Hardwood Heroes Girls Preseason All-Hero Team

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Leah Richardson – Alexander

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A major contributor since her freshman year, Richardson is expected to lead Alexander in almost every statistical category in the 2015-16 season. She knows the game all around, with the ability to shoot, drive, pass and dribble. She also plays a threat on defense. Richardson, a junior, made the All-Hero list the past two seasons. If she continues her dominant play, Richardson could earn more honors this season. Expect Richardson to play a key role as the Lady Spartans make a run at the TVC-Ohio title.

Jala Mace – Alexander

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Mace plays tough and constantly looks to grab the rebound and find the outlet pass to get the Lady Spartans going in transition. She plays a stretch-four role, meaning there is more to her game than just her post presence. Down low, Mace can win matchups with most post players in the league. However, when matched with a tougher opponent, she can face up or step back and hit the mid-range jumper with ease. With a good shot, excellent vision and precision timing for blocking shots on defense she has a lot of potential. A little more confidence on the court could improve her game, but with another year under her belt, this could be the season Mace and Richardson take the Lady Spartans deep into March basketball.

Laura Pullins – Eastern

Pullins posses maturity on the court well beyond her years, allowing her to lead the Lady Eagles as a junior. Pullins was thrown into the fire early on as a sophomore, facing the tough task of keeping the program moving forward after all five starters from the 2013 state championship team graduated. A season ago, Eastern utilized Pullins as the go-to shooter. With another year of experience she is expected to provide a big chunk of the Eastern offense. Another thing to look out for, the braids – they mean business and so does this junior.

Madison Williams – Eastern

This sophomore guard had a great first year acting as a shoulder to lean on for Pullins. Early on it appeared this would be a Batman-and-Robin relationship on the court, but with the dynamic nature of Williams’ play, it became evident this was more of a one-two punch. Williams is an all around player, with plenty of time to develop. She has no problem from behind the arc but can also drive the ball to the hoop with ease. An overall scrappy player, Williams is not afraid to play tough. She constantly dives after loose balls and pushes to the rim. This offseason Williams tore her ACL. It will be interesting to see if the injury affected her on the court and how she recovered. If Pullins dominates early in the season, it could help Williams ease back into things and have a great season.

Faith Bennett-Wolfe – Federal Hocking

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The All-Hero team is designed for players who mean the most to their teams, and in that regard Bennett-Wolfe is a lock for the list. She not only is a great free throw shooter, but Bennett-Wolfe also is tied with many across the state for highest field goal percentage. At the end of Federal Hocking’s loss to Meigs earlier in the week, she hit her first ever shot from the field and is perfect so far on the season. This freshman Lady Lancer inspires everyone who has the opportunity to see her play. The positive attitude she brings could help the team in many different capacities.

Jessie Addis – Nelsonville-York

Addis was a TVC-Ohio All League player last season as a freshman. A talented point guard, she refuses to allow youth to get the best of her. Hardwood Heroes listed Addis on the All-Futures team at the end of last season. Addis sat on desk with the Hardwood crew last year and handles the spotlight just as well as she handles the basketball. Look for Addis to make additional honors this season if she can continue her strong campaign.

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Kaitlyn Hurd – Nelsonville-York

A previous All-Hero team, Hurd is a key scorer for the Lady Buckeyes. The team will seek to her and Addis to provide most of the offense. Hurd posses the ability to drive to the basket, but also can pull up from the field. Due to this, Hurd is a player other teams should keep an eye on. With a first-year coach, Hurd must be able to do it all to improve on the consistency that wasn’t there a year ago for NY.

Nikki Kish – Trimble

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Kish dominated the TVC-Hocking from the post last season. This season, as a senior, the Lady Tomcats expect Kish to do the same. With a definite height advantage, she has no trouble snagging rebounds when the ball is up for grabs. She is one of the most aggressive players in the TVC, and physical play almost always results in Kish’s favor. Kish fouled out of the Lady Tomcats’ second game of the season and still managed to be the game’s leading scorer. Other teams will foul her just to slow her down, but Kish has no struggles from the free throw line. Kish struggles as a pull-up shooter, so watch for her to put the ball on the floor and work her way into the paint. With a first-year head coach, this senior will be the rock for a young, developing Trimble squad.

Jalen Hale – Vinton County

With a distinct height advantage, Hale can cause matchup problems across the board for opponents. The vocal leader of the Lady Vikings also plays great defense of her own. Head coach Rod Bentley said she asks to guard the best player on opposing teams, showing her confidence in her own game. An all-around player with a great shot, the know-how to be in the right position as well as the ability to vocally lead her team, Hale could be in the driver’s seat for a Lady Vikings ship that is sailing towards a TVC-Ohio title and postseason run.

Michaela Puckett – Vinton County

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Another all-around talent for Vinton County, Puckett is quieter than Hale, choosing to lead with her actions. Not many post players can take it up top, drive the lane and finish the play with a 360 layup, like Puckett did against Jackson earlier this week. It’s hard to call her a stretch-post player because when Puckett does take a jumper there does not appear to be any “stretching” at all. Puckett also has one of the best three-point strokes with an effortless release and a smooth follow-through. This season the Lady Vikings return their entire lineup, and Puckett’s leadership could lead Vinton County to league title this year.