2022-23 High School Basketball Preview
The Herald-Leader/Kentucky.com is publishing season preview stories leading up to the start of the 2022-23 high school basketball season on Monday, Nov. 28. You can read everything we’ve published to this point by clicking on this drop-down list. All of the stories are also available in our print and e-editions.
The 2022-23 Kentucky girls’ basketball season was scheduled to tip off Monday. Here are 11 of the 11th Region’s best players in order of how they were voted for by the region’s coaches in our @HLpreps preseason survey. Coaches were asked to rank the “top 10 players in the region.” This list includes their height, class, last year’s points per game and a brief note.
1. Kylee Dennis, Sayre (5-11 Sr., 14.5 points): Dennis, who recently signed with Southern Indiana, excels on defense and in transition where her length and speed cause serious problems for the opposition. “Kylee is a phenomenal talent and impacts the game on both ends of the floor,” said Coach Eric Kinder. “While she has the ability to fill up the scoring column and usually does, she is always looking to get her teammates involved.” Dennis missed seven games last season due to injury. Shortly after she returned, the Spartans won five straight, including a district playoff game against Scott County.
2. Katherine Truitt, Lexington Catholic (5-10 Sr., 18 points): Truitt, a multiple city and region player of the year in soccer, the sport where she plans to continue her career at Kentucky, somehow also excels at basketball and was a first team all-city selection last season after leading the Knights in scoring and rebounding (8.9 rpg). “She is a quick, slashing guard who can also shoot the three and guard multiple positions on the defensive end of the floor,” LexCath Coach Lee Tegt said. Truitt has been an impact starter on four straight district and region soccer champions.
3. Jazmin Chambers, Franklin County (6-0 Sr., 8.7 points): Chambers suffered a severe knee injury at the start of her sophomore year but began to get her bearings last season for the three-time defending region champions. Coach Joey Thacker calls her a “versatile scorer and good defender.” She’ll be looked to this season as a senior leader for a team that is expected to contend for the 11th Region crown once again.
4. Hadley French, Madison Southern (5-4 Fr., 11.1 points): French earned all-region honors after leading the Eagles in scoring as an eighth-grader. She scored 11 points and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds in Madison Southern’s 47-26 win over Berea to help the Eagles earn back-to-back 44th District titles for the first time in school history.
5. Niah Rhodes, Frederick Douglass (5-7 So., 16 points): Rhodes’ 2.9 made threes per game as a freshman last season ranked sixth in the state as she made 39.3 percent of her tries and led the Broncos in scoring. She received her first Division I offer from UNC Asheville earlier this year.
6. Alli Stone, Henry Clay (5-9 Jr., 13.9 points): Stone displayed exceptional range from deep in leading the Blue Devils in scoring and three-pointers last season while also grabbing a team second-best 5.5 rebounds per game. “Her ability to get to the basket and consistently hit her midrange is exceptional,” Coach Ashley Garrard, said.
7. Ayanna Darrington, Frederick Douglass (6-2 Jr., 15 points): Darrington averaged a double-double with 12.8 rebounds per game, third-best on the boards in the state, which also makes her the top returning rebounder in the region. Darrington suffered an ankle injury during volleyball season, but Coach Daryl Moberly expects she’ll be full steam soon.
8. Chesney Lovins, Berea (5-9 Sr., 9.2 points): Key injuries last season put more pressure on Lovins to produce for the Pirates and she stepped up, leading the team in scoring and rebounds (6.5 rpg). Her team-high 18 points and 11 boards against Madison Central in the 44th District Tournament’s first round last February secured Berea’s second trip to the 11th Region Tournament in three years.
9. Bailey Hensley, Madison Central (5-10 Jr., 17.1 points): Only three 11th Region players averaged a double-double last season and Hensley’s 10.1 rebounds per game got her on that exclusive list. She also led the Indians in scoring. New coach Scott True expects Madison Central will “rely heavily” on Hensley again this season.
10. Savannah Simpson, Lafayette (6-0 So., 8.6 points): Coach Allison Tate Denton believes Simpson can have a breakout season as one of her two returning starters. “Her strength is attacking the basket and crashing the boards,” Tate Denton said. “We’re looking to her to provide at least a double-double per game. She is just a great athlete.”
11. Ava Schureman, Great Crossing (5-10 Jr., 7.1 points): Schureman led the Warhawks with 7.2 rebounds per game last season. First-year coach Matt Walls labels her “strong and athletic” and will rely on her and Great Crossing’s three other returning starters to adapt to his new system.
Bryan Station: Jailenn Green; Franklin County: Jhaven Meade; Frederick Douglass: Jermyra Christian; Kate Baker; Great Crossing: Rachel Smith, Raegan Barrett; Henry Clay: Ariyana Sutton; Madison Southern: Reece Estep, Laci Sandlin; Paul Laurence Dunbar: Amber Brandon; Bella Rusing; Scott County: Maleiyah Moore; Tyra Young; Tates Creek: Ashton Harris.
The 11th Region’s 19 coaches were asked to rank the 10 best players in the 11th Region. The list reflects all the players put forth by the 14 coaches who responded to the top 10 players question in the survey.
2022-23 SEASON PREVIEW
This is the seventh of eight stories the Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com is publishing previewing the 2022-23 high school boys’ and girls’ basketball seasons, which were scheduled to tip off Nov. 28.