Kirtland returns just two starters from last year but the Hornets have four seniors in their projected starting lineup and a boatload of potential heading into the 2021-2022 season.
“The potential is there,” said third-year head coach Brittany Zele. “The deciding factor is what we do with that potential. Our basketball IQ is high, endurance and consistency continue to build, and the fire is there. We have eight girls that can start any game and all that can score in double-digits any night. The JV team also has a few girls that will be dressing varsity that will hopefully get more playing time. It will be a fun year of competing.”
Zele is 31-9 in her first three seasons at Kirtland.
Last winter, the Hornets finished 12-4 overall and 5-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division in a COVID-shortened season.
With another year in Zele’s system, Kirtland’s roster is even better prepared to face its competition this winter.
The Hornets will rely on a tried and true method to find success and a more potent offense only adds to the team’s potential.
“We are going to use our endurance and defense to try and create transition points, especially in the second half of games,” Zele said. “We are a read and react team which makes our offense fun to play and watch.”
In addition to Kirtland’s returning starters and varsity players, the Hornets added even more firepower when senior Alex Rosson transferred back to her home school from Cornerstone Christian Academy.
Rosson, who recently committed to Mount Union, earned honorable mention All-Ohio honors last winter and is among Northeast Ohio’s top 3-point shooters.
A 5-foot-4 point guard/shooting guard, Rosson averaged 10.5 points and five assists per game last season.
“It isn’t easy transitioning into a new program your senior year, but Alex has done so flawlessly,” Zele said. “Her shooting range and ability to create off the dribble is fun to watch and will benefit the team with our offense. She plays extremely well with the other girls to the point you would think they had been teammates for years. Alex is a great addition to Kirtland.”
The rest of Kirtland’s starting lineup features three seniors and a junior, all who have gained valuable experience over the course of their careers.
Senior Reilly Greenlee, a 5-foot-6 point guard, is a returning starter. She averaged 11.5 points, four rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 107 deflections last winter on the way to earning special mention All-Ohio and first-team All-CVC and all-district honors.
“Reilly is the heart of our team and a true embodiment of what a successful multi-sport athlete should look like,” Zele said. “She can play every position successfully, which will cause other teams some trouble. Defensively, she is all over the court. She is just a fun player to watch and coach.”
Senior Macy McIntosh also returns to the starting lineup.
McIntosh, a 5-foot-5 post/guard, averaged 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 3.2 steals per game last season as a junior. She shot 41-percent from the floor and blocked 12 shots with 52 deflections.
She was named first-team All-CVC and honorable mention all-district.
“Macy is secretly a 6-foot-3 basketball player in a 5-foot-5 body,” Zele said. “She is by far one of the strongest basketball players I have coached. She leads our team in rebounding and fights for every rebound. I am excited to see her on offense again this year because of how much she improved last season on her outside shot and her finishes at the rim.”
Senior Amalie Getting (5-foot-4) returns at shooting guard after seeing some spot starts last season.
Getting averaged 3.7 points per game last season with 15 3-pointers. She also recorded the highest free-throw percentage on the team.
“Amalie is the definition of silent but deadly,” Zele said. “She has always been able to come into a game and hit a crucial shot when needed. Amalie has developed her attacking skills in the offseason and I am excited to see what she brings to the table this year.”
Junior Corinne Greenlee, a 5-foot-5 point guard, rounds out the projected starting lineup.
She averaged 4.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 3.6 steals per game. She also deflected 95 passes.
“Corinne is a natural basketball player and point guard,” Zele said. “She likes driving to the hoop and creating for her teammates. She is also a great defender that will take on the challenges of guarding team’s best players.”
While the Hornets pack a lot of talent and experience into their starting lineup, they do lack the size of some of the top teams in the area.
But, help is on the way as freshman Emily Ridgeway will see plenty of varsity action.
The 6-foot post/guard has the ability to play in the paint and hit the outside shot, which should create matchup problems for opposing defenses.
“Emily has been one of the girls on my radar since I met her in seventh grade,” Zele said. “She works hard and puts in extra time to craft her skill. If you go on vacation and create a makeshift basketball hoop to get your shots in, you are alright in my book. She is a player to keep an eye on in the upcoming years.”
Junior post/guard Marissa Carmosino and sophomore post Brynn Bradac also provide the Hornets with more length and will see their fair share of action.
Carmosino averaged 3.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game last season.
“Marissa is an agile athlete that loves getting to the rim,” Zele said. “She is a competitor and has been one of the most improved players in a short amount of time. She will be valuable in the post and on the perimeter since she is another one of our combo players.”
Bradac (5-foot-8) played in seven varsity games as a freshman.
“Brynn continues to find and utilize her strength down in the post,” Zele said. “She catches on quickly to plays and can help her teammates. Most importantly, she is coachable. I am looking forward to seeing her develop even more this season.”
Kirtland enters the 2021-2022 with plenty of promise but the Hornets do have limitations and challenges they’ll have to overcome to reach their goals this season.
“We are low on numbers again which can hurt us if we get in foul trouble,” Zele said. “We are also smaller than most teams but bringing up Emily Ridgeway who is 6-foot and growing will definitely help us and give Macy McIntosh more freedom to play the perimeter. We have struggled with scoring consistently, but we believe the aggressive nature of the program will, hopefully, continue to make up the difference.”
Click here to watch Kirtland’s CVC Media Day interview.