PAINESVILLE, OHIO – With eight players in their final year of eligibility this season, Lake Erie College head women's basketball coach Bob Booher set out to replace that talent with a deep recruiting class that will be ready to make an impact starting next season. He has done just that with the signing of six student-athletes to letters of intent during the fall early signing period.
"This current senior class is probably the deepest and most talented group we've had here at Lake Erie and we'll lose a lot with them not being around next season," Booher said. "But I really think we've done a nice job with this class of bridging that gap and we expect a lot of these players to come in and make an impact as first-year players."
This year's early recruiting class includes four wing players, one true guard and a post player. Only two of the players are from Ohio, with two more coming from Michigan and one each from Pennsylvania and Virginia.
"We've expanded our reach, recruiting-wise, in recent years and I think that will be a trend that continues," Booher explained. "We had a very successful year two seasons ago and are off to a strong start this season. That and the fact that we now play in one of the premier conferences in the country at our level has opened us up to the opportunity to attract some really talented players from all over the region."
The early signing class is made up of guard Shelby Carpenter (Dayton, Ohio/Miami Valley), wings Carlye Garst (Salem, Va./Salem), Skylar Hebert (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns), Katie McNally (Rocky River, Ohio/Rocky River) and Karleigh Weichler (Pittsburgh, Pa./Plum) and post Kaeding Skelton (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven).
One thing that stands out about the class is height. All but Carpenter (5-7) are 5-10 or taller, including McNally and Skelton who both check in at over six-feet. It's a physical attribute of vital importance in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), a league known for perennially strong post play.
Below is a brief breakdown of each member of the Storm's early signing class:
Guard/5-7/Dayton, Ohio (Miami Valley)
Four-year varsity starter at point guard… twice named All-Metro Buckeye Conference and has been a state finalist in track each of the past three years… led team to a 20-3 mark last season when she averaged 13.4 points, 7.0 assists and 6.7 steals per game.
Coach Booher's Comments: "Shelby has the ability to play either guard position, but has a lot of experience at the point. She can attack the basket and has a strong mid-range game. Most importantly, she has the ability to make her teammates better."
Wing/5-11/Salem, Va. (Salem)
A four-year varsity starter and two-year team captain… was named first-team all-district and second-team all-region as a junior… averaged a double-double for that season, with 13 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Coach Booher's Comments: "Carlye can run, jump, rebound and shoot – and do all at a very high level. She can score down low at the basket or on the perimeter. She plays hard and she's a winner".
Wing/5-10/St. Johns, Mich. (St. Johns)
A two-year starter for the Redwings, during which time the team posted a 31-11 record… averaged 7.5 points, 3.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Coach Booher's Comments: "Skylar is a strong fundamental player who can play any position on the perimeter. She's a clutch player who knows how to rise to the occasion and step up her game when it is needed."
Wing/6-0/Rocky River, Ohio (Rocky River)
Three-year letter-winner… averages 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game… helped team to a 20-3 record and district finals appearance last season.
Coach Booher's Comments: "Katie was a valuable high school role player who will blossom in the college game. She is a shooter with great three-point range and will be a disruptive defender."
Post/6-1/Grand Haven, Mich. (Grand Haven)
Played on 2011 regional championship and state Final Four team last season that went 26-1… averaged 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game… also competed in track
Coach Booher's Comments: "Kaeding will run the floor, be a strong rebounder and go after every loose ball possible. She is capable of being a double-double player at the college level because of her great effort. I expect her to be an impact player at both ends of the floor."
Wing/5-10/Pittsburgh, Pa. (Plum)
Four-year varsity starter and three-year team captain… averages 9.0 points and 2.5 steals per game… also a member of National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars.
Coach Booher's Comments: "Karleigh can shoot, defend and handle the ball. She'll be a factor in all of our pressure defensive schemes as well as breaking the pressure on offense."