The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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A lot of coaches would love to have some of Manny May's problems.

The 11th-year Waite girls basketball coach can field a lineup that is taller than a lot of local boys teams if he so chooses.

Not only is there 6-3 All-Ohio junior Natasha Howard, a two-time All-City League performer, but May also has at his disposal 6-2 sophomore Shanice McNeal and 6-1 junior Amanda Gregory.

Gregory, a transfer from Bowsher, where she averaged 13 points and 11 rebounds last season, has moved into the starting lineup and often plays alongside Howard and McNeal.

"McNeal is our sixth or seventh man off the bench, depending on the rotation," May said. "All three of them play a lot of minutes."

Two teams the Indians have lost to this season, Start and Dublin Coffman, were able to match up well with Waite's size. Start has a pair of six-footers, and Coffman features big guards.

"Sometimes we go big," May said. "With Shanice and Amanda in there, Natasha goes to the 'three' (position) and the other two play the 'four' or the 'five.' We've done that quite a few games where they go in together and play. We have been successful with that lineup, but sometimes you have problems with teams that are quicker than you."

Waite's M.O. is to use a quick-tempo pace and force other teams to turn the ball over. May, who said this is the tallest team he's had, said that when the Indians do go with a big lineup, they still try to do the same things on offense and defense.

"It has worked out," he said. "A six-footer will give you more opportunities to be versatile with the press. You get more deflections."

The coach said Gregory has fit in well with her new teammates. She is averaging around 11 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Indians (4-3, 3-1 CL).

"She's rebounding, but we have to get her to make the layups and (increase) the scoring part of it," May said. "She's stepping up to the plate. It's a new environment for her and a change of pace for the way we do things as a coaching staff. We're up-tempo and she's getting along very well."

Howard, who has college scouts watching her at nearly every game, is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds a game, while McNeal is averaging just under 10 points. Waite's other starters have been Miriah Hayes, junior point guard Courtney Jackson and junior Fantasia Combs.

Heading into Saturday's game against Lutheran East in Columbus, May said the Indians have to improve their perimeter defense the rest of the way.

"We have to stop guard penetration," May said. "That will make our game a lot better, stopping guard penetration and making the right decisions. We've cut down on our turnovers, but we need to capitalize on other people's turnovers."