Class 3A Western Slope League at a Glance
Class 3A Western Slope League at a Glance
Coach: Jeremy Haack (5th year)
2009-10: 8-15 (4-12), lost to Pagosa Springs 45-34 in the first round of state playoffs.
Key players: Bailey Everhart, Jr., F; Jonelle Berklund, Jr.; Anna Stevens, Soph., PG
Outlook: The Skiers needed a double-overtime victory in the district tournament fifth-place game to reach the 3A state playoffs, and that momentum could carry over into this season. Haack said this group is the most athletic he’s had as a coach in Aspen.
Coach: Lauren Redfern (1st year)
2009-10: 7-14 (7-9)
Key players: Jamie Natherly, Sr., PG; Julia Kaputska, Sr., F; Nancy Hernandez, Sr., G; Stephanie Alvarado, Sr., F; Ginevra Moore, Jr., G
Outlook: Redfern returns to her alma mater after a year as an assistant at Basalt and four years playing at Fort Lewis. She wants to bring the program back to the level it was when she played. She’s confident that can happen, and said the Longhorns’ aggressive style of play on both ends of the floor will contribute to that.
Coach: Allen Golden (1st year)
2009-10: 9-13 (8-8), lost to Aspen 40-38 in district tournament.
Key players: Amber Farr, Sr., G; Leah Burnett, Sr., G; Crystal Pettay, Sr., F; Brenna Otta, Sr., F; Jennifer Badding, Sr., F
Outlook: Pettay, at 5-foot-11, will be the primary post player on a team that will rely on its full-court style of play. Golden said his squad will improve as the season progresses.
Coach: Rick Schmitz (4th year)
2009-10: 13-13 (10-6), lost to Brush 40-24 in the Class 3A state tournament consolation semifinals.
Key players: Ashley Bowlies, Sr., G; Chasity Gonzalez, Sr., G; Carly Cloninger, Sr., F; Melissa Starbuck, Sr., G; Kayla Reece, Sr., F
Outlook: Schmitz’s teams have focused on defensive intensity as a key to their success, and this year will be no different. The Titans graduated five seniors, but Schmitz said there’s potential for his team to finish near the top of the league standings again.
Coach: Mike Johnson (12th year)
2009-10: 18-5 (13-3), lost to St. Mary’s Academy 38-28 in the first round of state playoffs.
Key players: Shawnee Young, Sr., PG; Amelia Sudick, Sr., G; Jessica Bell, Sr., F; Brandi Krieg, Sr., G
Outlook: Young returns as an all-league, three-year starter for the Cardinals, who have reached the postseason eight of the past nine years and every year since moving up to 3A three years ago. Johnson said early injuries have taken a toll, but the Cardinals have a group of underclassmen who could contribute right away.
Coach: Kevin Mickelson (5th year)
2009-10: 8-15 (4-12)
Key players: Kjirsten Nelson, Sr., G; Alexa Tutor, Sr., G; Alyssa Nelson, Soph., G/F; Hannah Hicks, Jr., F; Brooke Stephens, Soph., F; Sara Coblentz, Jr., G
Outlook: Gunnison has the tallest team in the league. Four of the five returning starters are 5-11 or taller, including 6-foot all-league guard Kjirsten Nelson and 6-1 sophomore Brooke Stephens. Mickelson said the league is tough but wide open, and a tough nonleague schedule will do nothing but help his team come January. Kjirsten Nelson, a first-team all-league selection, averaged 15 points per game last season and Alyssa Nelson 12.
Coach: Josh Kasper (2nd year)
2009-10: 13-10 (11-5), lost to Valley 62-59 in the first round of state playoffs.
Key players: Erin Jones, Jr., PG; Chelsea Hotchkiss, Jr., F; Brandy Dutton, Jr., F; Adley Hanson, Sr., F; Alexis Westergren, Soph., F; Natalie Anderson, Fr., PG
Outlook: The Bulldogs have bought into a new up-tempo style of play. They lost seven seniors to graduation last season, but Kasper said the new scheme suits this year’s smaller lineup better. It won’t be until after nonleague play, he said, that his team will have an idea on how successful it can be.
Coach: Paul Althaus (8th year)
2009-10: 25-2 (16-0), lost to Pagosa Springs 41-30 in state tournament third-place game.
Key players: Emily Brummitt, Sr., F; 5-9 Morgan Stansberry, Sr., F; Kylie Tait, Jr., G, Tawni Middleton, Jr., PG; Andrea Kinterknecht, Sr., G/F; Bethany Cox, 5-9, Jr., F.
Outlook: The Pirates have nearly everyone back from a team that was undefeated headed into the 3A semifinals, and will settle for nothing less than a state title this season. Montrose, Fruita, Grand Junction and Delta are among the teams on Olathe’s nonleague schedule.
Coach: Stephanie Heald (3rd year)
2009-10: 19-5 (14-0 4A WSL), lost to Cheyenne Mountain 64-54 in second round of 4A state playoffs.
Key players: Courtney Cordova, Sr., G; Makayla Wilkins, Sr., PG; Racheal Keithley, Sr., PF; Haydn Holgate, Sr., G/F; Jazamine Figueria, Soph., G
Outlook: Rifle drops down a classification one season after winning the Class 4A WSL title and has instantly become one of the favorites to win the 3A league crown. Cordova returns after averaging 19 points per game last season. The Bears’ quickness and pressure defense could help them advance well beyond league play.
Coach: Justin Purdue (1st year)
2009-10: 0-20 (0-16)
Key players: Stephanie Ayala, Sr., F; Hattie Gianinetti, Soph., G/F; Megan Gianinetti, Soph., F; Daniela Quezada, Sr., G; Sharlene Salinas, Jr., F
Outlook: The Rams boast identical twins, Hattie (5-10) and Megan Gianinetti (5-11) who bring size to the lineup. Roaring Fork is still young, but Purdue is optimistic the Rams’ defensive intensity and ball control will make them successful.