- John Cummings Contributing Writer
Talawanda High School girls basketball coach Tom Head knows the Southwest Ohio Conference road map has changed.
After going through THS the first four years, the road to the title swung through Edgewood in 2017, and Head doesn’t look for it to re-route back to Oxford.
“Little Miami is the clear favorite,” Head said.
The Braves, coming off a 16-7 overall mark and a second-place SWOC finish at 10-2, will see a lot of new faces on the floor this season.
The Braves lost four starters to graduation, but the big blow was Emma Wright.
Wright, who averaged 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists as a senior, was named the SWOC Player of the Year before taking her talents to Grand Valley State University.
Talawanda also lost a key component in the post with the graduation of Katlynn Woodruff. She averaged 11 boards and 6.2 points a game while hitting on 55 percent of her shots from the floor last year.
The lone Brave left standing was point guard Addie Brown.
Brown, a 5-foot-8 senior, was a first-team All-SWOC selection after averaging 13.6 points to go along with 2.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game as a junior.
“We have one player with varsity experience,” Head said. “We will be a young team starting two or three sophomores.”
The Braves will be young this season, but they do have some experience.
Senior Mikaela Bretz, a 6-1 center, should help to pick up some of the slack from the graduation of Woodruff. Bretz saw action in one varsity game last season, grabbing one rebound.
Jazz Bennett, a 5-5 junior, is the second-leading scorer returning for the Braves after registering 1.4 points to go with 0.6 steals per game in 19 games as a sophomore.
Kyra Koontz, a 5-6 sophomore, played in 14 games in 2016-17 and averaged 1.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.9 steals per contest.
Jenna Tegge, a 5-10 junior, played in 12 games last season, while 5-9 sophomore Susie Bennison played in 11. Sophia Dowers, a 5-8 sophomore, grabbed a rebound in her lone game of action on varsity.
“The team is young, but improving,” Head said. “We just will be very young and inexperienced.”
The Braves, who got 22 points from Brown in a season-opening 42-35 win over Winton Woods on Monday night, will have their first home game Wednesday against Badin.
Talawanda won’t have much time to grow before SWOC play, traveling to preseason favorite Little Miami on Dec. 9.View full experience