12/6/2012 10:03:00 AM Basketball preview: Expectations high for Central Catholic girls
Central Catholic photo
Central Catholic girls basketball schedule
Dec. 14 — away vs. Jesuit Dec. 20-22 — Nike Tournament of Champions Dec. 27-30 — Nike Interstate Shootout Jan. 4 — away vs. Barlow Jan. 7 — away vs. David Douglas Jan. 9 — away vs. Gresham Jan. 10 — home vs. Southridge Jan. 15 — away vs. St. Mary’s Academy Jan. 18 — home vs. Reynolds Jan. 25 — away vs. Centennial Jan. 29 — home vs. Barlow Feb. 1 — home vs. David Douglas Feb. 5 — home vs. Gresham Feb. 12 — home vs. St. Mary’s Academy Feb. 15 — away vs. Reynolds Feb. 20 — home vs. Centennial
It’s no secret that expectations for the Central Catholic Rams are high this winter. And it’s also no secret that the Rams are talented enough to warrant such high consideration.
Central Catholic went 26-2 en route to a third-place finish at last year’s 6A state tournament. The fact that six seniors return, alone, would generate high expectations for the upcoming year. However, in that senior group, head coach Sandy Dickerson returns two of the top players in the state in guard Jordan Reynolds and post Kailee Johnson.
Both have already committed to the colleges of their choice. Reynolds will attend Tennessee, while Johnson will go to Stanford. Reynolds, the reigning Oregon State 6A Player of the Year, averaged 18.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 4.8 steals last season. Johnson averaged 13.4 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game in earning second team all-state accolades.
“With both of them having already decided on their colleges, they can now really enjoy their senior year,” Dickerson said of Reynolds and Johnson. “They can just go out and play ball.”
Other returning seniors include Amantha Hood, Tyleur Kotzian-Upshaw, Allie Cichoke and Rebecca Westby, giving the Rams the benefit of solid senior leadership.
“All six of our seniors are great teachers and role models for our younger players to follow,” Dickerson said.
With Reynolds and Johnson grabbing most of the attention, Dickerson feels Hood is often the Rams’ most overlooked player. Considered one of the team’s strongest players, Hood averaged 9.0 points and 4.0 boards per game last year. Kotzian-Upshaw gives Central Catholic another scoring threat from the wing, as she averaged just under 10 points per game last season.
“Amantha can post you up, but she also does a good job going around people,” Dickerson said. “Tyleur gives us another explosive player on the wing.”
Sophomore Amirah Abraham returns to the backcourt mix after seeing significant playing time as a freshman. Transfer Kyra Logan and freshman Alisha Henderson will also look for time in the backcourt.
Henderson is one of four freshmen that could see action for the Rams this winter. A trio of frosh, Zharia Hale, Lucy Criswell and Samantha Nizich could help bolster depth in the front court.
“Zharia is a great athlete and she’ll compete with the seniors,” Dickerson said. “Lucy and Sam, both, had great tryouts. Lucy does a good job inside and can play outside as well. Sam, after learning the system, will give us another post and wing.”