Last year: 4-15
In coach Marcus Ford’s second year, the key word is chemistry, which is much better than a season ago. “We’ve made great strides in our fundamentals, knowledge of the game and learning how to compete,” Ford said. Only one starter is gone from graduation, although several would-be rotation players transferred from the charter school. Cougars fans can expect great strides from a growing team with just two seniors. They’ll pass and cut all night on offense, and run traps on defense to facilitate fast breaks that play to the team’s speed. Ophelia Palmer’s move to the post to go with the team’s tallest player, 5-foot-11 Tiera Steele, will give the bevy of guards on the team opportunities to find assists via points in the paint. — Paul Trembacki
Last season finish
Lost in Class A Morgan Twp. Sectional opener to Washington Twp.
Leading returning scorer
Ophelia Palmer, 10.5 ppg
Leading returning rebounder
Tiera Steele, 6.2 rpg
Ophelia Palmer, Jr., PF: Last year’s point guard, and an honorable mention Times All-Area pick, moves to the post this season but will handle the ball when needed. Quick and strong, she can do it all.
Newcomer to watch
Makia Freeman, So., F/C: Growing up in Chicago, Freeman seldom played basketball and never did so for a school until last winter at 21st Century. A natural shot-blocker, she’s gone from not being able to make a layup to a projected starter with great rebounding ability.