Winter Sports preview — Girls basketball

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

Girls basketball team hopes to keep climbing in second year under Green

By Dan Kibler
For the Clemmons Courier

West Forsyth’s girls basketball team is four years removed from its NCHSAA 4-A state championship, and Catrina Green, the Titans’ second-year head coach, feels like things are back on the right track.

“We’re getting back to where we were, when people were saying, ‘West is the best.’,” Green said. “I told (the girls), this year, I want to win it. The big thing is, do they want to destroy other teams or play down to their level.”

Through four games, these Titans may not be ready to follow in the footsteps of the 2018-19 team, which finished 27-3 and raced through the state playoffs. But they’re several steps ahead of last season, when they finished 8-14 overall, 6-7 in conference play and lost in the semifinals of the Central Piedmont 4A tournament.

“We’re much better,” Green said. “The biggest thing is the trust factor. I came in late, and I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with them before last season. This year, they trust me and want to work harder. We want to get better.

“This time last year, we were 0-2. We didn’t get our first win until we started conference play. I think every game, we get closer and closer to jelling. When our conference play starts (Dec. 9 at Mount Tabor), we’ll have a pretty good understanding about what kind of team we are.”

However things work out for Green, a former Western Guilford and Gardner-Webb player in her first high-school coaching job after working as an assistant in several college programs, will largely depend on how the team works around an outstanding centerpiece, Jeanna Baskerville, a talented, 6-foot-2 freshman who is the Titans’ leading scorer and a big offensive threat already.

Baskerville is a familiar name around West Forsyth. Her older sister, Shakira, played on the Titans’ state-championship team and is a sophomore playing at High Point University — one of three West Forsyth players on the Panthers’ roster.

“She comes from a basketball family,” Green said. “Her sister was here, her mom played at Winston-Salem State, and her brother (A.J.) plays on the boys team here.

“She has come in and made an immediate impact. She is very coachable, and she is at the very tip of her greatness. She is a commanding presence on the court.”

Baskerville plays inside for the Titans, where she is quick to the offensive boards and is a weapon whenever the ball is in her hands, wherever she is on the court.

Developing other weapons to complement Baskerville is Green’s immediate task.

“When we played Reynolds (in the Mary Garber Holiday Tip-Off Classic), several times they had four players surrounding her inside,” Green said. “We have to try and keep everybody moving on offense, trying to ensure that our offense gets everybody involved if the opponents collapse on her. We’ve got to have people step up and hit outside shots, because she can pass out of their for assists.”

Green has a handful of players who she’s hoping will complement Baskerville and make the Titans a real threat in the conference and beyond. Most of them are underclassmen. The most important, however, may be 5-foot-5 senior guard Abby Hunter.

“She is our tough kid, does the dirty work, gets on the floor,” Green said.

Emma Staples, a 5-foot-5 sophomore, starts at point guard.

“We are looking at her to make some good reads,” Green said.

Campbell McClain, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, and Alexis Waters, a 5-foot-8 junior are West’s other frontcourt starters.

“They are our other two bigs; they’ll get in and get rebounds, and they’ve got good shooting range outside of the post,” Green said. “They can bring bigger defenders outside with them.”

Two other juniors — Nia Gary and Kara Desai — and two other freshmen — Isa Gil and Brooklyn King — are in the rotation through the first four games and will likely have big roles to play as the season progresses.

Green also expects to get some help from Callie Scheier, the MVP of the Titans’ state-championship run and the starting point guard at High Point. She has been working with West’s girls team; Green said she “gives our girls a lot of hope and maturity.”

West Forsyth Varsity Girls Basketball 2022-23

2—Nia Gary
3—Marissa Vernon
10—Emma Staples
11—Campbell McClain
12—Abby Hunter
15 – Kara Desai
21—Isabel Gil
22 – Jeanna Baskerville
23 – Binta Barry
24 – Brooklynn King
25 – Genysis Howard
30 – Alexis Waters
Head Coach: Catrina Green
Assistant coaches: Johnny Hill, Bri Frizzell