure the ball.”
Wadsworth is a 5-foot-9 forward and Ruchalski is a 5-foot-9 guard/forward.
“Lanie was a surprise for us last season. She is a hard worker that earned her way into varsity playing time last year. She isn’t afraid to dive on the floor and plays hard-nosed defense,” Bosley said. “Brooke is a player that is going to help us because she’s going to be able to play multiple positions.”
Hering is a 5-foot-6 guard that also is returning from injury.
“Natalie has always been one of hardest workers,” Bosley said. “She is going to add guard depth this season. She is another girl we have that isn’t afraid to get on the floor and make hustle plays.”
Stoddard is a 5-foot-11 forward with a lot of upside.
“Hayley has shown to be a hard worker because she wants to get on the court,” Bosley said. “She’s willing to do anything our coaching staff asks her to do. She is one of our strongest girls and a very strong rebounder. Sometimes it’s easy to forget she is only a freshman because of the way she plays. She is going to have a big role for us this season.”
Berkshire’s goal starts with winning the league crown and then the Badgers hope to make some noise in the postseason.
Success for the Badgers is going to start on the defensive end of the court.
“Our team goals are always to win our division in the CVC. If we can compete and do that, we will set ourselves up to have a successful season,” Bosley said. “Our defense is always going to be our main key to victory. Everything we do starts with hard work and effort on the defensive end, but we are also going to be more well-rounded on offense this year.”