JPC Central: Pioneers look to repeat
The snow is beginning to fly here in Roscommon County and to me, this means one thing…winter sports are here!
With the upcoming winter sports season, I thought I would continue something from the fall and do a special Jack Pine Central pre-season prediction for both the girls and boys basketball Jack Pine Conference seasons.
I am going to start with the girls this week seeing as their season starts (tomorrow) Friday. The boys do not start for another week so the pre-season JPC predictions will be in next week’s Resorter.
2012-13 JPC Girls
1. Clare Pioneers
The Pioneers return three key players that will help the defending champions reach a third straight title. Lindsay Winter, Melissa Benchley and Ashley Petree return to the squad after they all earned a spot on the All-JPC team last year. The Pioneers were undefeated last year and I do not see that changing this year.
2. Gladwin Flying G’s
I expect that the Flying G’s will make a vast improvement on last year’s fifth place finish in the league. They return Dani Balzer and Rashell Voracheck in addition to JJ Wilford who is an absolute animal in the paint and can easily bring down boards and put them right back up for points. The G’s look fairly solid this season.
3. Roscommon Bucks
The only thing that will hurt Roscommon this season will be their lack of experience. They lost a few seniors due to graduation but return big players in Michon VanWormer, Kalen Church, Morgan Romancky, Logan Hutek, Reagan Moffit, Amanda Reno and Sam Adams. What the Bucks lack in experience they will make up in intensity and athleticism. Like Coach Phil Weiler says, this Buck squad will win some games they should not and lose some that they should have won.
The Beavers have lost a ton of star power as well during the offseason including one player who was injured during the volleyball season. Janae Wolfe is back for Beaverton and she is one of the tougher players in the JPC to defend against. I expect Beaverton to make some noise in the conference.
Meridian is rebuilding this year after losing five players to graduation from a team that finished runners-up in the league last year. I think the fact of them losing this many players will drop them from title contention but will not necessarily put them at the bottom of the JPC.
Losing Lyndsay Ruckle is going to be huge for the Eagles this season. They will need Jenna Hamming to step up in a big way and take over this team, something that I am not sure she is capable of. Ruckle leaves big shoes to fill, which could cause some problems for Farwell. I expect Farwell to win a few games this season, however.
When I took a look at their team pic, I notice one thing about the Hornets this year...they are tall! I think the Hornets will be able to improve on a 0-13 season last year, picking up some wins. While they will not be near the top of the standings, I think the Hornets will be moving in the right direction.
8. Houghton Lake
The Bobcats are small this season. I mean this in terms of the actual size (height) of the team and size (numbers) of the team. The Bobcats have just eight players, which could cause problems. They have no room for injuries and everyone will need to be on their “A” game as they will all need to step up and play. The one good thing that will come from this season will be the fact that the younger players will get solid playing time, something that will be good for the future of Bobcat basketball.