The Del Val League is home to Delaware County’s top-three scorers from last season.
Penn Wood is led by Carle Andrews, who averaged a county-high 18 points per game. With the senior guard back in the fold, the Patriots remain one of the league favorites. Last season, the championship was split three ways with Penn Wood, Academy Park and Interboro. The Patriots fell to eventual District 1 Class 5A champion Springfield in the second round.
Academy Park has a dynamic duo in Mahya Woodton and Shantalay Hightower, who ranked second and third in scoring, respectively. Woodton checked in at 17.3 points per game, while Hightower averaged 15.7. Hightower is an excellent long-distance shooter, too, as she was among the county leaders in 3-pointers with 38, helping the Knights qualify for the district tournament for the first time since 2010.
“We’re trying to build on last year’s success of making the playoffs. The expectations are higher this year as we only lost two seniors from last year’s team,” Knights coach Ron Bright said. “We return two of the top three county scoring leaders (in Woodton and Hightower). Lack of varsity experience could be an issue, so we will need some younger players to step up and contribute.”
Interboro is coming off its first district playoff appearance since 2012, but will do so with new leadership. Trish Phillips, a former Bucs assistant coach in the 1990s, takes over for the departing Jody Boon Jr. Senior center Marta Walewski (5-10) and junior forward Amanda Floyd (5-9) give Interboro plenty of size in the low post. Freshman guard Kerri Barnett is a top newcomer.
Longtime assistant Jamie Blumenthal takes over the head coaching duties at Chichester. Mike Carrafa stepped down after two decades on the job. The Eagles will be young and inexperienced following the graduation of seven seniors, including Lauren Carrafa, who was the team’s primary scorer the last two seasons. Top newcomers include Alona Stanley and Dei’Ney Monet.
Preseason information on Chester was not made available to the Daily Times.
The Christian Academy should make another run at a District 1 Class A championship. Following a 21-7 season, the Crusaders bring back senior guards Lindsay Haseltine and Hannah Sareyka, senior forward Dejah Burley-Chambers, junior guard Grace Gormley and junior forward Britney Dike.
“It will be an interesting season to see how our depth develops. We start the year with some injuries, but if we can get and keep healthy, we should be able to put a competitive product on the floor each night,” said eighth-year coach Jason Wilt.
Preseason information on Delco Christian was not made available to the Daily Times.
Sacred Heart Academy begins the 2017-18 campaign as the defending District 1 Class 2A champion. The Crusaders, who finished 16-10 overall and defeated Bristol in the district final, have senior Eileen Piombino back in the mix. The diminutive, slick-shooting guard averaged close to 12 points per contest last season.
Other top returnees include juniors Kyra Quigley (5-11 C), Caitlin Hughes (5-5 G), Sami Smith (5-10 F) and Liz Franz (5-8 G), sophomore Kayleigh Doyle (5-6 G) and senior Agnes Freind (5-7 G). Juliana Micniak, a 5-9 senior forward, makes her long journey back from injury.
“We are hoping for another deep run in districts and to be able to compete in the Catholic Academies League,” longtime coach Zach Shuler said.
Sun Valley begins a new era as incoming coach Mark Treml replaces Frank Ridpath, who coached the Vanguards to more than 250 wins over 17 seasons.
Joining senior co-captains Maya Jacyszyn and Maddie Michael is junior guard Abby Seasock, a long-distance shooting ace.
The Vanguards look to contend in the Ches-Mont following a 7-15 season. They will move forward without Kate Lannon, a four-year starter and 1,000-point scorer who is excelling in her freshman season at Cabrini.
“The team is young, but hungry,” Treml said. “We will rely heavily on our returning starters and senior captains. There are plenty of first-time varsity players who will make an impact this year.”