BASKETBALL: Saline Girls Shoot for Another Great Season of Basketball
Expectations are high for the Saline varsity girls basketball team that returns a ton of talent from last year - a year in which the Hornets shared the SEC crown and won a district championship
But despite the return of varsity guards like Kate Stemer, Keira Roehm, Kadyn Maida and Hadley Griffin, Saline will be challenged - particularly in the rebounding department, where the Hornets graduated Beth Ann Ford, Taylor Kangas and Anna Hesse.
“We lost an amazing senior class, but somehow it feels like we have an amazing veteran team again,” said Saline head coach Leigh Ann Roehm. “But we feel very veteran and very skilled at the guard spot. Our four guards can play with any other guards in the state. They can really shoot the three, they have high IQs and they can defend.”
They’ll be reinforced by quality back-ups from last year’s squad and members of a JV team that went 21-0 last year.
“I am really excited about this group,” Roehm said.
Kate Stemmer, who’ll play basketball at Northwood next year, is a four-year varsity player.
“There’s not anyone in the state that works harder than her. She’s a vocal leader. She never takes a playoff. She’s not human in how she works defensively and how she goes at it,” Roehm said. “She’s improved her offensive game and I think we’re going to see her put some numbers up this season. She’s really shooting it and getting to the rim.”
Keira Roehm is a returning All-SEC guard. All Roehm did was hit 60 three-pointers, including a buzzer-beater that won a game at Pioneer.
“She’s still shooting like a rocket,” Roehm said of her daughter. “But she’s improving aspects of her game, getting to the rim and shooting off the dribble. She’s gotten stronger and faster.”
Junior Kadyn Maida, a third-year varsity Hornet, is showing signs that she’ll take her game to the next level.
Where the other guards are known for their distance shooting, Maida loves to attack the rim.
“She’s a perfect compliment to the other guards. She’s an athletic slasher,” Roehm said. “She rounds out our attack. She’s evolved over the last year.”
Senior Hadley Griffin is the fourth starting guard. She hit five three-pointers in a scrimmage against Northville.
“Her confidence is at a high right now. She just has an air about her now that she’s ready to take over games,” Roehm said.
Sophomore Ayla Stager is expected to start at center. It’s an admittedly big role for a young player to take on - especially given some of the other centers in the league.
“She’s really flexible. She might be more natural on the wing, but with her height and the makeup of our group, we need her in the post,” Roehm said.
Fellow sophomore Megan Sweet, from whom Roehm has high hopes, will also see time in the post. Roehm said he's more of a natural post player and she expects a lot of growth from her this season.
Rebounding won’t fall only to the sophomores.
“It’s going to be a team effort. We need to outwork and box out better than opponents,” Roehm said.
The Roth twins, Grace and Abby, known for their distance running, are expected to help the offense. Both can score from distance. Seniors Bailey Burt, who had a couple of big moments last season, Aislinn McPeek and Lindsey Clark will help the Hornets. Junior Abby Zensyuk also figures into Roehm’s plans.
Roehm said the Hornets will be in the hunt to win the SEC Red, which features tough competition in Bedford and Pioneer. Saline also has designs on a district championship, even if the Hornets drew a district with highly-ranked teams like Belleville and Wayne Memorial.
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