With three returning starters and five others with varsity experience, the Edgewood girls’ basketball team is eager to compete this winter.
Fourth-year head coach Randy Vencill is confident his team has the talent and experience to build off last season’s 7-13 record.
“I am very excited about this season,” Vencill said. “The girls have worked hard all summer and I believe we will compete in most of the games on our schedule. We have a ton of athleticism this year and I hope that we will be able to push the ball on offense to get easy buckets.”
What Edgewood lacks is experienced depth but his younger players are talented, they just need to gain experience.
“We have a lot of young raw talent that will need to be fine-tuned and that will grow as they mature throughout the season,” Vencill said.
Edgewood’s returning starters include Kaci Kanicki, Johanna Annick, and McKenna Vencill.
Kanicki is a 5-foot-8 junior shooting guard who averaged 13 points, six rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and two assists per game last season. She was named first-team All-Chagrin Valley Conference and first-team All-Ashtabula County.
“Kaci is one of the best players in the area and can compete at any level I feel,” Coach Vencill said. “She is a leader on and off the court and I can’t wait to see what she can accomplish this year.”
Annick is a 5-foot-10 junior power forward. She averaged four points, eight rebounds, and two assists per game last winter.
“Jo is a very versatile player who has worked hard on her game all summer long,” Coach Vencill said. “She had a great sophomore season and has matured into a team leader who we look to have a big impact for us this year.”
McKenna Vencill is a 5-foot-3 sophomore shooting guard. She averaged three points, six rebounds, and two steals per game as a freshman.
“McKenna matured quickly last year and became one of our mainstays on defense,” Coach Vencill said. “Her will to want to win and to go for loose balls is unmatched. She is a great shooter and we look for her to help us do that this year.”
Senior Maddie Bailes, a 5-foot-6 small forward, earned a starting job last season but was injured in the first game of the year.
“I’m happy to see Maddie back this year,” Coach Vencill said. “We lost her the very first game last year so her senior leadership will help us tremendously. She is a great athlete who sees the court and gives 110-percent.”
Sophomore Katie McCollister, a 5-foot-2 point guard, rounds out Edgewood’s starting lineup.
“Katie is new to the team this year and has worked hard all summer on improving her game,” Vencill said. “She is a great ball-handler and defender and will be our floor general this year.”
Providing Edgewood with depth are seniors Maria Ciesicki and Claire Randolph, juniors Tori Skaruppa, Giavanna Victor, and Brianna Melaragno, and freshmen Avery Vencill and Kylie Miller.
Ciesicki is a 5-foot-10 center while Randolph is a 5-foot-1 point guard.
“Maria has been one of our senior leaders all summer putting in extra work to prepare for the season. We will look for Maria to control the middle on defense and be a rebounding presence,” Coach Vencill said. “Claire is one of the hardest workers on the team. She is a top-notch defender who could shut down any opponent.”
Skaruppa is a 5-foot-9 power forward, Victor is a 5-foot-6 shooting guard, and Melaragno is a 5-foot-2 shooting guard.
“Tori is a hard worker on the boards and on defense. She is our honey badger that does all the dirty work that others don’t,” Coach Vencill said. “Giavanna has worked hard on her game all summer and is one of our most dedicated girls. She has improved tremendously we are looking for big things from her this season. Bri is a shutdown defender and gives 110-percent. She is one of our best defenders and we’re looking for her to help us shut teams down this year.”
Vencill is a 5-foot-1 point guard and Miller is a 5-foot-2 shooting guard.
“Avery is a great ball-handler and shooter who we expect to contribute and help with ball-handling duties and scoring,” Coach Vencill said. “Kylie is one of our most athletic girls. She can handle and shoot the ball and get after it on defense. We will look for Kylie to give us some minutes this year.”
Edgewood’s talent level is on par with most of the teams in the Chagrin Valley Conference and with some seasoning, the younger players on the team should help position the Warriors to add to their win total from last season.
“Our team goals would be to compete in every game and I would say .500 would be the ultimate goal for our team,” Coach Vencill said. “(Keys to victory are) definitely defense and taking care of the ball for us. We have to handle the ball and make good decisions.”