Lauren Sullivan

Lake Norman's Lauren Sullivan scored 15.3 points as a sophomore, earning all-conference honors.

Lake Norman Wildcats

Conference: I-Meck 4A

Head coach: McKenzie Graham (second season, 8-17)

Last year’s record: 8-17 overall, 3-11 I-Meck

Returning Starters: 4

Key departures: RosaLee Schiemer, guard, second leading scorer on the team

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Lauren Sullivan, 6-foot, junior point guard (15.3 points, 3 rebounds); Candis Dancy, 5-foot-8, senior guard/forward; Ashley Kennedy, 6-foot-1, junior forward; Ellie Erwin, 5-foot-8, junior forward

Top newcomers: Madison Saunders, freshman guard; Jazmine Lowe, junior forward; Megan Gaus, sophomore guard; Ashtyn Zeigler, sophomore guard

Outlook: Coach McKenzie Graham’s team returns four of five starters, including last year’s leading scorer Lauren Sullivan. The Wildcats will have more depth via newcomers Madison Saunders, Jaz Lowe, Ashtyn Zeigler and Megan Gause. Entering her second season, Graham feels “this year’s team has the perfect mix of experienced returners and new additions to help them finish in the top half of a brutal I-Meck conference.” This year’s team, she notes, also has better basketball IQ and shooting abilities in addition to a better understanding of their system.

 

Mooresville Blue Devils

Conference: I-Meck 4A

Head coach: James “Jay” Clark III (first season)

Last year’s record: 14-12, 5-9 I-Meck

Returning Starters: 1

Key departures: Taylor Cullen, guard (10.7 points per game, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals); Niyah Davis, forward (3.8 points per game, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks); Lauren Zalepka (3.9 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals)

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Alecsai Allen, 5-foot-5 senior guard (12 points per game, all-conference)

Top newcomers: Kaylan Daniels, 5-foot-4, sophomore guard; Griselda Callejas, 5-foot-4, freshman guard

Outlook: Jay Clark, a Mooresville alumnus, returns to North Carolina to take over the Blue Devils’ girls program. He will be looking to players like Alecsai Allen, who is a four-year varsity player and “outstanding young woman and leader of the team. She is community-driven, hard working and just an honor to coach.” Allen was one of two backcourt players on last year’s Mooreville team, and Allen will likely draw more attention with the graduation of all-conference guard Taylor Cullen. The team also will be looking for a new post presence.

 

Pine Lake Prep Pride

Conference: PAC 7 1A

Head coach: Scott Fitzgibbons (first season)

Last year’s record: 18-9, 10-2 PAC 7

Returning starters: 3

Key departures: Caroline Coleman, guard (15.8 points per game, 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.7 steals) Pine Lake’s all-time leading scorer

Top returnees, 2017-18 averages: Lauren Messer, 5-foot-10, senior post (4.8 points per game, 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals); Storie Stefanac, 5-foot-9 senior post (2.3 points per game, 3.1 rebounds); Carly Scholl, 5-foot-8, junior guard (7.8 points per game, 3.1 rebounds)

Top newcomers: n/a

Outlook: Scott Fitzgibbons enters his first year as the Pine Lake girls coach after leading the school’s middle school team. He will have to find a way to fill the scoring hole left by Caroline Coleman, the Pride’s all-time leading scorer, but still has three starters from the group that finished second in the conference. Fitzgibbons said the team’s strengths will be its post players, Lauren Messer and Storie Stefanac, who along with Carly Scholl can provide leadership. He said the weakness early will be finding someone who can run the point.

 

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