1. Who are some of the top players in the area?
It starts with three-time All-Ohio performer Kadie Hempfling from Ottawa-Glandorf. The senior, who recently committed to Bowling Green, was co-WBL player of the year and once again will be a force to reckon with during the regular season.
Others to look for this year are Delphos Jefferson’s Sarah Miller, Crestview’s Paige Motyka and her teammate Lyvia Black, Wapakoneta’s Lexi Jacobs and Sarah Pothast, along with New Bremen’s Jane Homan and Macy Puthoff.
2. Who has the best chance to reach state?
The obvious answer is Ottawa-Glandorf. The Titans have been to the final four the last three seasons, and with the core of the team coming back and Hempfling leading the way, O-G is battled-tested and ready to go. The Titans will have to deal with the loss of Katie White.
Putnam County rival Ottoville has made several strong playoff runs and has a nucleus to be successful again.
3. Does the division change help O-G?
The Titans dropped from Division II to Division III, which might sound like it benefits O-G. However, Division III is loaded with plenty of talented teams, such as Columbus Africentric and Versailles.
Other teams who moved down a division were Bluffton, Columbus Grove and Delphos Jefferson from Division III to Division IV. Crestview moved up to Division III from Division IV, and Fort Recovery, Parkway and St. Henry go from Division III to Division IV.
4. Can anyone dethrone O-G in the WBL?
The Titans posted a perfect 9-0 record last year but will be hard pressed to repeat that feat with a number of viable challengers. Wapakoneta, Kenton and Bath all bring back top players and will look to bump off the Titans from the top spot.
5. Who is the frontrunner in the NWC?
Initially it was Columbus Grove. Despite losing some top-notch seniors, the Bulldogs still had Paige Bellman, the NWC and PCL player of the year. However, she was lost to injury during the preseason, leaving the door open for several teams in the conference to make a move.
Bluffton, which finished second last year, returns a number of players, and Crestview, Spencerville and Jefferson all look to make a run at the NWC crown.
6. Can Upper Scioto go undefeated in the Northwest Central Conference for the third year in a row?
The Rams have been the dominant team in the NWCC the last two years, going 12-0. However, USV, which lost some quality seniors and has a new coach, may be vulnerable this year.
Ridgemont, which finished second with a 5-1 mark, has the majority of the players back and looks to be the top contender for the title.
7. How does Lima Central Catholic fill the void left by Madison Stolly?
For four years, Stolly was LCC girls basketball. But now that she has graduated and moved on to the University of Findlay, the Thunderbirds find themselves searching for a new identity.
New coach Ron Williams, with only three returning letterwinners, will be relying on some of his younger players to step up, including his daughter, Rosie Williams, who should signs of being a force inside her freshman year.
8. Can Lima Senior return to its winning ways?
Vince Halliday will have his hands full trying to blend a talented freshmen group with some of the veteran players on the team. The Spartans return six letterwinners, and if Lima Senior’s head coach can find the right blend of experience and enthusiasm the Spartans could make some waves this season.
9. Who is the frontrunner in the PCL?
The Putnam County League features some of the top teams in the area, and it will be another right race. Ottoville brings back a core of its team that made t to the final four last year, but Leipsic and Pandora-Gilboa will push Ottoville this year. Dark horses are Fort Jennings, Kalida and Continental and Miller City.
10. Can Ottoville get back to state?
Ottoville lost some key seniors but return a strong lineup that could propel the Big Green back to Columbus. But for this to happen, Dave Kleman will look to find the right chemistry among his players in order to make it back to the final four. Also Kleman could reach 500 victories this season. He is 20 wins away from that prestigious mark.