By Brad Morris
ASHVILLE — With two of his top three scorers returning, Teays Valley coach Trevor Younkin believes he has a solid base to build on for success this season.
“The key for us is going to be how fast we gel together as a basketball team,” he said. “We had a phenomenal summer together and we have picked up from where we left off in our scrimmages so far.
“We have experience in the post and on the perimeter with Kennedy Younkin and Alyssa Horsley back. I know they have high expectations for us as a team and believe in their teammates. We are going to depend on them to lead the way and mold together with some of our younger kids that we believe in.”
The Vikings expect Younkin, a first-team all-league selection who averaged 10.1 points, nine rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game last year, and Horsley, a second-team all-league pick who tallied 7.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists, to have expanded roles as they enter their junior seasons.
“Alyssa is a universal player who can play point guard, shooting guard and we can also use her inside because she has some good post up moves,” Younkin said. “We’re going to put Alyssa in more spots than we did last year and take advantage of that versatility that she has worked hard on.
“Kennedy is a nice inside presence for us at 6-2. We use her to a lot on defense to deter shots. She’s worked on her outside game, so we can stretch the floor with her. We can use Kennedy in the high post and have her drain a 10-to-15-foot jumper and she can also take the ball to the basket to either score or draw the defense for a kick out shot to one of our three-point shooters.”
The Vikings (17-7, 12-2 in 2021-22) lost much of their backcourt, including Jenna Horsley (Capital) and Ashley DeWeese (Ohio Christian) to graduation.
Younkin will look to 5-5 junior Abby Tier to take over point guard duties.
“Abby got a few minutes at point last year when Ashley was in foul trouble or getting a rest, so she understands the role and what I expect from her,” Younkin said. “She’s going to take care of the basketball and get our offense moving.”
The Vikings would like to use 5-11 sophomore Sydney Manring on the floor some with Younkin to create matchup issues for opponents.
“Sydney is a softball kid, but she also loves taking contact and playing basketball,” Younkin noted. “We don’t want to use her as just a substitution if Kennedy needs a break or gets in foul trouble. We want to use both Sydney and Kennedy on the floor together some to make teams pick their poison, because Syndey can score around the basket and also knock down a jump shot.”
Younkin is hoping creating those different type of matchup issues will open up opportunities for guards like 5-8 junior Gabrielle Watkins and 5-7 sophomore Kayla Cline to knock down shots.
“Gabrielle split time between JV and varsity last year and she is coming off a great summer,” he said. “Gabrielle is a high basketball IQ kid who can see the floor well and can knock down some threes, but she’s also crafty enough to get some putbacks, rebounds and score inside the paint.
“Kayla gives us another threat from the perimeter that we hope to take advantage of, and she can also handle the basketball some. Kayla is working hard on improving defensively.”
Sophomore Chrisma Roberts and freshmen Addie Helwagen and Cooper Mcmanaway will get some minutes coming off the bench.
“Charisma is a solid role player who is a battler and knows what she needs to do for us,” Younkin said. “Addie can help a little bit at the point and she’s a very smart basketball player.
“Cooper is lengthy for being 5-8 and very athletic. She is a wing player who can handle the basketball some, sees the floor and shoot the ball. She can also slash to the basket and score.”
The Vikings finished second in the Mid-State League Buckeye Division and advanced to a district semifinal last year. Younkin would like to see the Vikings build on that this season, which opens Nov. 22 at Logan Elm with a 6 p.m. varsity-only tip.
“We lost some good players to graduation, but we really like our returning starters and the kids who will take on bigger roles or see some minutes for us,” Younkin said. “We got a taste of playing in a district semifinal last year and we want to build on that this season by trying to win what is going to be a pretty solid league and get back to the district tournament.”
No. Player Ht. Gr.
2 Addie Helwagen 5-1 9
3 Charisma Roberts 5-4 10
4 Abby Tier 5-5 11
10 Cooper Mcmanaway 5-7 9
11 Sydney Manring 5-11 10
12 Kayla Cline 5-7 10
21 Kennedy Younkin 6-2 11
23 Alyssa Horsley 5-8 11
31 Gabrielle Watkins 5-8 11
Coach: Trevor Younkin
Assistant coaches: Josh Kellough, Dan Reid, Shayna Hemming and Samantha Rohrbacher