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The Ohio Express program originated 12 years ago with a fairly simple goal. That goal is still important to the organization, but they have widened their emphasis as the club has matured.
“When we started out, we were simply trying to give the kids an opportunity to play some basketball outside of what they were doing with their high school teams,” explained Coach Brent Glass. “We’re based in Southeast Ohio, which is a rural part of the state, and these kids didn’t have the same opportunities that were available to the kids in the metropolitan areas.
“As we progressed and grew, we started to look more and more and doing things to help give the girls an opportunity to further their basketball careers beyond high school.”
The Express players will have a chance to take a step in that direction when they travel to the 2015 Summer Derby Classic, which will be played in Louisville, KY on July 23-24. The tournament, which will include many of the top travel programs in the country, will be played at the Mid America Sports Center.
The Express will be paced in Louisville by Taylor Gregory (2017, 6-1, F).
“Taylor is one of those players who can do a little bit of everything,” Glass said. “She has good post moves, but she also plays on the outside quite a bit. She has the skills to play like a guard — she made nine of 11 three-pointers on the last day of our last tournament. I think she will be a three at the next level.”
In addition to Gregory, the Express will rely on a trio of talented prospects from the Class of 2018. That group includes Madison Hunter (5-11, 2/3), Lilly Ritz (6-1, PF) and Haley Porter (5-6, CG).
“Madison is very athletic, and she is great in the open court,” Glass said. “She knows how to finish, and she is one of our better defenders on the ball and off the ball. Her outside game is really starting to develop, and she is hitting the three-pointer more consistently now.
“Lilly is another great athlete who comes from a very athletic family. Her sister and brother are both playing in college, and her father was a pitcher for the Colorado Rockies. She is long and athletic, and she is working hard on building her offensive game.
“Haley can play either backcourt spot. She fills in at point guard when our normal point guard is resting, and Haley is a very good shooter. Her range reaches out to about 25 feet … and she would shoot it from even farther out if we let her.”