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Mercury Area 2015-16 Girls Basketball Preview

Boyertown

Coach >> Jason Bieber, sixth season.

Boyertown’s Abby Kapp (Photo/Tom Kelly III)

Last year’s record >> 13-0 PAC-10, 27-3 overall. PAC-10 Champions, advanced to second round of District 1-AAAA tournament (10th place finish), advanced to PIAA-AAAA tournament

Players to watch >> Ali Bauman, Sr., 6-1 (8.1 ppg); Maria Garofolo, Sr., 6-1 (5.5 ppg); Sarafina Valenti, Sr., 5-7; Katie Armstrong, Jr., 5-9; Abby Kapp, Jr., 6-1 (15.4 ppg, Mercury All-Area Player of the Year); Allie Marcus, Jr., 5-6.

Outlook >> The Bears, winners of 22 straight regular season games and 15 straight in the PAC-10, return four of the team’s starting five minus guard Jordan Webb, who graduated in the spring. Kapp returns after finishing second in the league in scoring and will look to continue her pace toward 1,000 this season. Garofolo and Bauman return at forward after highly productive seasons with Marcus and Valenti both returning to the backcourt. Team faces a tough non-conference schedule with games against Virginia’s Paul XI (No. 9 in the country), defending N.J. champion Middletown South, St. Johns College and Life Center Academy. “With almost everyone back from last year’s team we should have a good year,” Bieber said. “There are many good teams in the PAC-10 and there will be no easy wins in league.”

Daniel Boone

Coach >> Ray Cinquanto, second season.

Last year’s record >> 7-3 Berks I, 14-11 overall. Lost to Ephrata in District 3-AAAA preliminary round.

Players to watch >> Kaitlyn Keeley, Sr. (6.6 ppg); Alayna Roesener, Sr. (6.3 ppg); Emily Houck, Jr.; Emily Scott, Jr.

Outlook >> Blazers were reborn in 2014-2015, recovering from a five-win season in 2013 to finish second in Berks I behind only Governor Mifflin. Team lost leading 3-point shooter Shelby Vanderslice (16 3-pointers, 7.5 ppg) and leading scorer Steph Sievers (9.3 ppg) to graduation. Keeley returns at guard after tallying double digit efforts in eight games last season including a season-best 18-point performance in win over Wilson. Roesener returns at forward while Houck and Scott return after seeing considerable time last season, Scott scoring a personal-best 10 points in team’s loss to Governor Mifflin in Berks semifinals. “With my coaching staff of Jenni Riegel Noecker (JV coach and ex-Daniel Boone basketball player) and Mike Cozzone, we will look to improve on last year’s team development and improve every time we step onto the court,” Cinquanto said. “We are a young team and need to develop the influx of young players. We need to use our speed and aggressiveness on the court.”

Hill School

Coach >> Jen Weissbach, first season.

Last year’s record >> 1-4 MAPL, 6-13 overall.

Players to watch >> Jasmine Nyce, Sr., 5-8; Maria Ananias, Sr., 5-8; Ashley Gilmore, Sr., 5-7.

Outlook >> Weissbach enters her first season at the helm after being an assistant for the program in last season. Team lost leading scorers in Jackie Anyanwu (10.1 ppg) and Jonica Brown (10.3 ppg, also defensive presence) but return Nyce after she sat out of all of last season with an injury. Ananias returns after averaging 6.5 ppg last season, scoring a season-best 10 points in a win over St. Mary’s in the Bullis Tournament.

Methacton

Coach >> Craig Kaminski, 14th season.

Last year’s record >> 6-7 PAC-10, 10-13 overall. Advanced to District 1-AAAA playoffs.

Players to watch >> Jackie Cerchio, Jr., 5-8 (7.9 ppg); Ryan DeOrio, Jr., 5-6 (10.0 ppg).

Outlook >> Team lost forwards Tejarra Ellis and Gabby Falcone (8.2 ppg) to graduation but return DeOrio who is lethal from beyond the arc, tallying 25 3-pointers last season. Junior forward Sydney Thompson and sophomore forwards Olivia Pennypacker and Jill Zerbe will look to replace the presence of Falcone and Ellis in the paint. Junior guard Jenna Cooper will also play a role for the Warriors after appearing in 22 of the team’s 23 games last season. “We will be young and searching for experience quickly with only two returning starters and only two seniors on the team,” Kaminski said. “We do not have much height so we will have to use our speed, quickness and aggressiveness to our advantage. Ryan and Jackie will be counted on to immediately be the leaders offensively on the floor. We will be looking to build on the experience gained in the District 1-AAAA playoffs last season.”

Owen J. Roberts

Coach >> Jeremy Mellon, eighth season.

Last year’s record >> 4-9 PAC-10, 10-13 overall. Advanced to District 1-AAAA playoffs.

Players to watch: >> Alexi Arias, Sr., 5-10; Taylor Evans, Sr., 5-8 (6.9 ppg); Kerry Huzzard, Sr., 5-7; Maddie Albaugh, Jr., 5-6; Camryn Glenn, Jr., 5-5; Darby Stuart, So., 5-9; Kylie Cahill, So., 5-10; Diana Rantz, Fr., 5-8.

Outlook >> Team lost its two leading scorers in Rebecca Painter (11.0 ppg and now at Lycoming) and Nikki Testa (8.2 ppg, 29 3-pointers) while Marissa Sullivan (Gwynedd Mercy) also departed to graduation. Team will rely on Evans, who scored in double figures six times last season, Huzzard, Glenn and Arias. Stuart, Cahill and Albaugh all saw time last season and will look to make an impact for the Wildcats this season. “We have athleticism and speed at all positions this year and we need to use those things to push pace and wear teams down,” Mellon said. “The first two weeks of practice have been outstanding and each player has really stepped up and worked on improving fundamental skills and execution. We’re looking forward to another challenging schedule both in league and out of conference (5th hardest schedule in District 1 last year).”

Perkiomen School

Coach: >> Randy Littlefield, fourth season

Last year’s record >> 8-0 Tri-County League, 16-5 overall.

Players to watch >> Jordan Barth, Sr., 6-0 (10.6 ppg); Kristen Burdo, Sr., 5-10 (12.3 ppg); Stephanie Falcone Sr., 5-6 (10 ppg).

Outlook >> The productive trio returns in Barth, Burdo and Falcone as they look to lead Perkiomen to another undefeated run in the TCL. Barth and Burdo were key figures in the paint last season with Falcone showing her range from beyond the arc with 21 3-pointers last season. Team must replace Laura Vetter (6.3 ppg) who transferred to Lansdale Catholic this season.

Perkiomen Valley

Coach >> John A. Strawoet, second season.

(Barry Taglieber) Perkiomen Valley's KT Armstrong returns this season after leading the PAC-10 in scoring as a junior.

(Barry Taglieber)
Perkiomen Valley’s KT Armstrong returns this season after leading the PAC-10 in scoring as a junior.

Last year’s record >> 9-4 PAC-10, 21-7 overall. Advanced to PAC-10 Championship, advanced to second round of District 1-AAAA tournament.

Players to watch >> KT Armstrong, Sr., 6-2 (First Team All-Area, area leading scorer at 17.8 ppg); McKenna Kohler, Sr., 5-9; Nicole Marino, Sr., 5-6; Haley Streeper, Sr., 5-9; Tori Walter, Sr., 5-9; Meg Jonassen, So., 6-0.

Outlook >> Vikings return essentially all of their roster entering 2015 with the exception of Caitlyn Byrne and Katie Leahy. Armstrong, a St. Joe’s commit, will look to build on her scintillating junior season after leading the team to the most wins in PV girls basketball history. Jonassen averaged 9.2 ppg in her debut season and became team’s dominant post player. Taylor Hamm and Bridgette Bonjo look to make an impact this season as well after good offseason improvements. “We will again have to elevate our play in a very strong division,” Strawoet said. “We also play a tough out of league schedule. I believe we surprised some people last year and this year will be a totally different story. Every game we need to be prepared to be aggressive on defense and execute on offense.”

Phoenixville

Coach >> Kevin Bornstad, third season

Last year’s record >> 4-9 PAC-10, 7-16 overall. Advanced to PAC-10 Final Four.

Players to watch >> Jess Anthony, Jr., 5-7; Julia Brown, Jr., 5-7; Dakota Graham, Jr., 5-8.

Outlook >> Team lost leading scorer in Nomi Washington (12.6 ppg, 23 3-pointers) to graduation and will look to a bevy of juniors to carry the weight this season. Graham (4.3 ppg) and Brown (6.1) are the leading returners for the Phantoms that bowed out in the first round of the Final Four last season. “What makes this team a little different than the past two years is we have interchangeable parts and any of the varsity players can start for this program,” Bornstad said. “We have good chemistry and a lot of energy. We’re very positive about our season, and our main objectives are to keep the intensity level high in practice every day. We are looking to compete every game.”

Pope John Paul II

Coach >> Liz Bernstein, first season.

Last year’s record >> 12-1 PAC-10, 19-8 overall. Advanced to PAC-10 semifinals. District 1-AAA runner-up and advanced to PIAA-AAA tournament.

Players to watch >> Annie Kohutka, Sr., 5-7; Stephanie Petery, Sr., 5-10; Gabby Troisi, Sr., 5-7 (7.8 ppg); Shannon Mullen, Jr., 5-11; Rachel Yerger, Jr., 5-4.

Outlook >> Team must look to replace Lauren Dao (7.2 ppg), Susan Bossler (11.8 ppg) and Jenna Widdicombe (9.7 ppg) after a successful season landed them a spot in the district title game for the first time. Troisi returns after a thriving finish to her junior season, scoring in double figures in five of the team’s last six games including 18 in a district first round victory over Springfield-Montco. Petery (4.1 ppg), Kohutka and Yerger return after seeing abundant time last season. “We return four key players with varsity experience while 14 out of our 21 total players are freshman and sophomores,” Bernstein said. “We will look to our more experienced returning players to mentor and set the standard for both work ethic and a commitment to ensuring incremental improvements over the course of our season. Our senior class leadership will be key in helping to build the confidence in our young team and we will need their guidance to help the younger players adapt to varsity level competition.”

Pottsgrove

Coach >> Mike Brendlinger, 14th season.

Last year’s record >> 4-9 PAC-10, 5-17 overall.

Players to watch >> Kyler Conrad, Sr., 5-5; Nikita Harper, Sr., 5-8; Nikki Pond, Sr., 5-7; Cori Dickinson, Jr., 5-5; Molly Galvin, Jr., 5-7; Diana Randleman, Jr., 5-2 (11.5 ppg).

Outlook >> The Falcons return four starters from last season but lost Alliya Austin who is now playing at Rosemont College. Diana Randleman returns after earning all-league honors and will look to push the Falcons over the hump and into the PAC-10 Final Four. Dickinson will likely be the team’s inside presence after scoring 4.0 ppg last season, including a season-best 11-point performance in a win over Upper Perkiomen to close out the PAC-10 season. Brendlinger said that the Falcons will have to “rely on their overall athletic ability, aggressive defense and improved offense.”

Pottstown

Coach >> Chris Jackson, eighth season.

Last year’s record >> 2-11 PAC-10, 5-13 overall.

Players to watch >> Amiyah Hudson, Sr., 5-8 (9.0 ppg); Ebony Reddick, So., 5-5 (8.7 ppg).

Outlook >> Team lost its dominant presence in Shekema Gentles, who averaged 14.3 points per game and registered a team-best 32 rebounds in the team’s win over Upper Perkiomen. Reddick showed her athleticism last season as she came away with five games in double figures, including a season-best 21-point performance in a loss to Wyomissing. Otherwise, Pottstown will need to find points elsewhere as last year’s JV players Miyanna Brant and Gianna Epps (All-Area softball player) will need to step up this season.

Spring-Ford

Coach >> Mickey McDaniel, third season.

Last year’s record >> 9-4 PAC-10, 17-11 PAC-10. Advanced to District 1-AAAA semifinals and first round of PIAA-AAAA tournament.

Players to watch >> Molly Hynes, Sr., 5-6; Amy Roth, Sr., 5-4; Emily Walker, Sr., 5-10; Maddie Haney, Jr., 5-10; Sydney Wagner, Jr., 5-5.

Outlook >> Season ended prematurely for a Rams team that was used to making its appearance in the late stages of the PIAA tournament. Team lost Maggie Locke (11.0 ppg), Julia Roshelli (6.6 ppg) and Abby Beyer (7.8 ppg, 28 3-pointers) to graduation and will look to others to pick up the scoring load and lead the charge this season. Haney is the leading returner after averaging 5.6 ppg last season. Still, for a team predicated on a smothering defense, look for the Rams to be in the PAC-10 and district picture come February.

Upper Perkiomen

Coach >> Greg Swavely, first season.

Last year’s record >> 2-11 PAC-10, 4-17 overall.

Players to watch >> Gabi Marinelli, Sr., 5-9; Valerie Janton, Sr., 5-3.

Outlook >> Team lost leading 3-point shooter in Holly Graber (50 3-pointers) and inside presence in Jess Spano (8.2 ppg) and will look to Marinelli (4.9 ppg) and Janton to lead the charge for a youthful team.

West-Mont Christian Academy

Coach >> Ron Heffelfinger, seventh season

Last Year’s record >> 2-18 overall.

Players to Watch >> Christy Chen, Sr., 5-4; Julia Miller, Sr., 5-6; Emmy Jenkins, So., 5-5; Olivia Miller, So., 5-9; Mikayla Hallman, Fr., 5-6.

Outlook >> Team must replace leading scorers in Julia Klenske and Sophia Halliley. “We have a nice mix of talent,” Heffelfinger said. “With our lack of size, we will be looking for athleticism, and leadership from our senior backcourt of Julia Miller (returning after a 1 year absence), and Christy Chen to keep us competitive.

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