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Roland Park basketball returns talented lineup

Jaia Alexander, right, attempts to drive past McDonogh's Andrea Robinson in last year's IAAM A Conference final. Alexander is one of four returnees to the Reds' lineup.
Jaia Alexander, right, attempts to drive past McDonogh's Andrea Robinson in last year's IAAM A Conference final. Alexander is one of four returnees to the Reds' lineup. (File photo/BSMG)

Roland Park basketball coach Scott Buckley regrets the one that got away -- the loss of a nine-point lead with 10 minutes to go in last February's IAAM A Conference title game -- but he's eager to give it another shot this season.

"We couldn't get much closer than that to a title," Buckley said of the setback to McDonogh that closed a 20-7 season.

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The Reds should be strong again this season because of the return of senior guard/forward Lindsey Edwards (5 feet 10), senior forward Michala Clay (6-1) and junior guards Jaia Alexander (5-11) and Ryan Holder (5-10).

All four averaged in double figures last year.

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"We had a really good team last year, but we are primed for a better year," Buckley said. "This is probably the best offensive team and most well-rounded team I've had (in 19 years). We can cause a lot of defensive problems for people."

Clay is the centerpiece of the inside attack. She averaged 11.3 points and seven rebounds last year and is committed to St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

"She is really tough to defend because she is a really good shooter for her size," Buckley said.

Edwards also provides a nice scoring option, and will play next season at High Point University.

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"Lindsey is our most consistent player," Buckley said. "You know what you are going to get our of her every night. She is very versatile. She can play inside or outside."

Alexander and Holder bring stability to the backcourt.

Sophomore Jeydah Johnson (5-10) can play inside or outside and completes a strong starting lineup.

"She was best three-point shooter last year and one of our top rebounders," Buckley said.

Buckley says senior guard Francesca Whitehurst (5-6) could start for a number of teams in the A Conference.

"She provides a nice spark off the bench," Buckley said of Whitehurst, who is an all-state soccer player and has signed with Georgetown for lacrosse.

Freshman shooting guard Aniyah Carpenter (5-7) is also expected to help off the bench. Junior Anna Hauser (6-0) will be the top reserve forward.

Buckley expects senior guards Jenna Baverman (5-5) and Caroline Pate (5-7), and sophomore forward Olivia Carroll (5-10), freshman center Deirra Carter (6-2) and senior forward Mellie Poggi (5-8) to be valuable contributors.

Bryn Mawr

After going 10-10 last year, Mawrtians coach Mimi Walters appears to have a team that could contend for the IAAM B Conference title.

"I feel we have the ingredients that could make us really dangerous," said Walters, who is in her eighth season. "We are explosive and we can be very competitive."

Bryn Mawr lost 6-foot forward Zoe Zawisa, who averaged 11 points and 10 rebounds per game and is playing for Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, but Walters thinks junior forwards Grace Greene (5-9), a returning starter, and Shannon Bittner (6-0) will provide inside strength.

"Bittner came on late last year and was a steady presence in the post," Walters said. "She is playing really well right now."

Greene averaged 10 points. "She had a great year last year," Walters said. "She rebounds the ball very well. She takes the contact."

Junior Reed Kennedy (5-10) and Maia Faraone (5-10) fill out the forward rotation.

Senior guard Alex Argo (5-6) will be out for the season's first couple of weeks because of a stress fracture in her leg. She played point guard last year, but will move to shooting guard.

Sophomore Jordan Askew (5-4) moves into the point position.

"She brings a lot of energy to the team and she is very fast," Walters said. "She is an explosive player and can handle the ball. She brings an element that helps us with pressure."

Sophomore shooting guard Claire Dunbar (5-5) will start.

"Claire can step in and help us," Walters said. "She is also a very good shooter. She picks up things quickly."

The Mawrtians have experience with senior guard Quincy Johnson (5-5) coming off the bench. "She bring a real defensive presence to the team," Walters said. "She can guard anybody."

Senior guard Christine Que (5-3) and junior guard Bridget Danko (5-5) offer additional backcourt depth.

Friends

Friends returns four starters, including double-digit rebounder Morgan Ball (5-10), a senior center, and senior guard Rachel Kehoe (5-9). Kehoe, who averaged 13 points, should surpass the 1,000-point mark this season.

Junior small forward Paige Shephard and senior point guard Bianca Washington support Kehoe and Ball in the starting lineup.

Sophomore power forward Madison Moore (5-7), freshman guard/forward Carli Freeman (5-6) and freshman Carrie Zaremba and guard Alex Miceli are also in the starting mix.

"We are young outside of our four returning starters," first-year coach Ken Zalis said. "We have no other players who have varsity experience."

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