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Goals remain the same for Champion girls

Flashes have won two straight league titles

CHAMPION — Whatever the sport, the Champion girls are sure to compete at a high level. Whether it’s the multiple state champion softball team, soccer, or Flashes basketball, Champion always has a chance for a great season.

Coming off of four consecutive 20-win seasons, it should be more of the same this year on the hardwood. The Flashes won the district championship in 2019, and have won back-to-back All-American Conference Blue tier titles.

“We expect to compete for a league, and a district title,” coach Michael Cole said. ” I always have the philosophy, get really good at one thing, and pretty good at another, and then you’re set. We score a lot off of our defensive press. We practice man as well, if teams are beating our press. Toward the end of the year, we went to the post to score. I have two pretty good posts.”

Seniors Emma Gumont, and Brooke Whitt control the game down low for the Flashes.

“Gumont had 38 points in the district final,” Cole said. ” She was the Northeast Inland (district) player of the year last year. She’s a four-year starter. She went over 1,000 career points as a junior. Even though she’s around 5-11, she’s probably the fastest kid on the team. She’s very fast. She shoots from outside and slashes to the hoop. She can score on all three levels.”

” Brooke has led us in rebounds since her sophomore year. She’s a double-digit scorer. She’s a very tough, and physical player. She’s stretched her game out to the 3-point line as well.”

The Flashes top three scorers are back, including junior Ava Howell. They are also adding faces from an 18-win JV team.

“Ava ran the point when she was younger,” Cole said. “She moved to shooting guard last year. She has a really good mid-range game. She’ll be back at the point again this season. Lauren Fife, and Madison Stewart are two seniors coming to the team from the junior varsity. They are both smart players, and strong defenders. Mady Jones is a junior that will also contribute.”

Allison Smith and Savannah Dodrill graduated. Dodrill is the program’s all-time leader in steals averaging nearly five a game. Her sister, junior Lorinda Dodrill, joins the varsity in 2020.

“Lorinda could end up being the best 3-point shooter we’ve ever coached here,” Cole said. “She hit 60 of them on the junior varsity last year.”

Winning the conference again this year won’t be easy as the Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference Gray Tier has some fierce competition.

“For the size of our schools, the league plays some really quality basketball,” Cole said. “Newton Falls was the only team in the league that beat us last year. They probably have the best point guard in the league in Bree Hutson. Then you have Crestview, Liberty, LaBrae, and Brookfield. Anyone can beat anyone.”

If this season is completed, the Flashes will rely on ball movement to achieve their goals.

“We’ll use the pick and roll offensively,” Cole said. “Winning a district championship is the most important goal. It’s a good cap to the season. I think it shows where you’re at as a program. We’re not sure when the season will start. It’s out of our control.”

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