By Ryan Isley
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be taking a job-by-job review of some of Ohio’s top high school girls basketball players.
Our first list focused on the point guard, and now we move on to the shooting goaltenders.
There are hundreds of outstanding female basketball players in Ohio, and these lists don’t claim to be exhaustive! Use the comments section to discuss other shooting guards worthy of fan attention in 2021-2022.
Pictured above is Newark’s Gwen Stare (photo by Gabe Haferman).
Gia Casalinova, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, junior, 5’8 “
Was named the All-Ohio second team last season after averaging 17.9 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 58.1% from the field and 41.8% of 3. She enters her junior season No. 8 on CVCA’s all-time scorers list. Helped CVCA win a share of the conference title last season as well as the school’s first district championship.
Emma Dretke, Massillon Jackson, senior, 6’0 “
Special Mention All-Ohio last season, she averaged 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. She’s a four-year college debutante for Jackson. She is a lethal 3-point shooter but can play indoors or outdoors. She has pledged to play next year at Walsh University.
Chance Gray, Winton Woods, senior, 5’9 “
Transferred from Lakota West after winning All-Ohio first team honors last season with 25 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game. A very hard worker who has a huge impact on both ends of the field. She works extremely hard on the ball to start the defense. Due to the way she is often defended, she is a tireless worker without the ball in her hands – in constant motion – but extremely selfless in passing the ball and trying to prepare her teammates for success. She is engaged at the University of Oregon.
Lexi Howe, Tri-Valley, junior, 5’9 ”
Was named the All-Ohio second team last season with 15.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. She can score in so many ways as she is very explosive and can reach for the basket, has a great post game for a shooting guard and can shoot the ball as well. Defensively, she is a very strong defender.
Leila Jones, Westerville South, junior, 5’8 “
A natural scorer who can create his own shot and hit from anywhere on the ground and can handle the ball. She is a selfless player who is ready to take over the defense and dive to the ground for a loose ball. She is engaged at Akron University.
Grace Kingrey, North Ridgeville, sophomore, 6’1 “
She was named the All-Ohio Special Mention as a freshman, when she hit 67 3 points and scored 16 points per game. She also averaged five rebounds, 2.2 blocks, two assists and two steals per game. During the offseason she got stronger and added to her lineup. She scores from all over the field and averaged over 19 points and seven rebounds per game in the first two weeks of the season.
Jenna Kopyar, Dublin Coffman, junior, 5’8 “
She averaged 12.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season, winning first-team all-conference honors and was also named All-Ohio Second Team. She is considered one of the best shooters in the region. She is the ultimate competitor and leads by example.
Rylee Leonard, Eastern Brown, junior, 5’6 “
Named to Division III All-Ohio first team last season in sophomore with 20.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.7 steals per game. She has proven to be an excellent shooter but can also lead by a defender thanks to her speed. It is also a very good ball controller. She joined Thomas More University.
Cotie McMahon, Centerville, senior, 5’11 ”
Won All-Ohio premier tam honors last season averaging 20.2 points per game and double-digit each game. She is good at driving the ball to the basket and finishing. She can also shoot from the perimeter. She signed to play at Ohio State.
Sarah Ochs, Dayton Carroll, senior, 5’5 “
Was named All-Ohio second team last season and all-district first team after averaging 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, two assists and 2.6 steals per game. She’s a great shot and has got off to a good start this season, averaging 22.3 points per game on 43.8% shots from behind the arc. She has a high basketball IQ and is a good defender. As a team, they helped lead the Patriots to a 77-11 record over three seasons and three back-to-back regional championships.
Leena Patibandla, Massillon Jackson, junior, 5’11 ”
Won all-conference honors last season and is a face-off problem for most defenders due to his ability to handle the ball and pass for someone his size. She can pass and rebound well for position. She is a defensive asset as she can keep multiple points, including going out on the opposing team’s top scorer. She was named Stark County Female Athlete of the Year for 2020-21 after being a member of all counties in volleyball (helping the team to the regional finals the past two years), basketball and track and field (qualifying for a ‘State in discus and high jump last season).
Claudia Pifher, Buckeye Central, senior, 5’9 “
Average 18.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 2.4 assists and 0.7 blocks per game while shooting 43% to 3 points and 59% from the field last year. She’s an excellent shooter and set the school’s 3-point record in a single season as a rookie with 58 marks. She was named the All-Ohio second team last season and would become the first-ever All-Ohio four-time on the program if she finds a spot on this year’s squads. She enlisted at the Dominican University of Ohio.
Abbie Riddle, Liberty Union, junior, 5’10 “
Average 16.9 points per game in sophomore last season and was named All-Ohio third team. She’s a great perimeter shooter, but she can also drive all the way to the basket. She has great vision and is a great decision maker on the pitch.
Gwen Stare, Newark, senior, 5’9 “
Likes to attack the basket and can do it from the left or right. Also has a good midrange and perimeter rider. She has great instincts and combines that with a high basketball IQ. She’s also a great rebounder from the guard post. Was named All-Ohio Honorable Mention last year in Division I, as well as conference first team.
Macie Taylor, Troy, senior, 5’7 “
A year ago, she averaged 17 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 3.8 assists, leading the team in goals, assists and steals and was second in the team for rebounds. She is a dangerous shooter from the outside and can be shot quickly. She is a 1,000-point scorer and holds the school’s career average scoring record and will become the all-time leading scorer in school history this season. She was named an All-League first-team player last season and signed to play at Wright State.
Brooklyn Thrash, Elmwood, senior, 6’0 “
Named second All-Ohio team in Division II last season with 21.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.5 steals and 4.6 assists per game. She is a versatile player who has a great understanding of the game. She is extremely quick and very cunning, which makes her very good on defense. She manages the court so well that it allows her to score in transition. She is expected to exceed 2,000 career points this season.
Hailey Unger, Arcane, senior, 5’8 ”
Named to All-Ohio’s first-team in Division III a season ago with 19.4 points, four rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.2 steals per game. She is a great athlete who can score from anywhere on the pitch. His athleticism places his game at a level difficult to match both offensively and defensively.
Corri Vermilya, Loudonville, second year, 5’9 ”
Named All-Ohio Special Mention last season as a freshman and opened this season by showing why, as she scored 29 points and picked up 12 rebounds for a double-double, then backed it up with a triple-double in of the next game, scoring 32 points with 13 rebounds and 10 steals. Scored 30 or more goals in three of the team’s first five games. She’s a great dribbling scorer but can shoot from the perimeter as well. She is an excellent rebounder and shot blocker from the guard post.
Ella Wigal, Granville, junior, 5’10 ”
Named Central Ohio Division II Player of the Year, Conference Player of the Year and All-Ohio Second Team last season with 14 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. She can play either wing spot and stands out for how well she can attack in transition. She holds several Division I college offers.
Sole Williams, Princeton, junior, 5’8 “
After missing last season with an ankle injury, she made up for lost time by scoring a total of 56 points in the first two games of the season. Sole can score on all three levels, has excellent pitch vision, can rebound from guard and is an all-round competitor. Sole improves his teammates and ignites the high-level rhythm that Princeton plays. Her work ethic separates her from most student-athletes on and off the floor, both in the classroom and on the basketball court.