By Chris Parker
Chadwick looks poised to climb back above .500 this year with two all-conference players returning from last season’s team that finished 11-14. Stevi Jones will be one of the area’s better scorers after she averaged 22.1 points per game. She also contributed 4.4 steals, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
“I have high expectations for Stevi going into her senior season,” head coach Scott Payne said. “With help this year at the point guard position, I look for her to transition to the shooting guard position to free her up more. She is a hardworking and driven player who does not back down from a challenge. I look for her to have another big year statistically and be one of the best players in our conference and district.”
Junior Paris Gilbert was a second-team all-conference selection, thanks to putting up averages of 8.6 points, 6 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 2.3 assists per game as a sophomore.
“She (Gilbert) is a key piece that we need to play well in order for us to win. Her athleticism on defense is probably her greatest asset,” Payne said. “She will have to have a greater impact on the offensive end this season. Last season, she was second on the team in nearly every statistical category.”
Courtney Grimes gives Chadwick head coach Scott Payne a third quality returning player. The senior was a strong rebounder with 7.8 RPG in her junior year. She also contributed 6.3 points per game.
“Courtney will be our other senior this year that we will look on to provide leadership and set an example for our young players,” Payne said. “She has been a dedicated player for our program for years and has improved a ton along the way. Last season she grabbed nearly eight rebounds per game which led our team. We expect her to do a lot of the dirty work that doesn’t necessarily show up in the paper, but is vital to team success.”
The freshman class ultimately will do a lot to determine the success of Chadwick girls’ basketball this year. That deep group includes: Abigail Smith, Paisley Gilbert, Desiree Nelson, Madeline Nalley, Cora Michael, Chloe Burkhart and Olivia Maggard.
“I am very optimistic for this upcoming basketball season with the new group we will have. Last year we only had seven girls on the team, so this season we will have a much deeper bench and be more versatile. We have a really good mix of experience and youth this year,” Payne said. “We are going to get after it on defense this year and try to create the tempo that we like to play at. If we come together as a team and gel quickly, I can definitely see us sneaking up on some people. Our end goal will be to win our conference and district title, then see where we can go from there. I am going to push these girls to their max and we will be ready for whatever challenge we face.”
Chadwick opens the season on Nov. 25 at Marionville.