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Who are top returning players in the 9th region?

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Here's some just off the top of my head.


Ansley Davenport New Cath


Brianna Adler Highlands


Taylor Gambrel Conner


Mallory Schwartz Ryle


Jenna Martin Notre Dame


I would add:

McKenzie Leigh from Highlands.

Ally Johnson from Beechwood

Hunter Hendricks from Conner

Tyra Engelmon from Holmes

Mo Gulley from Holmes.

Lexi Held from Cooper.


Sure I'm missing some, but there is also a lot of young talent getting ready to be added to this this very soon!!

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Tough subject as there are several teams in the 9th with great balance. With that said, I think anyone's list should include the returning point guard from the defending state champs as Deja Mecclendon can be a difference maker. Most of the names listed already are those recognized at tournament time last year as you would expect. So in addition, I'd add following:


Kylie Orr, Newport 36th District All Tourney Team

Brooke Davis, Dixie, 34th District Tourney MVP

Aimee Jump, Ryle, 33 District Tourney MVP

Carly Lange, Ryle, 33 District All Tourney Team

Taylor Gambrel, 33 District All Tourney Team

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Without taking away from the other players, if I’m building a team in the 9th and I get first pick, no question I’m taking McClendon from HC (btw: “Dajah,” not “Deja.”)


• Four years’ experience running HC’s point, including the historic season last year, and almost never gets rattled.


• Finished the year at almost 8 ppg (42 percent from “3” and 72 percent from the line) even though she backed off her offensive game the last dozen games to focus on being a floor leader.


• State tourney: 9 assists and 3 steals vs. Bell County and Maci Morris … 4 assists, 2 steals v. E-town and its D1 contingent … 5 assists and 3 steals vs. Male … 4 assists and 2 steals vs. Allen County-Scottsville.


• Two HUGE defensive plays: HC’s Abby Hassert doesn’t make the game-winning 3-point play if Mac doesn’t pick UK-bound Morgan Rich’s pocket with about 35 seconds left and the score tied (see video I linked above). And Ally Mayhaus doesn’t muscle in the All A Classic game-winner if Mac doesn’t cause the Murray player to fumble the inbounds pass on the end-line with 12 seconds left.


• Three wins against the otherwise undefeated (final 30-3 record) Holmes Bulldogs last year. Holmes overwhelmed most teams with traps and in-your-sports-bra pressure. Holy Cross had McClendon.


• In the 9th region semifinals in 2014, McClendon singlehandedly almost knocked off Nicole Kiernan-led NCC. Turner was ineligible, Hassert was out with a stress fracture in her back and both Mayhaus twins sat much of the game with foul trouble. McClendon scored 23 or 25 points by blowing past defenders even though every fan in NKU’s arena knows she was going to take it. If Mac’s floater with a couple of seconds left doesn’t roll off the rim, HC beats NCC and goes to the title game against Notre Dame, with whom it had split two games.


• Last year Holy Cross went to Indianapolis and finished third in the heralded Lady Roncalli Classic. Its loss came against Lawrence North, which was nationally ranked and had four D1 commits. Lawrence North came out with uniform shorts covered in words, including in huge block letters the word “Swagalicious.” One of their girls was jumping up and smacking high up on the backboard in warm-ups. As in HIGH up. Huge gym. One side of the stands is packed.


And Deja Turner is out and on the bench with a foot injury.


McClendon keeps Holy Cross in the game (until she suffered an ankle injury herself) with stellar ball-handling and nice feeds to the Twins and Hassert.


She also had a series of coast-to-coast drives that ended in either NBA-style no-look passes or spin-move layups that had much of the Lawrence North crowd jumping to their feet and hooting and hollering and smacking their heads.


• And oh, Holy Cross’ other two losses in its 33-3 year? Against East Carter, McClendon was limping badly and couldn’t plant her foot to either cut and spin or to cut off her defender. At best, 50 percent speed. And against Brossart (with Mayhaus out with a concussion), McClendon is still not 100 percent and in fact at one point was lying on the floor grasping her ankle in pain after re-twisting it. Point is, without Mac, HC wasn’t HC.


So … lots of good players. But I’d build my team around this big-game point guard.


(Sorry for the length. But I’m willing to read any other fans’ spirited explanation of their team’s top player.)

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Interesting there is a team picture before tryouts, is this the norm?


Simply an informal gathering of teammates. Maybe it's early, maybe not everyone stuck around. I only noted an absence of friends/players from the pic and just curious


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