Woodridge girls basketball team looking to continue winning streak this season
PENINSULA — Woodridge High School girls basketball head coach Chris Esterak said his team is looking to not only continue its success of a season ago, but to add to it.
“We are looking to improve on our 20 regular-season-game-consecutive-win streak and to further ourselves in the polls and state tournament,” he said. “Last year, our highest ranking was 18th in the top 25. We lost in districts last year, so we would like to go further.”
According to the coach, the strength of the team starts with two-time first-team all-conference and all-Ohio center Lizzie Wilkinson.
“She is coming off of her best season, where she averaged 16 points, 13 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game,” Esterak stated. “Lizzie is the heart and soul of our team. She is our three-year captain and leader on the court. We are looking forward to a banner year for Lizzie. She is a very hard worker that gets better each day. Lizzie is on pace to score over 1,000 points and to become Woodridge’s all-time leader in rebounding. She has averaged a double-double for two years straight.”
Also returning this season are seniors Kara Kelleher, a 6-foot power forward, and Kapri Watson, a 5-foot-9 small forward.
“Kara is asked to do a lot for our team. She guards the biggest and toughest post so that Lizzie is able to block shots. She is very strong inside and brings muscle to our team. I am looking for big things from Kara this year. It is our goal that she becomes a double-double player, also,” Esterak said. “Kapri has the potential to be the most surprising player in our league this year. She was our sixth woman off the bench last year and is a year removed from coming back from a knee injury. With a full season under her belt, she looks great on the court. She is very athletic and can attack the basket. She was our second leading three-point shooter last year.”
The team’s other seniors are 5-foot-5 guard Angela Debord and 5-foot-9 guard/forward Alex Loprinzi.
“Angela will be the first guard off the bench this year. She is another shooter that will help us from the outside. We are looking forward to her leadership this year,” the coach said. “Alex is a unique player since she can play all positions for us other than point guard. She brings speed and hustle to our team and is a two-year winner of our hustle award. We are looking forward to good things this year from Alex.”
Also returning to the squad this season is sophomore shooting guard Morgan Thompson, who was named second team all-conference and honorable mention all-district as a freshman.
“She was our second leading scorer last year at 14.5 points per game,” Esterak said. “Morgan is the most talented scorer I have ever coached. She can score from anywhere and you won’t find anyone that works harder — she lives in the gym. She will break every school scoring record by the time she graduates; she tied three of them as a freshman last year.”
Freshman Abbe Esterak will be manning the point guard spot this season.
“She has big shoes to fill, taking over for the departed Portage Trail Conference player of the year and Woodridge’s all-time leader in assists and steals, She’Kiera Brooks,” the coach stated. “She has a veteran group around her which will help, but I believe she is one of the most talented young point guards in the area. She is a very good ball-handler and has good court awareness, but she brings an added outside shooter to our team.”
According to the coach, this year’s team has “a good mix of veteran players and young players.”
“The most notable spots that we will be young will be on our bench and at our point guard position,” he said. “Filling in off the bench will be upperclassmen Sarah Kariotis, Alex Loprinzi, Angela DeBord, Sabrina Fisher and Paige Kinney. We will then have freshmen Aamirah Howard and Shayla Williams.”
This is Esterak’s sixth season at Woodridge and his 10th overall. His assistant coach is Jenna Steyer.
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