Troy Buchanan’s girls basketball squad fell two games short of a state championship in 2020.
The Trojans look to go even further in the upcoming season. After winning the Class 5 District 8 Tournament, Troy was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the state tournament by Hazelwood Central.
However, the Trojans lost a couple of players from last year’s team to graduation in Mak Caldwell and Olivia Mennemeyer, and Coach Damond Lacy said the duo will be difficult to replace.
“Losing Mak and Olivia to graduation will be tough to replace, as they were both hard workers and great kids,” said Lacy, whose team finished 19-10 last season. “Mak was one of the best, if not the best, rebounder in the (St. Louis) area and averaged 9.5 points per game.
“Olivia was on varsity since her freshman year and was a very athletic guard that could get to the basket, and was great in transition.”
Nevertheless, the Trojans have an experienced unit in senior Makenna Declue, juniors Gabi Cook and Maggie Illig and senior Morgan Shields.
“DeClue is a two-time all-conference player and Troy’s all-time 3-point makes leader, and returns to run the point guard position,” Lacy said. “Cook returns, and can play in the post or on the perimeter with good post moves and the ability to shoot the three.
“Illig is a great shooter that is explosive when attacking the basket, and Shields brings is another shooter that brings a lot of toughness to the team.”
Lacy also cited other returning player who he said will make an instant impact on the team.
“We are looking for a big year from Kinzie Dueker, who will step into a starting role this season. Dueker has size and is very athletic,” he said. “Alivia Daniel and Jordan Starkey round out our returners and are both athletic, play good defense and add more shooters to our team. I’m very excited about the returners we have.”
Lacy said it’s going to take every player on the roster for the Trojans to duplicate its 2019-2020 run, including freshmen Lilly Robinson, Macie Hunolt and Teryn Brown.
“It’s still early, and I’m anxious to see how our freshman develop throughout the year,” he said. “Right now, Lilly Robinson is pushing for playing time, getting better every day. Brown and Hunolt Round out the group, and bring more athleticism to the guard spots.”