By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
0-0 career record
• Coaching Staff: Hannah Harnar, assistant; Lisa McCann, JV; Mike Stiles, 8th grade; Dean Dunlavy, 7th grade.
• 2022-23 Record: 15-7 overall; 6-2 Portage Trail Conference.
• Returning Letterwinners (4): Alexandria Morris, sr.; Emerson Smallfield, sr.; Bailey Long, jr.; Kristen Campbell, jr.
• Letterwinners Lost (5): Anna Keto, Cami McPeak, Sophia Fischer, Katie Long, Mackenzie Foor.
After two seasons as a varsity assistant, Ashley Callihan takes over for the Pirates.
She replaces Craig Nettleton, who resigned and is now the varsity girls coach at North Canton Hoover.
Callihan takes over a team that has a lot of depth in the backcourt and because of that, the Pirates will place a priority on playing an uptempo style.
“We will look to play to our strengths this year and get out in transition,” Callihan said. “We trust our players to make good decisions when they have the ball in their hands and to make the right reads within our offense.”
Callihan considers team chemistry and aggressive play as two of the most important areas if her team is going to have success.
“We want to play team basketball together as one unit. Defensively, if we can make teams uncomfortable, it will help feed into our offense.”
The team’s only returning starter is found in the backcourt with Morris.
The point guard led the team in made 3-pointers a year ago (17) and will look to be a long-distance shooting option again this season.
Alexandra Hrkach, a junior guard, was a JV player last year and made tremendous growth as a player. By the end of the season, she had earned some varsity minutes.
Campbell lettered, but was limited on the court because of an ACL injury. She has spent the off-season working very hard to come back strong.
“She is a very talented athlete, with great ball-handling skills and will make a huge impact on both ends of the floor when she returns to full health this season.”
Freshman Elliott Smallfield is a player Callihan says she is hoping will “make an immediate impact this season.”
Others adding depth to the backcourt include junior Bailey Long, senior Tonja Bradley, sophomore Bailey Morris and sophomore Sarah Craver.
Emerson Smallfield, Claire Dillner and Jenna Canale are three players that are likely to have a significant impact on the Pirates’ success this season.
Smallfield joined the team late last season, but is a veteran player.
“She is a very long, athletic forward that has a guard skill-set. We are looking for her to build on the momentum she generated for us at the end of last season.”
Dillner, a junior, is new to the varsity roster this season, but Callihan said the team will still rely on her.
“She brings much needed length and has a great basketball IQ.”
Canale is a freshman that is recovering from a back injury. She has the ability to score in multiple ways.
“We will need her to be aggressive this season.”
Bailey Morris, soph.; Sarah Craver, soph.; Jenna Canale, fresh.; Elliott Smallfield, fresh.
“We have to replace a lot of experience from last year’s team. It may take some time for everyone to adjust to their new roles this season.”
“The league is very strong this year. It is always a goal of ours to compete for a top spot in the league, but Rootstown is the defending champion from last year with a lot of returners and Mogadore returns the Player of the Year.”