Connect with us

Girls Basketball

Reporter/Montgomery/Times Herald girls basketball teams have high expectations

Last year did nothing to take away from Southeastern Pa.’s reputation as a basketball hotbed. Specifically, the Reporter/Montgomery/Times-Herald area produced some top-notch girls’ competition, counting a state champion and three district champions, plus a handful of league champs in its number.

The headliner of course, was Archbishop Wood, which won the Philadelphia Catholic tournament, District 12-3A title and PIAA-3A championship. The Vikings did have some significant losses, chiefly state player of the year Bailey Greenberg, now at Drexel, and forward Kate Connolly, who transferred to Souderton. However, coach Mike McDonald does have a cupboard of experienced guards including seniors Shannon May, Cassie Sebold and Karly Brown and junior forward Katie May. The PCL will be grueling again, with Cardinal O’Hara and Neumann-Goretti looking strong again, and Wood will have to deal with its new surroundings as a 5A school.

Archbishop Wood’s Cassie Sebold charges past Neumann-Goretti’s Morgan Lenahan during the PCL Championship on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

With the switch to six classes, most area schools find themselves in some new territory. Among them is North Penn in 6A, coming off last year’s run to the 4A state semifinals. The Knights, also the Suburban One League Continental Conference and league tournament champs, lost forward Mikaela Giuliani to USciences, but return the rest of the team including the senior trio of Sam Carangi, Jess Huber and Irisa Ye, all playing at the next level. North Penn’s SOL Continental competition will be fierce, but the Knights have their sets high and expect to chase league, district and state titles this year.

Two teams return as District 1 champions in Jenkintown (A) and Gwynedd Mercy Academy (3A), though GMA is now in 4A and facing some serious re-tooling after losing a special senior class. The Monarchs do have coach Tom Lonergan back, and a host of last year’s role players ready to try and step into bigger roles. Jenkintown, with veteran coach Jim Romano at the helm, returns all but one player from last year and has no seniors on an undersized but very scrappy squad.

On the PAISAA circuit, Germantown Academy added another Inter-Ac title to its trophy case, while Abington Friends advanced to the state final. Both teams lost some key players, Kendall Grasela, Erin Lindahl and Lauren Oeth for GA and Alexa Middleton and Asia Turner for AFS. With the independent schools starting up sooner, both squads already have a couple of games to their name as everyone else gets going this weekend.

A young Abington team is looking to get back atop the SOL National, while continuing its string of district and state playoff appearances while another young team in Central Bucks West seems primed to challenge North Penn in the Continental and push for a states bid. Upper Dublin has been a mainstay atop the American standings and is coming off a nice run through districts and states, though an upstart Plymouth Whitemarsh squad will try and take the Cardinals’ SOL crown.

Abington’s Lizzie O’Leary fakes, then heads for the basket during a scrimmage with North Penn Nov. 29, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

2015-16 Record: 20-8 (12-2 SOL National)
League: SOL National
Classification: PIAA 6A
Head Coach: Dan Marsh (12th year)
Notable Losses: Sammy Locher, Leah Simmons
Players to Watch: Lizzie O’Leary (Sr. Center), Britney James (Jr. Guard), Sam Brusha (Jr. Guard), Jordyn Allen (Jr. Guard), Kassondra Brown (So Center), Miranda Liebtag (So. Guard)
Outlook: “With O’Leary and Brown, Abington will have an inside presence that few in the area can match. A much improved Brusha and James will provide the outside punch. Abington will need to avoid being one dimensional. Allen is back and is also a legitimate scoring threat. With only one returning senior, our young team will need to find its groove early, stay out of foul trouble and keep their heads up when things are not going their way.”

League: Friends School League
Head Coach: Jeff Bond
Notable Losses: Alexa Middleton, Asia Turner
Players to Watch: Jade Young (Sr. Guard), Alyssa DeNofa (Sr. Guard), Natasha Holloway (Sr. Guard)
Outlook: The Kangaroos had a terrific year last season, getting to the PAISAA finals and come into this season with a couple holes to fill. Middleton is playing at Monmouth while Turner was a capable ball-handler and shooter. Jade Young, a Hartford recruit, will lead the offense with the Roos looking to have a strong perimeter game in the handful of contests they have played already.

2015-16 Record:25-6 (10-2 PCL)
Head Coach: Mike McDonald (2nd season)
League: Philadelphia Catholic League
Classification: 5A
Notable Losses: Bailey Greenberg, Claire Bassetti, Kate Connolly
Players to Watch: Cassie Seibold (Sr., Guard), Shannon May (Sr., Guard), Karly Brown (Sr., Guard), Katie May (Jr., Forward)
Outlook: The defending state champs in the old 3A class will look to repeat in the new 5A classification. They do so without Greenberg, the engine and heart of last year’s PCL, District 12 and state championship squad, who is making a quick impact at Drexel. Losing Connolly to transfer adds more question marks, but the roster does have plenty of experience and two guards in Shannon May and Seibold who have signed to play in college. The PCL will be tough, and battling a post-title complacency will be key in a brutal early-season gauntlet of a schedule.

Central Bucks West’s Molly Rodebaugh passes when she gets pressure from North Penn’s Irisa Ye and Mikaela Giuliani on Jan. 26, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

2015-16 Record: 18-9, (9-3 SOL Continental)
League: SOL Continental
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Terry Rakowsky (8th season)
Notable Losses: Makenzie Mason
Players to Watch: Maggie Rakowsky(12/G), Molly Rodebaugh(12/G), Bailey Tracy (12/F), Abby Spratt(11/G), Tori Abelson(10/G/F), Izzy Treon (10/G/F), Maddie Burke (9/G)
Outlook: The Bucks definitely have the look of a team to watch this season, losing just one player from last year’s playoff team. CB West will be young, but has a couple of battle-tested seniors ready to lead the way
“If our players continue to focus on the “little things” and we are a better team at the end of the season than the beginning the 2016-2017 season should be a very fun journey.”

2015-16 Record: 15-8 (9-5 SOL American)
League: SOL American
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Brendan Nolan (5th season)
Notable Losses: Gabbi Wright, Ashley Jones
Players to Watch: Mia Leonard (Sr./C), Nashira Brown (Sr./PF), Danielle Brown (Sr./SF), Caitlin Wallace (Sr./SG), Courtney Murray (Jr./PG), Taylor Johnson (Fr./G)
Outlook: The Panthers will be experienced in the front court, but not so much with their guards. Ashley Jones transferred to Neumann-Goretti, so Cheltenham will have to find a way to replace her scoring. Murray and Johnson will have to get the hang of varsity ball quickly if the Panthers want to make it back to the postseason.

2015-16 Record: 15-11 (10-8 BAL Independence)
League: BAL Independence
Classification: 2A
Head Coach: Ryan Rush (1st season)
Notable Losses: Lanae Hunsberger, Olyvia Longacre
Players to Watch: Gintare Tamulyte (Sr. Forward), Carsyn McCloskey (So. Guard), Kate Strickland (Sr. Forward)
Outlook: Ryan Rush comes over from Delco Christian to head up a pretty young Pioneers roster that is looking to replace its two top guards from last season. Rush will have some new faces to integrate as he puts his stamp on the program.

2015-16 Record: 20-6 (13-3 BAL)
League: BAL Constitution
Classification: A
Head Coach: Dave Forker (4th season)
Players to Watch: Ashley Forker (Sr. Guard), Ashley Parylak (Sr. Guard), Liz Hoffman (Sr. Forward), Jessica Robinson (Sr. Forward), Autumn Brownwell (Jr. Forward)
Outlook: The Lions return the core of last year’s highly successful team with goals of contending for BAL and district titles and the hope of reaching states. Ashley Forker has been an outstanding player the last three years and along with her senior classmates, will be looking to put together a special final season.

2015-16 Record: 24-3 (12-0 Inter-Ac)
League: Inter-Ac
Head Coach: Sherri Retif (19th season)
Notable Losses: Kendall Grasela, Lauren Oeth, Erin Lindahl
Players to Watch: Lilly Bolen (Sr., Forward), Abby Starzecky (Sr., Guard), Rachel Balzer (So., Guard), Alexa Naessens (Jr., Forward)
Outlook: The Patriots have already started their season, and have to do it without junior Cat Polisano, who was lost for the year with a preseason knee injury. Adding to that the graduations of Grasela, Oeth and Lindahl, all college players, GA has to replace a lot of points, rebounds, leadership and more. In Bolen and Starzecky, they have two experienced captains who relish the little things that decide games, and the young players are willing to shoot it, thanks to the tutelage of assistant coach and program legend Maggie Lucas.

Gwynedd Mercy’s Carly Heineman and Mount St. Joseph’s Caitlyn Cunningham battle for the ball during their game on Feb. 1, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

2015-16 Record: 25-5 (12-1 AACA)
League: AACA
Classification: 4A
Head Coach: Tom Lonergan (4th season)
Notable Losses: Erica DeCandido, Brigit Coleman, Mary Claire Casey
Players to Watch: Maura Conroy (Jr. Guard) Carly Heineman (Jr., Guard), Danielle Senour (Sr., Forward), Megan Dougherty (Sr., Forward)
Outlook: After a District 1 title and a run to the state quarterfinals, the Monarchs enter the 2016-17 campaign having to replace some big pieces from the last three seasons. DeCandido, an all-state pick, and Coleman were a potent one-two punch. Many of last year’s role players will have to take the next step into foundational players, but they have Lonergan there to help them along and having Conroy back in play can only help.

2015-16 Record: 6-15, (2-12 SOL Continental)
League: SOL American
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Kathie Sims (3rd season)
Notable Losses: Cassidy Quattro, Haley Seifert, Erin Wingen
Players to Watch: Bergen Sims (Sr. Guard), Julia Thornton (Sr. Guard), Kylie Halko So. Guard)
Outlook: The Hatters jump over to the SOL American, where they will look to continue their rebuild. They lose two key players in Quattto and Seifert, but have a decent amount of experienced players returning to the fold. Hatboro-Horsham is also looking to Lexi Brett, Katie Fisher and Nikki Williams to contribute.

2015-16 Record: 23-6 (13-3 BAL Constitution)
League: BAL Constitution
Classification: 1A
Head Coach: Jim Romano
Notable Losses: Morrin McSherry
Players to Watch: Amelia Mulvaney (Jr Forward), Mia Kolb (So. Guard), Jen Kremp (Jr. Guard), Ashley Kremp (Jr. Guard)
Outlook: The defending District 1-A champions return all five players that started for much of last season. McSherry was the team’s only upperclassman, so the Drakes are still extremely young, but can’t say they’re inexperienced after reaching states last season. While they’re not a big team, they make up for it with aggressive defense and hustle.

2015-16 Record: 10-14 (6-6 PCL)
League: Philadelphia Catholic League
Classification: 4A
Head Coach: Joe Mack (3rd season)
Notable Losses: Abby Ward, Kim Talley, Taylor Herd
Players to Watch: Lauren Crim (Jr. Guard), Brady Wassel (Jr. Guard), Laura Vetter (Sr. Guard)
Outlook: The Crusaders are looking to take the next step in terms of competing in the PCL after two years of first-round playoff exits. They do lose starters Ward and Talley, along with Herd, who despite injury was a key leader. In her first two years, Lauren Crim has shown an ability to score, but she’ll need help from her teammates to not only keep the offense diverse, but also take some pressure off her shoulders. LC, which has a solid sophomore group, will be challenged in league and nonleague play as usual.

Lower Moreland’s Rachel Millan drives for the basket past Phil-Mont Christian’s Kayla Griffin during their game on Jan. 5, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

2015-16 Record: 15-10 (11-5 BAL Independence)
League: BAL Independence
Classification: 4A
Head Coach: Richard Becker
Notable Losses: Lauren Killion, Erica Fleck, Erin Pryzbylinski
Players to Watch: Rachel Millan (Sr. Guard), Allison Asman (So, Guard)
Outlook: The Lions have lost some key players from the past few seasons and will be looking to some younger faces to take their turn on the varsity roster. Millan will provide steady leadership and scoring under veteran coach Becker.

2015-16 Record: 20-7 (10-3 AACA)
League: AACA
Classification: 5A
Head Coach: Claire Perry (1st season)
Notable Losses: Libby Tacka, Caitlyn Cunningham
Players to Watch: Julie Hoover (Sr., Forward), Kieran Glowacki (Sr., Guard)
Outlook: It’s the start of a new era at Mount after John Miller, a decorated coach at several stops and several levels, stepped down to end a 10-year run. Also, standout guards Tacka and Cunningham have graduated, leaving the team in the hands of a young roster. Perry is quite familar with the program, having graduated as a 1,000-point scorer in 2003 and will bring the toughness she had as a player to the bench.

North Penn’s Jess Huber looks to pass inside during the Knights’ game against Souderton on Feb. 2, 2016. (Bob Raines—/Digital First Media)

2015-16 Record: 29-4 (14-0 SOL Continental)
League: SOL Continental
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Maggie deMarteleire (10th season)
Notbale Losses: Mikaela Giuliani
Players to Watch: Sam Carangi (Sr. Guard), Jess Huber (Sr. Guard), Irisa Ye (Sr. Guard), Bri Hewlett (Jr. Forward), Mia Melchior (Jr Forward), Jess McKenzie (Jr. Center), Jenny Hulmes (Jr. Guard)
Outlook: The Knights are coming off a run to the PIAA semifinals and enter the season with very high expectations.
“Our strength should be our experience. We look forward to watching the underclassmen develop and contribute. We have a very nice mix of experienced players and incoming freshmen who are solid. We look forward to a successful season – we need to come ready to play, each and every game.”

2015-16 Record: 12-11 overall, 5-9 (SOL Continental)
League: SOL Continental
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Mike Elton (1st season)
Notable Losses: Devan Rimmer, Lydia Konstanzer
Players to Watch: Brooke Bachtle (JR Guard), Gillian Anderson (Jr. Forward), Claire Podraza (Sr. Forward), Sam Muredda (So. Guard)
Outlook: Elton moves from assistant to head coach, taking over a pretty young roster that loses two college players. The Rams did qualify for districts last year, so the returning players have that experience to build on. Unlike many first-year coaches, Elton does have experience with his players.

2015-16 Record: 16-7 (10-4 SOL American)
Head Coach: Dan Dougherty (5th season)
League: SOL American
Classification: 6A
Notable Losses: none
Players to Watch: Taylor (O’Brien 11th, Guard); Ali Diamond (11th, Guard); Laurel Suchsland (12th, Guard); Lauren Coscia (12th, Center), Sarah Putsch (11th, Forward)
Outlook: The upstart Colonials return all of their key players coming off a playoff appearance and will be looking to challenge Upper Dublin atop the SOL American standings. O’Brien is a high-energy player who thrives in the transition game. P-W’s aims include district and state playoff apperances.

2015-16 Record: 20-5 (10-3 AACA)
League: AACA
Classification: 3A
Head Coach: Terry Mancini
Notable Losses: Karen Lapkiewicz, Lindsay Joyce
Players to Watch: Natalie Kucowski (Sr. Forward), Jules Gura (Jr. Guard), Katie Dougherty (Sr. Guard), Danielle McCurdy (Jr. Guard)
Outlook: The Panthers were stunned in last year’s district final, seeing a four-year streak come to an end. While they lose two senior guards in Joyce and Lapkiewicz, they do have Natalie Kucowski and her shot-blocking prowess back for one more season. With GMA and Mount needing to replace some big contributors, the Panthers will certainly be looking to make a run at a league title before trying to reclaim their district crown.

Springfield’s Molly Dugan goes up for a shot under pressure from Upper Moreland’s Jenna Getz during their game on Dec. 22, 2015. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

2015-16 Record: 9-14 (6-8 SOL American)
League: SOL American
Classification: 4A
Head Coach: Bill Krewson
Notable Losses: Maura Ryan
Players to Watch: Molly Dugan (Sr. Guard), Emily Giampietro (Sr. Guard), Jameson Krewson (Sr. Guard), Katie Fitzpatrick (Sr. Forward)
Outlook: The Spartans are the small fish in the SOL, but they’ve shown an ability to knock off bigger schools the past few years. Molly Dugan is one of the top under-the-radar players in the area, having a 40-point game last season on her resume and will be looking for a big finish to her high school career. There’s a decent amount of experience on this team and a playoff run could be in the picture.

2015-16 Record: 8-14 (5-9 SOL Continental)
Head Coach: Lynn Carroll (13th season)
Notable Losses: Marissa Sandone, Krista Schneider
Players to Watch: Tori Dowd (Jr., Point Guard), Alana Cardona (Jr., Forward), Sami Falencki (Jr., Guard), Megan Walbrandt (Soph., Guard), Kate Connolly (Jr., Forward)

Upper Dublin’s Josie Barrett throws up a shot past Cheltenham’s Caitlin Wallace during their game on Jan. 19, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Medai)

Outlook: “We are strong at every position and have a lot of versatility on both ends of the court. We have a nice balance on the offensive end, and our speed and length allow us to play a variety of defenses. This is an extremely hard-working group who are getting better each day. By the end of last season, Dowd, Cardona, Falencki and Walbrandt were playing at a high level and proved they could compete with the teams in the Continental Conference. The addition of Drexel-bound Connolly has helped to elevate the team to an even higher level of play. We expect to compete for the SOL Continental Championship and put ourselves in good position for district and state playoffs.”

2015-16 Record: 22-8 (14-0 SOL American)
League: SOL American
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Morgan Funsten
Notable Losses: Alison Chernow, Ashley Barber
Players to Watch: Josie Barrett (Sr., Guard), Maggie Weglos (Sr., Forward), Demi Balasa (Sr., Forward)
Outlook: The team to beat in the SOL American in recent years, the Flying Cardinals have also been a major presence on the district and state level the past two seasons. UD again has a strong core, though losing the steadniess and clutch play Chernow provided and the relentless rebounding of Barber leaves two big holes to fill. Funsten has some promising young players, and getting them to mesh with the vets will be crucial early on with some difficult nonleague games on the schedule.

2015-16 Record: 5-17 (2-12 SOL American)
League: SOL American
Classification: 5A
Head Coach: Matt Carroll (1st season)
Key Losses: Jenna Getz, Julia Gatto
Players to Watch: Madison Pisut (Sr., Guard) Noelle Woodman (Sr., Forward)
Outlook: “The coaching staff is excited for the upcoming crop of varsity players who are ready to step up to the challenge of high school varsity basketball. We have a lot of girls who will be given an opportunity to make an impact on this year’s team. Starting with a great off-season, the girls are buying in to the new coaching staff’s demands and expectations. They understand that winning at the varsity level is not easy and know what needs to be done in order to accomplish their goals. We expect to improve upon last year’s record, both overall and in the league, and to play every opponent tough.”

William Tennent’s Kyla Gibson drives for the basket during the Panthers’ game against Abington on Jan. 28, 2016. (Bob Raines—/Digital First Media)

2015-16 Record: 7-15 overall, (3-11 SOL National)
League: SOL Continental
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Laura Whitney (1st year)
Players to Watch: Kyla Gibson (Sr., Guard), Emma Stanfield (Jr., Guard/Forward), Kelly Scipione (Jr., Guard), Brianna Broccardi (Jr., Forward), Jenna Rodebaugh (So., Guard), Emily Vickalitis (So., Forward), Paige Schmidt (So., Forward)
Outlook: The Panthers jump from the National to the Continental, a daunting task for a new coaching staff with a relatively young roster.
“We are an extremely young team with a new system, playing in a new conference. Our focus is on trying to get better every day and to be competitive. Now that we are in a new conference this year, we are looking forward to developing new rivalries.”

2015-16 Record: 3-18 (2-12 SOL American)
League: SOL American
Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Rodney Cline (5th season)
Notable Losses: Daria Earland
Players to Watch: Carolina Mack (Sr. Guard), Julie Weber (Sr. Guard), Lexi Carradorini (Sr. Guard), Jasmine Bishop (Sr. Guard)
Outlook: The Trojans have a crop of experienced guards returning after a tough season. Wissahickon will have to be more consistent and explosive on offense if it wants to make a mark on the new-look SOL American.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

eight − six =


More in Girls Basketball