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DLN-Area Girls Basketball Team-by-Team Previews

Ches-Mont National
Head coach: Harry Loeffler (fourth year)
Last season: 3-18 overall.
Key players: Chandler Salley, 5-7 Sr. F/G; Katie Lengel, 5-9, Jr. F; Amanda Smida, 5-7 So. G.
Outlook: The Red Devils should be improved, especially on defense, but injuries to key players could wind up being the biggest challenge. Junior guard and captain, Sarah White, is out with a knee injury and may miss the entire season. And Salley is currently out with a herniated disc, but is expected to return soon. Scoring points is going to be a struggle.

Head coach: Fran Burbidge (fourth season)
Last season: 23-5 overall
Key players: Courtney Warley, 6-2 Sr. F; Kelly Basile, 5-5 Sr. G; Jen Sendi, 5-8 Sr. G.
Outlook: With Warley poised for a monster senior season, the Eagles are positioned to make a run at their third straight Ches-Mont championships. Replacing star senior Ciara Forde will be difficult, but Shanahan is going to try to win with numbers. Look for Burbidge to go at least 10-deep on his bench and wear opponents down.

Head coach: Tem Mack (second year)
Last season: 10-12 overall
Key players: Dee Dee Irwin, 5-4 Sr. G; Brianna White, 6-0 Sr. F; Siani Brown, 5-10 Sr. F; Sarah Huston, 5-4, So. G.
Outlook: The Red Raiders return four starters from a year ago, including Irwin, a 2nd-team all-league performer, who averaged 12.8 points per game as a junior. The top frontcourt threat is Brianna White, who is a four-year starter. Brown and Huston were also regulars last season. Coatesville’s goal is to qualify for the District 1 Tournament.

Head coach: Tom Schurtz (second year)
Last season: 21-9 overall
Key players: Dani Tyrell, 5-4 Jr. PG; Erin Phelan, 5-10 Jr. F; Allison Dienes, 6-2 Sr. C; Nicole Welker, 5-10 Sr. G
Outlook: The Cougars have been hit hard by graduation, loosing all-leaguers like Paige Warfel, Laura Oschner and Aryah Aungst. The lone returning starter, Tyrell, is an established point guard and the only player in the rotation under 5-foot-10. Size is going to be a strength for East. The lack of consistency for first year starters could be an issue.

Head coach: Dave Johnson (14th season)
Last season: 8-14 overall
Key players: Halle Brown So.; Gillian Nanni; Katie Couser.
Outlook: The Whippets have to replace second-team All-League performers Hannah Supplee and Heather Camden from a team that won just eight and finished fifth in the Ches-Mont National. A bright spot is Brown, who is the top returning scorer (6.3 per game) and is just a sophomore. West’s goal is to challenge for a spot in the top half of the standings.

Head coach: Erin Listrani (third season, 5-38 overall)
Last season: 2-19 overall.
Key players: Caroline Lewis, 5-9, Sr. G; Kaityln Boyle, 5-7 Sr. G; Lexy Hartman, 5-7, Jr. F; Marissa McDonald, 5-10 So. G.
Outlook: With all five starters returning, the Vikings will be much improved and poised to improve on last season’s sixth place finish in the Ches-Mont National. Lewis, Boyle and McDonald form a solid backcourt nucleus, but Hartman is going to need some help up front.

Head coach: Greta Neff (third season, 24-20 overall)
Last season: 14-8 overall
Key players:  Emma Bertrando, 5-7 Sr. G; Viki Kneis, 5-10 Sr. F; Grace Ferguson, 6-2 So. F; Maddie DePrisco, 5-4 Jr. G.
Outlook: With Bertrando and the return of Maddie DePrisco, look for the Warriors to up the tempo with pressure defense that leads to transition points. Averaging 10 points a game last season, Bertrando is a first-team all-league performer and four-year starter. DePrisco was hampered last season with a knee injury. Kneis is a returning starter and Henderson’s most effective post player.

Ches-Mont American
Head coach: Alex Venarchik (seventh year)
Last season: 18-6 overall
Key players: Sadie Buzan, Jr. G; Maggie Flynn, Jr. G; Emma D’Imperio, Jr. C; Annalise Porreca, So. G.
Outlook: The Patriots won the 2015-16 Ches-Mont American crown, but lost four of five starters to graduation. The lone holdover: Buzan. Along with Flynn and Porreca, Great Valley should be OK in the backcourt. The biggest challenge will be finding frontcourt players to help D’Imperio rebound and defend.

Head coach: Vince Cattano
Last season: 14-9 overall; 6-6 in Ches-Mont American
Key players: Caroline Hertz, 5-9 Jr. G; Andrea Prestianne, 5-6 So. G; Vicky Gallivan, 5-8 Sr. G; Melissa Houck, 5-6 Sr. G.
Outlook: The Blue Demons will have to find a way to replace Jess Hussey and Miranda Hill, both first-team All-League selections. The duo combined to average 29 points per game last winter. Kennett needs players like Hertz, Prestianne, Gallivan and Houck to make big strides, especially on offense. A big potential problem is that the Demons lack any experience in the frontcourt.

Head coach: Scott Forman (second year)
Last season: 0-17 overall.
Key players: Haley Justice, 5-3 So. G; Hannah Falls, 5-6 So. F; Emily Dyer, 5-5 So. F; Rachel Rush, 5-7 Sr.
Outlook: With sophomores making up its top three players, Octorara is among the youngest teams in the area. In his second season, Forman is looking for his first win as head coach. The Braves will take plenty of lumps and are just looking to compete.

Head coach: Brian Urig (first season, also coached from 2003-12)
Last season: 14-9
Key players: Miranda Porretta, So. G; Madeline Williams, Jr. G; Grace Hennessey, Sr, C.
Outlook: Back at the helm after a three-year hiatus, Urig inherits the up-and-coming Hornets, who went from five to 14 wins a year ago. As a freshman, Porretta was fourth in the Ches-Mont in scoring (13.2), and an all-league second teamer. Williams and Hennessey are also returning starters for Oxford, who is expected to challenge for the division crown.

Head coach: Fred Ellzy (third season)
Last season: 12-10 overall
Key players: Maddie Shanahan, 6-1, Sr. G; Sophia Detwieler, 5-11 Sr. F; Grace Schrof, 5-10 Jr. G; Sarah Covert, 5-10 Jr. G.
Outlook: The Indians have four starters back and have the pieces to make a serious run at the Ches-Mont American crown. A first-team All-League performer, Shanahan in one of the top players in the area, and with Schrof and Covert, Unionville should have one of the top backcourts around. In the last 12 years, the Indians have won 16 games or more just once, but this team can surpass that if it takes care of the ball.

Head coach: Jim Powers (second year)
Last season: 11-12 overall; 9-3 in Ches-Mont American
Key players: Maggie O’Hare, Jr. F; Erin Gallagher, Jr. F; Lexi Zavitsky, Sr. G.
Outlook: The Golden Knights return three starters and are expected to contend for the Ches-Mont American crown and a post-season berth. O’Hare and Zavitsky were named to the All Ches-Mont second team at forward and point guard, respectively, and Gallagher chipped in nine points per game. Rustin, however, lacks much size, and is bereft of senior leaders other than Zavitsky.

Other Teams
Head coach: Chris Jeffries (third year)
Last season: 14-2 in Central League; 21-7 overall
Key players: Liz Scott, 5-9 Sr. F; Emma Powell, 5-11 Sr. F; Lindsay Erickson, 5-4 Sr. G; Sarah Mascoli, 5-7 Jr. G; Maria Koblish, 5-8 Jr. G.
Outlook: Two-time All-League selection and 1,000-point-scorer Ellie Mack (now at Bucknell) will be very difficult to replace. But the Pioneers return a lot of experienced players like Scott, Powell and Erickson. Already a strength, ’Stoga’s frontcourt could get a boost with transfer Katie Mayock (6-4 Jr. C). S’Stoga should be in the mix to challenge for the Central League title.

Head coach: Carrie Timmins (ninth year, 50-89 overall)
Last season: 11-11 overall
Key players: Eunice Jimenez, 5-6 Sr. G; Maggie Cottone, 5-5 Sr. G; Emma Diaz, 5-8 So. G; Josiah Lacey, 6-2, Fr. F; Serena Kramer, 6-1 Jr. F.
Outlook: The Quakers lost two Division I players to graduation, but will have Jimenez back at the point for a fourth season. Westtown will benefit from the added athleticism of Diaz and Lacey, as well as a boost in confidence from Kramer. Rookie guard Leiya Stuart could work her way into the starting lineup if she can bounce back from a nagging injury.

Head coach: Kathy McCartney (31st season)
Last season: 12-15 overall
Key players: Julia Samar, Soph., G; Maurin Tague, Sr., Abby Walheim, Soph., F; Erin DiDonato, Sr., G; Marissa Piccinich, Sr., F.
Outlook: The Hurricanes return most of last year’s team, which despite finishing below .500, fashioned a stirring postseason run that led them to a state playoff berth. Leading scorer Abby Walheim returns to provide scoring and rebounding punch. Another super sophomore, Julia Samar, also brings another year of experience to go along with precocious talent. Maurin Tague, Erin DiDonato and Marissa Piccinich bring senior leadership to the table. Sophomore Paige DeMutis, and seniors Emilky Gillin and Bri Wright will be counted on to contribute. McCartney will hope her team can make their way back to the top of the AACA, and make another PIAA run.

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