Northwest Conference girls basketball previews



Division: IV

Coach: Zach Ricker (first season)

2021-22 overall record: 8-15

2021-22 league record: 0-8 (ninth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 45-39 to Parkway in sectional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Courtney Sumner (Sr.), Olivia Burkhart (Jr.), Katie Sizemore (Jr.), Mariah King (Jr.), Lexi Poling (Soph.)

Others on varsity roster: Autumn Andreasen (Jr.), Anna Conley (Fr.), Jillian Allison (Soph.), Addyson Kin (Fr.), Ashley Hevlin (Fr.), Abbey Johnston (Fr.), Alex Gibson (Fr.), Karlie Rockhill (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: We have five returning varsity players who have some significant minutes from last year and we will be relying on them to help us continue to build the program. The expectations are higher this year, with the goal to be competitive each night and to continue to grow as a team to reach our full potential.

Allen East

Division: III

Coach: Aaron Montgomery (second season)

2021-22 overall record: 11-12

2021-22 conference record 2-6 (seventh)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 59-51 to Spencerville in sectional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Kennedy Truex (Sr.), Savana Brooks (Jr.), Rilynn Jones (Soph.), Aubrey Young (Jr.), Dylan Miller (Soph.), Elle Richardson (Sr.), Ella Miller (Soph.), Taylor Nickles (Soph.)

Others on varsity roster: Alivia Patterson (Jr.), Rylie Jordan (Fr.), Lydia Payne (Fr.), Brynn Richardson (Fr.), Avery Kessen (Fr.), Skylar Benson (Jr.), Sophia Zeller (Soph.)

Coach’s analysis: Returning four out of five starters, the Mustangs have their eyes set on a championship mentality. Our goal is to make that top four discussion in the NWC and have a chance to go win it. Along with that, setting ourselves up with a chance to make a tournament run.


Division: III

Coach: Eric Garmatter (12th season)

2021-22 overall record: 16-7

2021-22 conference record 4-4 (tied for fifth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 41-36 to Kalida in D-IV sectional finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Samantha Scoles (Sr.), Riley Eachus (Sr.), Kendal Giesige (Sr.), Ashley Fleece (Jr.), Ayla Grandey (Soph.)

Others on varsity roster: Julia Mehaffie (Sr.), Alaina Grothause (Sr.), Jordan Schweingruber (Soph.), Vanessa Cross (Fr.), Blair Utendorf (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: We have a good combination of veterans and youth that must learn to play together early on. We will have to lean on our strengths and overcome our weaknesses to be successfull. Good senior leadership will be expected to help the younger girls develop into their roles to help the team reach their full potential.

Columbus Grove

Division: IV

Coach: Brian Schroeder (10th season)

2021-22 overall record: 18-7

2021-22 conference record 6-2 NWC (tied for second); 6-1 PCL (tied for first)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 49-43 to Toledo Christian in regional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Jaylen Sautter (Sr.), Sage Clement (Sr.), Brynn Fortman (Sr.), Lauryn Auchmuty (Soph.)

Others on varsity roster: Abby Stechschulte (Jr.), Nicole Nesby (Fr.), Elyse Fortman (Fr.), Jade Siefker (Jr.), Ruth Myers (Fr.), Kendal Palte (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: We lost four seniors from last year’s team. They accouunted for 50% of our offensive production as well as our leaders on the court. Especially missed will be Kenzie King (four-year starter), and Savanah Ridenour (three-year starter). We will need to have multiple players step up on offense and defense as well as fill the leadership void left by all four seniors. In addition, this team will need to hang its hat on defense and consistently play with physicality and toughness to make up for its lack of size inside. As long as we continue to work hard and improve each week, we hope to compete in both leagues. Crestview and Delphos Jefferson appear to be the favorites in the NWC with several other teams capable of winning it as well. The PCL will be very competitive and has many teams capable of winning the league.


Division: IV

Coach: Mark Gregory (seventh season)

2021-22 overall record: 21-5

2021-22 conference record 6-2 (tied for second)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 35-26 to New Knoxville in regional semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Haley Owsley (Sr.), Lacy McCoy (Sr.), Macy Kulwicki (Sr.), Cali Gregory (Jr.), Ellie Kline (Soph.), Kennedy Crider (Soph.), Josie Kulwicki (Soph.), Nevaeh Ross (Soph.)

Others on roster: Eliza Reinhart (Fr.), Emily Adams (Fr.), Haley McCoy (Fr.), Kenize Heffner (Fr.), Lillie Best (Fr.), Marissa Gros (Fr.), Neveah Frye (Fr.), Peyton Hoffman (Fr.)

Coach’s analysis: We have a really nice core group coming back, but we also have a group coming up that we have high expectations for. Josie Kulwicki, Nevaeh Ross, Kennedy Krider, and Haley McCoy are girls that played with us this summer and will see significant time this season. We have two sets of sisters on the squad which is also cool and we are excited about the season. We will continue to play uptempo basketball, but try to pressure our opponents in the half and full court. I also like to mix our defenses to keep the offenses guessing. We will be getting off to a slow start with the success of our volleyball program, but that is a great problem to have.

Delphos Jefferson

Division: III

Coach: Denise Lindeman (fourth season)

2021-22 overall record: 22-2

2021-22 conference record 8-0 (first)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 43-42 to Ottawa-Glandorf in district semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Hannah Wiltsie (Sr.), Gwen Teman (Sr.), Jessa Rostorfer (Sr.), Lauren French (Jr.), Lyv Lindeman (Jr.), Krystin Moore (Jr.), Rylynn Marquiss (Sr.)

Others on varsity roster: Maddie Burris (Jr.), Aubrey Dudgeon (Soph.), Kyla Carder (Soph.)

Coach’s analysis: The Lady Cats will need to replace four year starter and 1,000 point scorer Alycia Lindeman and three year starter Josie McGue, along with Maddie Weitzel and Jenna Rode. The Lady Jeffcats return seven letter winners and three starters from a competitive 2021-22 season where the Lady Cats captured the league title as well as a sectional championship. We will rely on those players for their varsity experience and their leadership on and off the court. We will use our speed and athleticism to set the tone for the upcoming season. The Lady Cats are an extremely hardworking and coachable group that have dedicated their time in the offseason by improving on their skill development. As the coach of this team, I absolutely love their drive to compete and get better every single day. We will continue to set high standards and be the best versions of ourselves everyday.


Division: IV

Coach: Gary Kreinbrink (37th season)

2021-22 overall record: 19-6

2021-22 conference record 4-4 NWC (tied for fifth); 5-2 PCL (third)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 36-32 to Miller City in district semifinals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Whitney Langhals (Sr.), Ava Henry (Jr.), Kyrsten Martinez (Sr.), Marisa Hermiller (Sr.), Abby Haselman (Sr.), Sydney Schroeder (Sr.), Leah Kirkendall (Jr.)

Others on varsity roster: Kaytlynn Schroeder (Jr.), Brooklyn Cunningham (Soph.)

Coach’s analysis: We have a good number of players returning off a 19 win season in 2021-22. We have good depth and our veteran experience should be beneficial for us this year. We have five seniors that will offer us leadership and help guide us as we progress through two leagues. We have great kids with great attitudes. Lack of size. We will have to have a team effort rebounding the ball and good communication skills on the defensive side of the floor.


Division: IV

Coach: Kyle Williams (fourth season)

2021-22 overall record: 10-14

2021-22 conference record 1-7 (eighth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 40-32 to Crestview in district finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity starters: Carsyn Looser (Sr.), Makayla Jackman (Sr.), Emerson Walker (Soph.), Addysen Stevens (Jr.), Ashlyn Price (Soph.)

Others on varsity roster: Kendall Hoffman (Fr.), Harper Reindel (Fr.), Keria Breese (Fr.), Olivia Moonshower (Fr.), August D’Andrea (Fr.), Ella Elling (Fr.),

Coach’s analysis: I think we will have some good guard play this year in regards to the offensive end. I think are guards are going to do a better job of handling the pressure and getting paint touches. We have great returners and a few freshmen coming in that can compete. Hopefully, we are able to get a lot of paint touches and knock down shots. Moving forward, we need to consistently work hard on the defensive end. We had many opportunities to win in the middle/end of the season last year but were unable to get key stops on the defensive end. I love and trust the group we have coming back and I am so excited to coach this hard-nosed group. These girls are going to be a blast to coach. Last year we finished 10-14 with a few close losses. If we compete at a high level and are consistent night in and night out, then I foresee us being able to contend in the conference and win 14-15 games this season. Girls basketball is all about being as consistent as possible. Once again, the NWC is an extremely tough conference to be in. I’ve always said, outside of the MAC, the NWC is as competitive as it gets in terms of basketball in our area. There are a lot of talented players, coaches and teams. I feel if we play to the level that we can, we could put ourselves in very good position to contend in the conference. Like I said, we have a group that wants to compete and give it their all.


Division: III

Coach: Greg Ekis (ninth season)

2021-22 overall record: 14-10

2021-22 conference record 5-3 (fourth)

2022 postseason finish: Lost 58-41 to Delphos Jefferson in sectional finals

Returning 2021-22 varsity letter winners: Kirsten Wurst (Sr.), Gabi Croft (Sr.), Heidi Keller (Jr.)

Others on varsity roster: Clara Goecke (Fr.), Eilan Muniz (Fr.), Lenna Smith (Fr.), Delanie Bowersock (Jr.), Savannah Griffith (Soph.), Allison Post (Fr.), Sydney LeMar (Sr.), Kiarah Dodds (Jr.), Rachel Ringwald (Soph.), Nadia Ricker (Jr.)

Coach’s analysis: We have a core group coming back from last year. We will need to work hard throughout the preseason to fill in the other positions. They are working very hard and extremely coachable.

Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.