By MATTHEW DAVIS
St. Paul Como Park girls keep hopes high despite youth
Despite graduating five seniors, St. Paul Como Park looks to have a big season with a young team.
The Cougars return ten players from a team that went 19-9 last year, won the St. Paul City Conference and fell in the Class 3A Section 4 semifinals. Returning player include Ronnie Porter and Kaylynn Asberry who both averaged more than nine points per game
“I think we are moving along quite nicely,” Cougars coach Alexis Gray-Lawson said. “Our chemistry is there we just have to tighten up some things. I believe this will be a great season for us.”
Porter averaged 9.6 points per game, and Gray-Lawson says she “can score anywhere on the floor.” Porter’s offensive ability could help alleviate the loss of leading scorer Makayla Vannett to graduation.
Raiyne Adams, the team’s third-leading scorer last season, also graduated. Gray-Lawson said those two “are hard shoes to fill” for her team.
She anticipates Asberry, who had 9.3 points per game last year, stepping up with her aggressiveness on the court. Eighth-grader Shania Nicols gives the Cougars some offensive punch with her sharp-shooting after averaging 6.8 points per game last winter.
Freshman Jada James gives the Cougars a force on the boards. She also averaged 5.4 points per game last season.
“I think our biggest strength is our heart and the way we compete each night,” Gray-Lawson said.
St. Paul Central girls rebuilding
With little veteran experience, St. Paul Central will have a rebuilding season this winter.
The Minutemaids have a senior and a junior, which are outnumbered by the ninth-graders and eighth-graders on the team. St. Paul Central has five ninth-graders, two eighth-graders and a sophomore on the team.
“We are young and have a bright future,” Minutemaids coach Marlon McCoy said.
Key returning players include junior forward Afiya Ward and sophomore guard Alayjza Campbell. Ward saw varsity time last season and averaged 2.5 rebounds and a steal per game. Campbell posted 7.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest.
Minutemen boys look to soar
St. Paul Central returns lots of talent in looking to claim the St. Paul City Conference boys basketball title after falling short last winter.
The Minutemen went 16-10 overall and finished in second place for the conference. They return their top three scorers and rebounders from that squad.
Leading scorer Daveonte Davis returns to the lineup after averaging 23.5 points per game last winter. The Minutemen also have Dion Ford, who posted 19.4 points per game last season and led the team in rebounds with 7.2 per contest.
The Minutemen also have Ronelle Porter who can score and distribute the ball. He averaged 12 points and 2.8 assists per game last season, and he posted 4.2 rebounds per game.
Luke McElroy also poses a threat on the glass. He had five rebounds per contest last winter, and he averaged 9.3 points per game.
St. Paul Central will have a challenging road ahead with a challenging non-conference schedule that consists of Hopkins, Minnehaha Academy, Park Center and Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Lincoln. It could help the Minutemen as a tough Class 4A Section 4 awaits. That consists of defending state champion Cretin-Derham Hall and early season Class 4A favorite East Ridge.
New look for St. Paul Como Park boys
With its top six scorers graduated, St. Paul Como Park will have a new look on the court this winter.
Donzello Barros is the leading scorer among returning players from last season. He averaged 7.2 points per game.
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