George Washington HS Girls Basketball: My Site News

Sunday, December 2
LaMaster: GW hoping 'to take that next step'
November 26, 2012
LaMaster: GW hoping 'to take that next step'
Girls basketball season preview
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George Washington coach Jamie LaMaster is getting a good vibe.

"They make me feel good whenever I watch them play and work out,' he said of his players. "They're giving me a lot of faith. It doesn't feel like a new season to us. It doesn't really feel like we've quit. I feel like they picked up from last year.'

The Patriots, who return four starters, advanced to the Class AAA state tournament semifinals the past two seasons and seem more than ready to take the next step. High school girls basketball teams may begin playing games today, but most in the Kanawha Valley open next week.

"They want to continue to keep it going,' said LaMaster. "They want to get back. I think with the back-to-back state semis finishes, these kids know what it feels like to be a sectional champion and regional champion.

"Hopefully, this is the year. As far as punching through to the state title game, I think we can. It's a goal for us to take that next step. I think there's a lot that comes before that. They're ready to make a run at it.'

GW finished with a 17-10 overall record last season and upset second-seeded South Charleston in the quarterfinals of the state tournament before falling to eventual state champion Greenbrier East.

Patriots senior guard Rachel Ward, junior post player Kelli Jo Harrison, sophomore point guard Alanna Mobayed, senior guard Kayla Stewart and sophomore guard Hailey Stewart return to their starting positions. Ward averaged 12.8 points and Harrison tossed in 12.1. GW seniors Eva Roberts and Leslie Gilmore will add depth off the bench, as will sophomores Lilly Ash and Maria Romeo.

"We have the experience,' LaMaster said. "We feel good about several positions, but we're looking for several other kids to fill spots and add some depth. I feel like overall, we're more athletic. We may be a little smaller, but we're a whole lot faster.'



Tuesday, November 13
Girls basketball: Patriots to lean on experience
Girls basketball: Patriots to lean on experience
George Washington shooting guard Rachel Ward, right, is one of three returning starters this season for the Patriots.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After making the semifinals of the State Tournament the last two years and three times since he took over the George Washington girls basketball program in 2004, Jamie LaMaster feels like this is a make-it-or-break-it year for his Patriots.

"We return seven players including three starters," LaMaster said. "This is the most four-year seniors I've ever had."

Those are shooting guard Rachel Ward, post players Eva Roberts and Leslie Gilmore and guard Kayla Stewart. Ward is also one of the trio of starters returning from last season's 17-10 team that sputtered mid-season but took off down the stretch.

The other starters back are junior post player Kelli Harrison and sophomore point guard Alana Mobayed.

"Of course, we lost a big inside presence in Alexa Peoples," LaMaster said. "And we lost Adrian Cunningham, who did a little bit of everything."

Peoples led the squad averaging 14.1 points and 9.2 rebounds.

A Class AA All-State player at Poca, Cunningham transferred to GW when the Dots program folded in December. She averaged 9.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.2 steals during her time with the Patriots.

LaMaster, though, prefers to look ahead.

"Consistency is what I am looking for now," he said. "Of course we would like to take it one step further and play on Saturday night this year."

The 6-foot Harrison will be expected to take over much of the scoring and rebounding load inside after averaging 12 points and eight rebounds a year ago. Ward averaged 12.8 points and 2.3 assists last season, while Mobayed averaged 5.3 points and 3.6 assists.

All of those returning players have been to either one or two state tournaments.

"It's good they have that experience," LaMaster said.

He looks for there to be 18 to 20 players on the roster by the time the soccer players who just finished their season come out.

The final two spots in the starting lineup have not been determined yet and some of who plays "will be dictated by who we are playing," LaMaster said.

"Sometimes it will be based on what we are doing well."

Roberts, Gilmore, or maybe sophomore Lilly Ash may be in the game when the Patriots want to "go big" while Stewart and her sophomore sister, Hailey, could be in against zone defenses or when GW presses.

"Kayla can knock it down against a zone," LaMaster said. "Eva and Leslie or Lilly and Eva or Leslie could be in together sometimes when we want to pound the ball inside."

The Patriots' non-conference schedule is pretty tough with defending state champion Greenbrier East, last year's Class AAA runner-up Bridgeport, and perennial power Parkersburg South listed. There is also the home opener against returning state tournament qualifier Wheeling Park just over the horizon on Dec. 8.

"We'll find out real quick how good this team is going to be," LaMaster said. "They looked real good in summer league games and have looked good this fall and in practice, but you can't tell what you've got until the games really count."

What he hopes to have is a free courtside seat for the final game of this season's State Tournament.



Monday, November 5
GW looks strong again as girls basketball practices get under way
GW looks strong again as girls basketball practices get under way

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington opened practice Monday with high expectations, and rightfully so.

The Patriots return seven players, including four starters, from last year's team that advanced to the Class AAA state tournament semifinals for the second straight year.

"I'm really pleased with what I'm seeing right now,' said GW coach Jamie LaMaster. "You've got girls that have seen it.

"They don't know what it's like not playing for regional and state titles. They know the feeling of having success. They know what it's going to take to get where we want to go. Today is where it's going to start. It's right now.'

GW finished with a 17-10 overall record and upset second-seeded South Charleston in the quarterfinals of the state tournament before falling to eventual state champion Greenbrier East.

Patriots senior guard Rachel Ward, junior post player Kelli Jo Harrison, sophomore point guard Alanna Mobayed and senior guard Kayla Stewart return. Ward averaged 12.8 points while Harrison tossed in 12.1. GW seniors Eva Roberts and Leslie Gilmore will add depth off the bench.

"We just hope we pick up and carry from where we were the last two years,' LaMaster said. "I've had great turnouts for our fall ball and conditioning practices. They've put a lot of work in the fall and summer and hopefully that's going to pay off.

"They've worked really hard for me in the offseason. Now it starts counting. It's for keeps now. We want to constantly have that attitude. We're looking to them as coaches and saying, 'You don't want to be the class that drops the ball.' '