Audrey Meisch came off the bench last season for Andover, contributing in whatever way her team needed.
Merrisa Quick was the center of Cheney's success last season, leading her team to the Class 4A title game.
This season they're both likely to play key roles for two of the area's better girls basketball teams.
Meisch's growth spurt didn't hit until she was in the eighth grade. She grew up in the body of a guard, and was about 5-foot-6 in middle school before growing another five inches.
Now the athlete who'd developed the ballhandling abilities and shot of a wing player finds herself in the body of the average high school girls post player. Meisch is beginning to develop into an impact player for the Trojans, and will have the chance to start this season as a junior. She's been given the green light and plans on taking advantage of it in an effort to become one of the better all-around players in the area. Andover coach Max Hamblin loves the type of player Meisch has the potential to be this season: the type that has the ability to win games.
"The biggest thing is they make players around them better," Hamblin said. Hamblin is in his sixth season at Andover and has 28 years of coaching experience and over 300 wins. "They can do all of the other things by themselves as far as scoring or rebounding, but if they can draw a lot of attention from other teams that's going to help their teammates be more open."
Quick used her size and skill around the basket to lead an undefeated Cheney team to the Class 4A championship game. A broken foot suffered in the fourth quarter of the semifinal forced Quick to watch her team win the title without her, but it also forced Quick to work on a part of her game over the summer that had been lacking.
Quick, a 6-3 senior, never had a problem finding ways to score around the basket — her height and touch make her hard to defend. Her agility and speed in the open court also make her a threat to score on fast breaks. An aspect that Quick needed to improve was shooting.
"My outside shooting is getting better, because that was all I was able to do over the summer," Quick said. "I feel like I can make anything now out to the free-throw line extended area."
Quick admittedly shied away from shots not immediately by the goal last season. Cheney coach Rod Scheer said injuries over the last two years for Quick have left her a bit raw as a player, but she picks up drills fast.
"She's so active. She's active offensively. She's active defensively. She plays the game with such passion," Scheer said. "She's not like your normal 6-3 post player who can only post up on the block. She defends, blocks shots and rebounds. Even when I coached at the college level we never had a kid that was 6-3 and could defend on the perimeter. She's just a special type of athlete."
Meisch is a point-forward style player who looks to have a huge role in her team's success as it tries to fill the void left by center Kylie Cooper. Meisch played significant minutes off the bench as a sophomore. She stretched the floor with her three-point range, often took on the challenge of guarding one of the opposing team's top two scorers. Andover (17-5) was knocked out of its Class 5A sub-state championship game by Bishop Carroll.
"I'm not the quickest, but I can dribble the ball and shoot," Meisch said. "If there's a mismatch I'm able to go inside. Typically there is a shorter guard on me, so I have the advantage there."
Both Meisch and Quick are working to develop their games so that their versatility can continue to help their teams win. Quick's abilities led her to sign to play basketball with Emporia State. Meisch, a 4.0 student and a standout golfer, is still undecided about what she wants to pursue.