Steve Cassity enjoyed many years of success as the girls coach at Hickman Mills. Success is expected to follow him to Truman.

Steve Cassity enjoyed many years of success as the girls coach at Hickman Mills.

Success is expected to follow him to Truman.

The Examiner’s coaches poll has Truman as the strong choice to claim a third consecutive championship followed by William Chrisman and Park Hill. Oak Park and Park Hill South tied for fourth and Winnetonka placed sixth.

Cassity, who replaced veteran coach Pete Hile, has letter winners Kassidy Ritchel, Becca Strobbe, Courtney Eisman, Mikaela Jensen and Sara Ruckman returning from a 19-9 team that advanced to the state Class 5 quarterfinals.

“Truman has a strong tradition in girls basketball and last year was no exception,” Cassity said. “While I would not characterize this season as a rebuilding year, the team did graduate several seniors. Some players will have to step up and prove that they are full-time varsity level players. I have confidence that we can be another great team in the Truman tradition.

“But the team will have to learn to compete with more intensity if we are going to build on last year’s success.”

WILLIAM CHRISMAN: he Bears placed second in the conference last year at 7-3 in going 16-11 overall.

Letter winners Brittany McQuain, Ciara Reed and Ciera Redditt and newcomers Vini HoChee, Katie Bobbitt, Calle Edwards, Amy Wendleton and Mariah Wheaton give Chrisman another solid look.

“Chrisman’s goal is to win conference,” coach Lindsay Thompson said. “Our three returning letter winners are strong and were decided to improving their game in the off season. We also want to increase our outside shooting.”

PARK HILL: Eight letter winners, including four starters, boost Park Hill’s hopes of challenging for the conference title.

“Experience will be a strength of this team,” coach Brian Rockers said. “Leadership and team chemistry will be the keys to have a successful season.”

Letter winners from an 11-15 team are Katy Plummer, Laura Bennett, Mackenzie Janner, Emma Gossett, Helena Hudson, Liza Hill, Spenser Rhodus and Kyleeshia Weston.

OAK PARK: Anthony Abbott, who formerly was the boys coach at St. Mary’s, takes over the Oak Park program.

“This year we have the potential to perform well,” he said. “We return six girls who logged significant varsity minutes last season.

“Height is not a strong point, so we will have to rebound and defend well in order to stay competitive.”

Melissa Jesse, Courtney Kellogg, Amber Dreher, Danni Wilkerson, Susan Leimkuhler and Jamie Stock return from an 8-18 team.

PARK HILL SOUTH: The Jaguars rebuild around letter winners Courtney Stout, Jenna Disselhoff and Stephanie Griffith.

“We return two starters after losing five seniors,” coach Jenny Orlowski said. “Newcomers Mallory Ross and Haley Shelton offer height at our post position while our leading scorer, Stout, returns to the lineup.

“We are looking to run a more up-tempo game and to continue building on our successful (16-11) season last year.”

WINNETONKA: Eight letters winners lead Winnetonka’s bid to bounce back from a 5-19 season.

“A weakness is a lack of playing experience,” coach Mike Cox said. “But we have an excellent attitude and play very hard. I really enjoy coaching this group of kids.

“I am hopeful we show improvement from last season. The senior class has excellent leadership qualities.”

Letter winners are Vanessa Rocha, Lauren McMinn, Tee Maul, Courtney Clemons, Ejehi Ehoulvon, Ashley Phillips, Adrianna Green and Jackie Rogers.

Suburban Big Six Girls

Basketball Coaches Poll

School          1    2    3    4    5        TP

1. Truman    5    0    0    0    0    —    5

2. William Chrisman    1    3    1    0    0    —    10

3. Park Hill    0    2    2    1    0    —    14

4. Oak Park    0    0    2    2    1    —    19

    Park Hill South    0    1    1    1    2    —    19

6. Winnetonka    0    0    0    2    3    —    23