Whitman girls stand ready to defend their 4A title

After capturing the 4A state championship last season, the Whitman girls basketball team enters the 2016-17 campaign with a target on its back.

The Vikings boast highly-touted senior Abby Meyers, who scored a game-high 21 points against Western to propel Whitman to the program’s first state title in more than two decades.

During the 2015-16 campaign, Meyers averaged 18 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game while leading the Bethesda public school to its second state title in program history and first in 21 years.

Meyers, a starter since her freshman campaign, has guided Whitman to a 47-4 record over the past two seasons and was named The Sentinel’s Player of the Year last season.

“Everyone thinks she’s a cold-blooded scorer which she is but her will to win is the greatest thing,” said Whitman Head Coach Pete Kenah. “She’s just so quick and so fast. She makes things happen on defense as well.”

During the summer, Meyers, a 5-foot-11 guard, opted to end her recruitment and pledged to Princeton University, an Ivy League program.

She chose Princeton over several other prestigious academic institutions such as Stanford, Michigan and Northwestern.

“They’re getting a two-guard who has the potential to be the Ivy League Player of the Year,” said Kenah.

Churchill senior Coco Kuchins is another player to keep an eye on this season. The four-year varsity performer, who verbally committed to the United States Air Force Academy in August, should help the Bulldogs contend for a division title.

Quince Orchard junior Jordan Odom, Poolesville junior Erin Green and Magruder sophomore Laila Grant also figure to play a huge role in their team’s success on the hardwood this season.

On the private school front, Good Counsel expects to contend for a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title with the return of senior standouts and Division I signees Lindsey Pulliam (Northwestern), Cara Judkins (Pittsburgh) and Breonna Mayfield (Georgetown).

The aforementioned seniors should carry the team but the Falcons have some underclassmen in the fold who will be expected to contribute including sophomores Chloe Chapman and Rayne Tucker.

Meanwhile, Bullis has a new head coach in former Stone Ridge and UConn standout Amy Duran Heinzelmann but has lost talented sophomore center Malu Tshitenge-Mutombo who transferred to WCAC rival St. John’s.

Tshitenge-Mutombo, the niece of former Georgetown and NBA center Dikembe Mutombo, was a first team All-Sentinel performer as a freshman last season.

“Me and her worked really well together just on really reading each other in the high low so that’s definitely something we’re really lacking this year,” said Bullis senior Tori Crawford, who earned second team All-Sentinel honors last season, “but I know she’s going to do great things at St. John’s. She still has a lot of room to grow so I’m excited to see her grow and excited to see where she ends up.”

Crawford, who has been sidelined during the preseason with a shoulder injury, is expected to return to the lineup sometime in mid-December.

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