Raider women loaded with local talent

FAIRBORN — The Wright State women’s basketball team was picked to finish seventh in the Horizon League pre-season poll, released by the league Tuesday.

Regular season champion Green Bay is the unanimous favorite to win this season’s title in as voted on by the league’s head coaches. Cleveland State’s Destiny Leo earned Preseason Player of the Year honors.

The Raiders were 8-24 overall last year and 6-14 in the HL. Need to replace top two scorers in Bryce Nixon (11.5 ppg) and Emily Chapman (9.7 ppg).

Junior guard Kacee Baumhower is the top returning scorer at 9.4 points per game. Other leading scorers back are grad student Cara VanKempen, who scored 6.2 points per game, sophomore guard Makiya Miller (5.9 ppg), and sophomore guard Lauren Scott (4.8 ppg)

Redshirt junior guard Makira Webster, senior forward Rachel Loobie, redshirt freshman Macie Taylor, and sophomore Catalina Ion are also returning.

What may be the most exciting for Raider fans is the cadre of newcomers to the roster led by several local standouts.

Senior graduate student Alexis Hutchison, who previously played at NCCAA Division-I Malone, and freshman guard Rylee Sagester — who is indisputably one of the best to ever play high school basketball in Ohio — highlight the list of area transfers, which also includes former Valley View star Claire Henson, and former Franklin standout Layne Ferrell.

Hutchison, who starred at Centerville, was third-team All-American averaging 18.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. She scored at least 10 points in all but two games last season.

Sagester was last season’s Ms. Basketball runner up and led Tri-Village to the Division-IV state championship. She averaged 21 points per game and also grabbed 3.5 rebounds and had 3.9 assists per game. Sagester scored 2,001 career points and made an Ohio High School Athletic Association-record 401 career three-point field goals — one of 14 in the nation with 400 or more three-pointers.

Claire Henson, a sophomore guard, played at Long Island last year, playing 13.7 minutes per game. She was Ohio D-II player of the year as a senior in 2022.

Ferrell, a redshirt senior guard, played three years at Akron (starting 59 games the last two) and averaged 9.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 30 games last season. Ferrell was All-Ohio and Division-II Southwest District player of the year in 2019.

Also joining the Raiders is Jada Tate, a forward grad student from Pickerington who played at Tiffin. She is the daughter of former OSU and UC standout Jermaine Tate and brother of former OSU and current NBA player Jae’Sean Tate. She averaged 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds last season.

Julia Hoefling, a forward graduate student, played four years at Loyola Chicago. The former state champion from Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame, played in 16 games last year after starting 29 of 30 the previous year while averaging 4.5 points and 5.2 rebounds.

The last newcomer is Ellie Magestro-Kennedy, a freshman guard from Wisconsin, who averaged 18.5 ppg, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists as a high school senior.

Raider men picked third in HL hoops

FAIRBORN — The Wright State men’s basketball team received 392 total votes and 12 first-place votes as the Raiders were selected third in the Horizon League preseason poll, the League announced Tuesday.

Additionally, Trey Calvin was selected as the league’s preseason player of the year with a spot on the first team, while Tanner Holden and Brandon Noel earned second team preseason honors.

Northern Kentucky earned 435 total points to claim the top spot in the preseason poll, with NKU notching 18 first-place votes. Milwaukee earned 10 first-place votes and 397 points in second just ahead of the Raiders, while Cleveland State (362 total points, one first-place) and Youngstown State (342 total points, three first-place) rounded out the top five in the preseason listing.

Calvin was named a first team performer by the Horizon League in 2022-23 after averaging 20.3 points per game, which was second in the Horizon League and a top 20 mark nationally. His 250 field goals made and 508 total field goal attempts both ranked inside the Top 25 nationally as well, while his 49.2 overall shooting percentage was eighth in the Horizon League last season. In addition to the Horizon League recognition, Calvin was also named to CBB Review’s Horizon League first team, was an HL all-conference selection by HoopsHD and an all-district performer by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) this spring.

Noel was named the Horizon League’s Freshman of the Year a season ago after appearing in all 33 games, averaging 13.0 points per game, the second-most on the roster, and pulling down a team-leading 8.7 rebounds per game. His 60.9 percent field goal shooting percentage was first in the Horizon and finished the year ranked 19th nationally as he collected 11 double-doubles. Noel recorded 23 double-figure scoring performances with seven games of 20-plus points in his first season of action while on the glass, he had 13 double-digit rebound games and five-plus rebounds in 28 contests. In addition to the Horizon League recognition, Noel earned top freshman honors from both CBB Review and HoopsHD, while his work in the classroom earned him Horizon League Winter Scholar-Athlete of the season honors.

Holden returns to Wright State for the 2023-24 season after spending a year at Ohio State. Holden has played in 92 career games for Wright State with 91 starts as a Raider, averaging 16.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals during three seasons at WSU. Holden averaged 20.1 points per game in 2021-22 when his 723 total points were the sixth-most nationally. A two-time Horizon League first team selection, along with being an HL All-Freshman performer, Holden was named to the 2021-22 Lou Henson All-America Team, which honors the nation’s best mid-major players in Division I college basketball.

Wright State’s non-conference schedule is highlighted by the season-opening visit to Colorado State on Nov. 10 followed days later with the home opener against Toledo on Nov. 14. The non-league schedule includes visits to Indiana (Nov. 16) and Davidson (Dec. 2), along with a trip to the Gulf Coast Showcase and five home non-conference contests. The Raiders later play six of their final nine Horizon League contests at home down the stretch to close the regular season heading into March.

Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.