Saturday, November 27, 2021

Cuyahoga Heights a work in progress

With two returning starters and a host of players who can score, Cuyahoga Heights has plenty of potential this season.

That success, though, hinges on the team’s ability to come together on the defensive side of the ball.

“We have a very young team, no seniors, with lots of potential,” said 17th-year head coach Al Martin. “Offensively, we have a number of girls who can shoot, pass, and handle the ball. Defensively, we are a work in progress.”

Cuyahoga Heights’ progress showed up on Saturday as Heights opened the season with a 50-25 win at Fairview.

Heights scored at will and played stingy defense.

That’s the same recipe Martin has followed in posting a 271-106 record during his tenure at the school.

This season, Heights lacks size but the team will counter with a high basketball IQ and intensity.

“We have an intelligent group of girls who are unselfish and care about each other,” Martin said. “They share the ball willingly. Our shooting should be much improved. Our players are working on learning how to block out and rebound as a team.”

Junior Tess Conroy, a 5-foot-8 wing/post, is back after scoring 14 points per game with 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. She earned first-team All-Chagrin Valley Conference and honorable mention all-district honors.

“Tess is an excellent shooter and has the creativity to attack the basket,” Martin said. “She rebounds the ball well on both ends of the floor.”

Heights’ other returning starter is sophomore Julia Jaenke, a 5-foot-8 post/wing, who averaged 8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.0 steals per game last season on the way to earning second-team All-CVC and honorable mention all-district honors.

“Julia can score from inside and out,” Martin said. “She is a good ball-handler and has great instincts for steals. The experience she gained as a freshman will benefit her greatly this year.”

Rounding out the projected starting lineup are Grace Lasky, Ava Galek, and Reece Frank.

Lasky is a 5-foot-4 junior wing who averaged 1.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. She earned honorable mention all-conference honors. Galek is a 5-foot-7 sophomore point guard and Frank is a 5-foot-4 sophomore wing.

“Grace is a two-year letter winner. She is an excellent defender on and off the ball and a good shooter,” Martin said. “Ava is a talented offensive player. She sees the floor well, handles the ball well, and can score on shots from the perimeter or drives to the basket. Reece is very athletic and competitive. She plays excellent defense and goes after every rebound and loose ball.”

Cuyahoga Heights’ depth will come from three juniors.

Talyssa Moody is a 5-foot-5 wing, Riley Connors is a 5-foot-5 post, and Cienna Harvey is a 5-foot-5 wing.

“Talyssa is an excellent shooter who can also score inside. She sees the floor well and plays unselfishly,” Martin said. “Riley is an aggressive competitor. She rebounds well and knows how to score on the perimeter and in the post. Cienna is an aggressive perimeter defender.”

Cuyahoga Heights is working hard to develop the chemistry it will need to play meaningful basketball games in March.

“We need to shoot well from the perimeter, take care of the ball, and limit scoring in the paint by our opponents,” Martin said.

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

Related Articles

Stay Connected

552FansLike
2,668FollowersFollow
364SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Articles

Independence eyes first conference title in 39 years

With three returning starters, Independence opens the 2021-2022 season with the hopes of winning its first conference title in 39 years.

West Geauga hopes to bounce back

West Geauga hopes to bounce back from the one-win season it endured last winter. To do that, the Wolverines have to grow up in a hurry.

Young Huskies return four starters

Cardinal returns four starters but three are juniors and one is a sophomore, leaving the Huskies relatively young as they open the season.

Balanced Badgers look to overcome inexperience

Berkshire head coach Ryan Dickard hopes his balanced roster will help the Badgers to overcome their inexperience this season.

Senior-laden Longhorns have high ceiling

Lutheran West’s roster includes eight seniors but the Longhorns enter the 2021-22 lacking varsity experience.