Senior staff writer
Girls high school basketball on the Southside has a new look this season, Three new coaches and several new standouts are ready to take over for graduated players. On the sidelines, former Martinsville coach Vince Cerbone takes over at Franklin Central, former Marshall and Cascade coach Justin Bennett becomes Greenwood’s third coach in four years, and Marques Gibson is at Manual after coaching in Tennessee.
Franklin Central moves from Conference Indiana to the rugged Hoosier Crossroads, and Perry Meridian leaves Conference Indiana for the competitive Mid-State. Graduation losses included Indiana all-star Cassidy Hardin from Center Grove now at Purdue, Beech Grove’s one-two punch of Cam Cardenas and Katie Giller playing for Beech Grove legend Katie Gearlds at Marian University, Perry Meridian’s Sadie Hill (Murray State), Manual’s Brianna Debolt,
Greenwood’s Leah Moore and Lutheran’s Erin Pasch and Darianne Snyder. Emerging stars are seniors Emma Utterback and Ella Thompson at Center Grove, Roncalli’s Maddie Bischoff and Alana Vinson, Lutheran’s Rylee Morris, Perry Meridian’s Caitie Baird and Manual’s Latonay Shropshire plus Franklin Central junior Rachel Loobie and Greenwood Christian Academy sophomore Izzy Reed.
Some teams have already hit the hardwood. Center Grove handled Plainfield 49-24 on Utterback’s career-high 23 points and Thompson’s 15 points (77.5 percent of the offense);
Greenwood split by winning its opener against Bloomington North 55-29 as the hosts made 29 turnover but lost its home debut against Greenfield 67-50; and Manual went 0-3 in four nights against southern Indiana teams. Reed opened with 31 points and 17 rebounds and Alexis Mead added 20 points as Greenwood Christian thumped Shortridge 79-29.
In an entertaining Southside duel Saturday, Roncalli edged host Perry Meridian 54-47 behind sophomore Bischoff’s 31 points. The Falcons never led but closed to two points twice in the fourth quarter in rallies led by Arianna Booker, 14 points, and Savannah Pipes, 10 points.
Team-by-team outlook (with last season’s won-lost records and statistics):
Cardinals hope to get off to a better start
Rebels are back after dealing with injuries last year
Perry Meridian returns most players
New Manual coach basing everything on family and commitment
Lutheran plans to sort out rotation
No seniors should be no problem for GCA
Greenwood set for a fun year
New coach likes the talent at Franklin Central
Trojans led by senior guards
Beech Grove coming off conference title