To do that, the two teams’ coaches, who have each been at the school since it opened, will be reliant on their rosters’ depth.
Both Creekview teams began the 2011-12 season with non-region wins against River Ridge on Thursday night at the War Lodge.
With a 52-40 win, the Lady Grizzlies recorded their first win in what will be a season that they try to match last year’s impressive win total of 24, the highest single-season win total in the program’s seven-year history.
As a new member of a highly competitive region, girls coach Roger Nolan believes the Lady Grizzlies will face an uphill battle to win their third region title in a row.
“It would be nice to win the region, and I think we have the talent to do it again,” he said. “Kell is probably the favorite, but we’re capable of it.”
To prevail, Nolan will rely on a squad that returns three starters from last year and four players near 6 feet tall.
Expected to start for Creekview are three seniors — guard Hannah Hunter, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, forward Emma Cook and guard Hannah Murphy.
Nolan also expects Deanna Blankenship, Lauren Johnson, Alex Saddler, Ella Wilkie and Meghan Nay to see significant minutes.
“I feel like we have 10 or 11 girls that can really play,” Nolan said. “I didn’t know that at first, but after watching our scrimmages, I’d say we have some good depth.”
With Cook, Wilkie, and Nay all standing at 6 feet or taller, with Blankenship just under at 5-11, Nolan believes the Lady Grizzlies’ ability to win the rebound battle with be vital this season.
“If we can win in the rebound category, we’ll have a very good chance of winning a lot of games this season,” he said.
Though Casey Gramling’s boys team may not be coming off of a 20-win season, he is optimistic that the Creekview girls won’t be the only one competing for a region title this season.
“It’s a tough region were in,” Gramling said. “From top to bottom, it’s very competitive. There are no teams that you can look at and say, ‘That’s a win.’ The region title is wide-open.”
Though Gramling knows the Grizzlies most likely won’t be a favorite to win the region crown, he is certain that it is a realistic goal.
“There are four or five teams that could all win this region, and I’d say we are one of them,” he said.
Gramling was pleased to see that, in the Grizzlies’ 63-48 win over River Ridge, four players broke double digits in scoring.
“If we have four players scoring in double figures every night, we’re going to have some good nights,” Gramling said. “I have five or six kids that could lead us in scoring each night.”
With no player that stands out above the rest, Gramling believes the success of his team’s season will be determined by the players’ willingness to spread the ball around the court.
“If we get a lot of different kids scoring, we will be hard to beat,” he said. “If we get selfish, we could get beat by anybody.”
Gramling expects to field a starting lineup of top returning scorer Brandon Pressley, power forward Matt Leahy — who led the team Thursday with 14 points — guard Griffin Ghesquiere and shooting guard Beau Blackwell.
Either Austin Graham, Chandler Hamby or Damon Powers will likely fill the fifth spot.