Top 10 impact freshmen for the 2018-19 girls basketball season in Michigan
Every preseason, coaches relate how many players they have returning from the year before, and try to use that to project how well they might do in the upcoming campaign. Invariably, as the truism goes, those with the most coming back tend to do the best.
The variable in that equation is always which teams get the biggest impacts from newcomers, whether they be transfers, or freshmen.
This girls basketball season, it seems like there have been an inordinate number of high-impact ninth-graders lighting it up on the hardwood, helping their teams immeasurably. Here’s a look at 10 of the more impactful players so far in the 2022 girls basketball class, as well as a list of others to keep an eye out for in the second half of the season:
1 Mya Petticord, PG, Ypsi Arbor Prep — The 5-foot-8 Petticord held seven Division I offers before she ever suited up for the Gators, then went out and scored 33 against Division 1 Clarkston in her high school debut, then broke the school single-game scoring record with 34 against Maple City Glen Lake a few days later. She’s been the focal point for the Gators in the early season, as they began to rebuild after several state title runs, doing it very early in the season without recuperating senior Mahri Petree.
2 Ruby Whitehorn, PG, Detroit Edison — The 6-foot point guard may not contribute a ton to the loaded Pioneers squad that’s the relatively undisputed best team in the state, but that doesn’t mean she’s languishing on the bench. She and fellow frosh Rikayah Beal are getting plenty of action with Edison’s “Black” team, a squad of nearly all 2022s that plays an abbreviated varsity schedule. And when the Pioneers need her to add to the depth, they’ll have her as a weapon to unleash off the bench in big games.
3 Ellie Toney, F, Corunna — The lone non-senior starter for the Cavaliers through the unbeaten first half of the season, Toney gives the Cavs a little bit of everything: She’s got the size to bang inside, teaming up with senior Mariah Dunkin to dominate the boards; she can handle the ball on the break, or float out to the wing and nail a 3-pointer. Plays beyond her actual years.
4 Amanda Roach, G, Hartland — Along with fellow 2022s Gracey Metz, Lauren Sollom and Leah Lappin, Roach helped keep the Eagles among the elite in the state, until star junior center Whitney Sollom came back from knee surgery. Fearless attacking the paint, and able to nail it from outside, Roach played well enough in her first two months of high school basketball to garner an offer from Grand Valley.
5 Sydney Pnacek, Wing, Dexter — Offered a scholarship by Hillsdale in July, before she ever suited up for the Dreads, Pnacek has range to shoot from the outside, and the height — at 5-foot-10 — to venture inside, as well. Earned box-and-one attention in her very first varsity contest, as Dexter beat Manchester.
6 Avery Zeinstra, PG, Byron Center — Scored 17 vs. Jenison in her high school debut, then nailed seven 3-pointers in a 28-point showing against East Kentwood.
7 Lexus Bargesser, SG, Grass Lake — Teams up with last year’s freshman sensation, Abrie Cabana, to form a backcourt which will give opponents in Jackson County headaches for years to come. Averaging 16 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.9 steals for the 8-1 Warriors.
8 Dara Capaldi, PG, New Haven — Recorded a double-double of 30 points and 11 rebounds in her high school debut. Will be joined on the rockets by her older sister, Lydia, a transfer from Madison Heights Bishop Foley, who became eligible to play this week.
9 Dav’i Matthews, P, Ann Arbor Pioneer — Statistically, Matthews may be the least eye-popping of Pioneer’s three frosh (point guard Lauren DeWolf averages 10.9 points and 3.2 assists per game, while shooting guard May Hicks averages 9.4 points and 3.2 rebounds), but she’s the most physically imposing. At 6-foot-1, Matthews can more than make up for the missing presence of Asaria Turman when the senior goes to the bench, but also can provide a double conundrum for smaller teams with high-low action when both are on the floor.
10 Theryn Hallock, G, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central — The last of the Hallock clan — brothers Tanner (MSU) and Tate (MSU commit followed father Ty to the Spartans — Theryn already has offers from Grand Valley and Western Michigan.
Another 25 key freshmen to watch out for (in alphabetical order, by last name): Rikayah Beal, SF, Detroit Edison; Grace Bradford, Maple City Glen Lake; Ella Burger, G, Macomb Dakota; Brooke Daniels, G, L’Anse Creuse North; Kaley Douglass, PG, Williamston; Jordan Eyster, G, Royal Oak; Kellen Fife, G, Bloomfield Hills; Kayla Giroux, Flat Rock; Mya Hicks, SG, Ann Arbor Pioneer; Remmie Ingraham, W, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central; Abbey Kimball, G, Grand Rapids West Catholic; Leah Lappin, F, Hartland; Sydney LaPrairie, G, Stoney Creek; Gracey Metz, SG, Hartland; Ella Miller, PF/C, East Lansing; Alexa Kolnitys, SG, Midland Dow; Zoey Persails, G, Reese; Ally Schultz, G, St. Ignace; Madison Skorupski, PG, Clarkston; Lauren Sollom, SF, Hartland; Maeve St. John, PG, Howell; Sarah Sylvester, C, Birmingham Marian; Nevaeh Williams, G, Mt. Clemens; Jordan Wright, PG, Wayne Memorial.