A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ryle girls’ basketball team rested and ready for post-season playoffs that begin next week

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The Ryle girls’ basketball team didn’t play any games during the final week of the regular season. Head coach Katie Haitz said she saved those dates in case she had to reschedule any cancelled games, but there was another reason in the back of her mind.

Last year, two starting players were injured in Ryle’s last regular season game and the team lost in the first round of the 33rd District playoffs with them watching from the bench.

With coach Katie Haitz watching for the sideline, Ryle junior guard Lauren Schwartz gets set to launch a 3-point shot. (File photo by Bob Jackson)

With all the success the Raiders have had this season, the coach welcomed the chance to take a break from competition this week and prepare for the playoffs without any unexpected setbacks.

“We’ve had a great season,” Haitz said. “We’ve played a tough schedule and we do that so we’ll be prepared for the end. We’ve definitely put ourselves in a good position (for the playoffs).”

Ryle has never won a 9th Region championship in girls’ basketball, but this year’s team has the talent to do it. The Raiders have a 23-6 record that includes a 12-1 mark against region opponents. They are ranked No. 1 in the region by local coaches and in the latest statewide power ratings.

Most of Ryle’s wins have been by double-digit margins The team is averaging 64.7 points per game while giving up 49.3 for an average winning margin of 15.4 points. And the Raiders are doing it with two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman in the starting lineup.

“This whole year has been about defense for us,” coach Haitz said. “We know that our offense is always going to be strong, so when we play strong defense and keep teams under 55 points we’re gong to win the game more often than not.”

Two players have done 42 percent of the team’s scoring. Junior guard Lauren Schwartz is averaging 18.2 points and sophomore guard Maddie Scherr is averaging 15.9. Both of them are shooting 47 percent from the field overall and they’ve made 90 of the team’s 151 3-point goals.

The other three players in the starting lineup – junior Juliet McGregor, sophomore Jaden Douthit and freshman Brie Crittendon – are also listed as guards. They have a combined average of 24 points per game in the Raiders’ up-tempo style of play.

Ryle’s starting lineup includes, left to right, Juliet McGregor, Brie Crittendon, Lauren Schwartz, Maddie Scherr and Jaiden Douthit. (Photo by Bob Jackson)

“Chemistry is a huge part of it,” Haitz said of her team’s success. “They’re unselfish with the ball, and that’s what you want. Lauren and Maddie know when they need to take over a game, but they mostly want to get everybody involved. They know if they’re the only two shooting it’s going to be easy to guard us. We’re hard to guard because everybody on the floor is making sure they’re looking to be offensive threats.”

Schwartz and Scherr were both starters on the Ryle team that lost to Holmes, 45-42, in the 2016 9th Region championship game and finished with a 24-7 record in Haitz’s first year as head coach.

After last year’s team struggled and finished with a 15-16 record, those two players wanted to do whatever it took to make the Raiders regional contenders once again. Instead of being prolific scorers, they’ve been sharing the ball in the team’s transition offense.

“Me and Maddie talked about it before the season,” Schwartz said. “We said, ‘We don’t care about the points (we get) and all that. We’re going to get everybody else involved and it’s going to be a fun year.’ And it has.”

Winning the program’s first regional championship would make it an even better year. With no seniors in the starting lineup, Schwartz and Scherr are the veteran players who need to lead the way.

“We’ve both been playing (on varsity) for four years and think we have the maturity now,” Schwartz said. “We’re going to be the first team to do it, I think. This is our year.”

Ryle will play Boone County in the opening game of the 33rd District tournament at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ryle with the winner clinching a berth in next week’s 9th Region tournament at BB&T Arena. Here are the schedules for all 12 district tournaments that include teams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.

Girls district tournament schedules

32nd DISTRICT AT WALTON-VERONA
Monday, Feb. 19

Simon Kenton vs. Williamstown, 6 p.m.
Walton-Verona vs. Grant County, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 22
Championship game, 7 p.m.

33rd DISTRICT AT RYLE
Tuesday, Feb. 20

Ryle vs. Boone County, 6 p.m.
Conner vs. Cooper, 8 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 22
Championship game, 7 p.m.

34th DISTRICT AT LUDLOW
Monday, Feb. 19

Lloyd vs. Villa Madonna, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 20
Dixie Heights vs. Lloyd-Villa Madonna winner, 6 p.m.
St. Henry vs. Ludlow, 7:45 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 23
Championship game, 6 p.m.

35th DISTRICT AT NOTRE DAME
Tuesday, Feb. 20
Holmes vs. Beechwood, 6 p.m.
Holy Cross vs. Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 22
Championship game, 7 p.m.

36th DISTRICT AT HIGHLANDS
Monday, Feb. 19
Bellevue vs. Dayton, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 20
Highlands vs. Bellevue-Dayton winner, 6 p.m.
Newport vs. Newport Central Catholic, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 22
Championship game, 7 p.m.

37th DISTRICT AT CAMPBELL COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL
Monday, Feb. 19

Calvary Christian vs. Silver Grove, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 20
Campbell County vs. Calvary Christian-Silver Grove winner, 6 p.m.
Scott vs. Brossart, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 22
Championship game, 7 p.m.

Boys district tournament schedules

32nd DISTRICT AT WALTON-VERONA
Tuesday, Feb. 20

Walton-Verona vs. Williamstown, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Simon Kenton vs. Grant County, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 23
Championship game, 7 p.m.

33rd DISTRICT AT RYLE
Monday, Feb. 19
Conner vs. Heritage Academy, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 21

Cooper vs. Conner-Heritage Academy winner, 6 p.m.
Ryle vs. Boone County, 8 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 23
Championship game, 7 p.m.

34th DISTRICT AT LUDLOW
Monday, Feb. 19

Ludlow vs. Villa Madonna, 7:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Dixie Heights vs. Ludlow-Villa Madonna winner, 6 p.m.
St. Henry vs. Lloyd, 7:45 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 23
Championship game, 8 p.m.

35th DISTRICT AT HOLMES
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Covington Catholic vs. Beechwood, 6 p.m.
Holy Cross vs. Holmes, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 23
Championship game, 7 p.m.

36th DISTRICT AT HIGHLANDS
Monday, Feb. 19
Bellevue vs. Dayton, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Newport vs. Bellevue-Dayton winner, 6 p.m.
Highlands vs. Newport Central Catholic, 8:15 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 23
Championship game, 7 p.m.

37th DISTRICT AT CAMPBELL COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL
Monday, Feb. 19

Calvary Christian vs. Silver Grove, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Campbell County vs. Calvary Christian-Silver Grove winner, 6 p.m.
Scott vs. Brossart, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 23
Championship game, 7 p.m.

 

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