Back for more: Macey Hollenshead of Southern Fulton, last year’s Public Opinion Player of the Year, returns for her junior season. She helped the
Back for more: Macey Hollenshead of Southern Fulton, last year's Public Opinion Player of the Year, returns for her junior season. She helped the Indians to a 25-2 record last year. (Public Opinion file/Ryan Blackwell)
GIRLS

BASKETBALL

Greencastle-Antrim

Blue Devils

Coach: Mike Rhine, second year.

Last year: 13-10 (8-4 Mid Penn Colonial Division); lost 46-39 to Berks Catholic in a District 3-AAA play-in game.

Starters lost: Taché Smothers (P.O. First Team); Rachel Kline (P.O. Second Team); Lauren Grove (P.O. Second Team); Jenna Crunkleton.

Starters returning: Chloe Hoover (jr., 5-8, F/G, 8.4 points per game, P.O. Honorable Mention).

Other top players: Kaitie Gelsinger (so., 5-10, C, 3.4 ppg); Hannah Crist (fr., 5-6, PG); Ashlynn Schaeffer (jr., 5-7, F); Jane Herman (so., 5-6, G); Meghan Hirneisen (fr., 5-6, G); Abbey Pool (jr., 5-7, F); Lauren Powers (jr., 5-5, G).

Outlook: Rhine said, "This group does not have a lot of varsity experience, so we could use the work on fundamentals, but we're having to work hard on game situations. We feel we have a talented group, but nobody knows them yet. One thing I do know is that this is the tightest-knit group I've ever worked with, and I really like working with them. It's fun in practice and it seems like every day something good happens. Even though we're young and should have everybody back next year, I think we could contend in the division and maybe improve enough as the season goes on to make the playoffs."

Notes: The Blue Devils graduated 68% of their scoring from last year Hoover reached double figures 9 times, with a high of 20 points vs. James Buchanan G-A's entry in the District 3 Class AAA tournament was its first playoff game since 1997-98 The Devils' 8-girl rotation includes 4 juniors, 2 sophomores and 2 freshmen.

Season opener: Friday, in Franklin County Tip-Off Tournament at Waynesboro, vs. Waynesboro, 7.

Shippensburg

Lady Hounds

Coach: Amy Lyman, first year.

Last year: 17-7 (9-3 Mid Penn Colonial Division); beat Elizabethtown 50-48 in District 3-AAAA play-in; lost 45-30 to Manheim Township in first round.

Starters lost: Jenna Parson (P.O. First Team); Aunjel VanBrakle (P.O. First Team); Megan Baer (P.O. Second Team); MacKenna Kelley; Hailey Lyman.

Starters returning: Alysia Clawson (sr., 5-5, PG, P.O. Second Team).

Other top players: Alicia Johnson (sr., 6-2, C, P.O. Honorable Mention); Brooke Porter (sr., 6-0, F); Shayla Keller (sr., 5-4, G); Drew Lovett (so., 5-8, G); Denice "Nini" Lovett (so., 5-9, G/F); Kylee Miller (jr., 5-8, G/F); Sarah Lyman (fr., 5-9, G); Nicole Baker (so., 5-10, F/G); Kayleen Sydnor (fr., 5-9, F); Jasmine Chambers (fr., 5-4, G).

Outlook: "We're in kind of a Catch-22 right now - the girls are tired of practicing and want to play a game, but there are still a thousand things we need to do," Amy Lyman said. "But I'm pleased so far. I think we can get some nice outside shooting from Clawson, Keller and Drew Lovett, and we're learning to play more of an inside-out game. We need to get the ball to our big players and let them work, or they can pop it back out. The key is to be good at both inside and outside. I told the 11 girls on varsity that they all need to contribute, but I think when we can settle into our five to seven top players, it will make a difference."

Notes: Amy Lyman is a former head girls volleyball coach at Ship, and has experience as a varsity basketball coach in Utah ande New Mexico VanBrakle, Parson and Baer were all 3-year starters for the Lady Hounds Shippensburg finished behind Gettysburg each of the last 2 years in the Colonial Division.

Season opener: Friday, in New Oxford Tip-Off Tournament, vs. New Oxford, 8.

James Buchanan

Rockets

Coach: Rick Cristofano, second year.

Last year: 4-18 (3-9 Mid Penn Colonial Division).

Starters lost: Katie Cristofano (P.O. First Team).

Starters back: Cheyenne Carbaugh (jr., 5-7, F, 7.5 points per game, P.O. Honorable Mention); Rochelle Timmons (sr., 5-6, G, 4.4 points per game); Jess Moquin (jr., 5-7, F, 4.0 ppg); Kylea Mongold (sr., 5-6, G, 3.9 ppg).

Other top players: Bailey Wagner (jr., 5-6, G, 7.2 ppg); Jenae Piper (so., 5-6, G, 3.4 ppg). Jenna Carbaugh (so., 5-7, F, 1.1 ppg); Candice Plessinger (jr., 5-6, G); Tristen Amsley (fr., 5-6, G); Taylor Gorman (fr., 5-10, F); Charity Miller (fr., 5-8, F). 

Outlook: Cristofano said, "We're a young team, but we are experienced. A lot of girls played varsity last year because of injuries. We have added three freshmen who give us speed and some size. We are definitely ahead of where we were last year at this time. Last year we were just trying to put things together, so I feel a lot better about things. We have reason to have an optimistic outlook and we're excited about the season."

Notes: The Rockets return 7 players from a year ago who totaled 31.5 points per game Mongold played only the first 9 games before getting injured Before the season started last year, JB lost 3 players for the season to injury.

Season opener: Friday, in Franklin County Tip-Off Tournament, vs. Chambersburg, at Waynesboro, 4.

Fannett-Metal

Tigers

Coach: Jen Lauthers, 15th year, 100-252 (.284).

Last year: 9-13 (4-10 Sideling Hill League); lost to Meyersdale 47-33 in District 5-A first round.

Players lost: Hailey Nye.

Returning players: Blaire Lauthers (sr., C/F, P.O. First Team, 18.6 points per game); Megan Dougherty (sr., G, P.O. Second Team, 9.6 ppg); Naomi Fields (sr., G, P.O. Honorable Mention, 7.0 ppg); Melissa Zeger (so., C, 5..4 ppg); Amanda Laye (so., G, 3.3 ppg).

Other players: Liz Swanger (jr., G); McKenna Bair (so., G); Jodi Adams (so., F).

Outlook: "We are making some changes as far as our style of play this year," Jen Lauthers said. "I'm excited to get Liz and Jodi back in the mix after each missing last season with injuries."

Notes: After qualifying for postseason play last year, the Lady Tigers are hungry again for a chance to win their first-ever District 5 playoff game - their last playoff win was in District 3 in 1987-88 ... Last year's injury plague forced Lauthers to play three freshman in her primary six-player rotation ... That experience should pay off with a deep bench for the F-M this year.

Opener: Monday, at home vs. Chestnut Ridge, 7:30.

McConnellsburg

Spartans

Coach: Dave Garland, sixth year, 38-77 (.330).

Last year: 9-14 (4-10 Sideling Hill League); lost 49-45 to Shanksville in District 5-A first round.

Starters lost: Becca Hahn (P.O. Honorable Mention); Rikki Green; Sarrah Pollock (P.O. HM, injured and out for season).

Returning starters: Nikki Fleming (sr., F, P.O. Second Team, 9.1 ppg); Libby Strayer (sr., G, 8.1 ppg); Jessi Pittman (jr., C, 5.7 ppg).

Other top players: Samantha Roberts (so., G); Kylie Zittle (sr., G); Brittney Parson (so., F); Marah Huston (so., F/C).

Outlook: "We're looking to climb near .500," Garland said. "Half of our games were lost by two baskets or less. We had a lot of games last year when we were right there, we just didn't do a good job at the end of the game taking care of the ball. We lost a lot more close ones than we won, and could have been several games better than we were with just a couple of more baskets or fewer turnovers here and there. We're working on taking good shots, running the offense and we always work on defense."

Notes: The Spartans will be short-handed before the first tip-off with veteran point guard Sarrah Pollock lost for the season to to a knee injury ... Finding a sure-handed replacement to run the point will be coach Garland's top order of concern.

Opener: Friday, at Mount Union, 6.

Southern Fulton

Indians

Coach: Terry Bard, first season (10 years as assistant coach).

Last year: 25-2 (14-0, Sideling Hill League champions); beat Berlin 53-40 to win the District 5-A title; lost in PIAA first round to Elk County Catholic, 53-47.

Starters lost: Courtney Strait (P.O. Second Team); Jenna Hallenshead (P.O. Second Team).

Returning starters: Macey Hollenshead (jr., 5-6, PG, 17.8 points per game, P.O. Player of the Year); Taelor Morton (sr., 5-4, G, 10.2 ppg, P.O. First Team); Kayla Chilcote (sr., 5-7, F, 6.2 ppg, P.O. Honorable Mention); Kayla Wertz (sr., 5-5, F, 4.2 ppg), Ashley Roman (jr., 6-1, C, 6.6 ppg).

Other top players: Maddie Mellott (jr., 5-9, F); Morgan Strait (sr., 5-5, F).

Outlook: "Our goals are big," Bard said. "We don't just want to think about districts and the SHL - we want to get those - but we have our sights set again on states. I think the girls know they have a really good shot to do something special."

Notes: Bard replaced some of the weaker opponents and intentionally frontloaded the Indians' schedule with tough teams in the first month of season in hopes of better preparing the team to make a deeper run in states.

Opener: Saturday vs. Berkeley Springs, 3:30.

Forbes Road

Cardinals

Coach: Stacy Horne, first year.

Last year: 7-15 (2-12 Sideling Hill League).

Seniors lost: Jessica Gearhart (P.O. First Team).

Returning players: Corri Parsons (sr., G-F, 5-4, 4.0 ppg); Shayla Carmack (sr., G, 5-4, 10.1 ppg, P.O. Second Team); Sammie Clippinger (sr., G, 5-4, 8.7 ppg, P.O. Honorable Mention); Shania Gelvin (jr., PG, 5-1, 3.5 ppg); Haley Lashinsky (so,, F, 5-4, 2.1 ppg); Braylin Hohman (so., F, 5-9, 2.3 ppg); Breanna Worthing (so., F, 5-5, 3.6 ppg); Sierra Miller (so., G-F, 5-4, 1.0 ppg).

New players: Lauren Black (jr., F, 5-7); Alexis Clippinger (sr., G, 5-4); Arica Carbaugh (fr., G, 5-1); Malea Truax (fr., G, 5-1); Mina Wilt (fr., G-F, 5-2).

Outlook: Horne said, "We have a scrappy team with a competitive spirit and a positive attitude. The players are learning a new system and a different philosophy. I'm looking for us to come together as a team. The goal is to be competitive every night and have a winning program."

Notes: Horne replaces Kayla (Knepper) Cromer, who coached the Cardinals for 3 seasons Horne said he has coached feeder programs in the past, but that this is his first varsity head coaching assignment His assistant coaches are Andrew Ditty, Stacy Gelvin, Brittany Shaffer and Jamie Gelvin Forbes Road was 6-6 after the first dozen games last season Cora Wilt and Hannah Purnell did not come out for the team this season.

Opener: Monday, at home vs. Mount Union, 7:30.

Cumberland Valley

Christian Blazers

Coach: Mike Sanders, first year.

Last year: 4-17 (1-12 Mason-Dixon Christian Conference).

Seniors lost: None.

Returning players: Hannah Turner (jr., G, 5-5, 8.2 ppg); Morgan Keck (sr., F, 5-8, 5.5 ppg, P.O. Honorable Mention); Karli Fogal (jr., G, 5-1, 4.1 ppg); Karlee Kipe (so., G-F, 5-5, 1.5 ppg); Maddie Keck (fr., C, 5-10).

New players: Loryn Sanders (fr., G, 5-5); Vosia Belafoutas (fr., C, 5-10); Torri Stouffer (8th grade, G, 5-3).

Outlook: Sanders said, "We're a young team. It's going to take a while for things to gel. We have a new coach running a new offense and defense. I have to be patient with the new players and they have to be patient with me. (In a loss to Mercersburg last weekend) we were missing Morgan Keck to injury and Karlee Kipe to illness. I'm not making excuses; it was just one of those situations. I'm looking forward to building the program."

Notes: Sanders replaces Jeremy Smith, who coached the CVC girls for 3 seasons Sanders is coaching the Blazers' boys team as well as the girls He has a kid playing for each team The Blazers had no seniors on last year's team and only 1 (Morgan Keck, out with an injury until January) this season Sarah Rich and Emily Rice have tranferred from CVCS and Hannah Cherry did not come out for the team.

Opener: Dec. 11, at Faith Christian, 6:45.

Shalom Christian

Flames

Coach: Brad Eby, second year.

Last year: 9-9 (7-7 Sideling Hill League).

Seniors lost: Natasha Gibble, Karlee Wise.

Returning players: Lydia Tissue (sr., G, 5-9, 12.6 ppg, P.O. Honorable Mention); Rachel Holderman (jr., C, 5-11, 3.6 ppg); Tori Yoder (so., F, 5-6, 14.8 ppg, P.O. First Team); Kara Lehman (so., G, 5-5, 4.7 ppg); Jennifer Knepper (so., G, 5-3).

New players: Kamry Baum (sr., F, 5-1); Josey Fisak (sr., G, 5-3): Brooke Poe (so., G-F, 5-5); Lexy Poe (fr., G, 5-6); Brooke Kuhns (fr., F, 5-7); Lydia Harris (fr., G, 5-5); Jessica Grove (fr., F, 5-5).

Outlook: Eby said, "We are a very young team with lots of promise. We have some good freshmen who will be seeing plenty of playing time on varsity. We need to work on our passing. We have a lot of aggressive girls, but we still need to work on defense."

Notes: The Flames finished strong, winning 4 of their last 6 games last season They lost to Broadfording in the first round of the MDCC playoffs Shalom played in the Shenandoah Valley Christian Tournament last weekend, losing to Elizabeth Ann Seton (Manassas, Va.) and defeating St. John the Baptist (Fairfax, Va.) Maddie Smith, a senior forward, and Maris Baer, a sophomore guard, did not come out for the team this season Brooke and Lexy Poe are sisters.

Next game: Thursday, at Mercersburg Academy, 6:45.

Mercersburg Acad.

Blue Storm

Coach: Katie LaRue, second year.

Last year: 6-14 (0-5 Mid Atlantic Prep League; 0-5 Independent Parochial School League).

Seniors lost: Meredith Wallace.

Returning players: Melody Gomez (sr., C, 6-0, 8.3 ppg, P.O. Honorable Mention); MacKenzie Brink (jr., F, 5-11, 4.6 ppg); Sarah Firestone (sr., G, 5-8, 5.8 ppg); Hanna Warfield (sr., PG, 5-5, 6.8 ppg); Teal Tasker (so., G, 5-5, 4.4 ppg); Syd Godbey (jr., F, 5-6, 1.0 ppg); Paige Richardson (jr., G-F, 5-7, 1.2 ppg); Chantel Yague (jr., G, 5-3).

New players: Sydney Reath (so., G, 5-5); Taryn Miller (fr., G-F, 5-6).

Outlook: LaRue said, "We played at a higher level than before (in a win over Cumberland Valley Christian last weekend). A bunch of kids went to camp last summer and the improvement shows. We have expectations for a winning season. The intensity has stepped up on defense. We've spent a lot of time on defensive concepts."

Notes: Tasker and Reath are from Chambersburg, Richardson is from Shippensburg and Firestone and Miller are from Mercersburg The Blue Storm started out last season 5-2 Elise Robbins, a senior forward, and Emily Schoenberger, a sophomore guard, did not come out for the team this year Gomez has a torn ACL, but may be able to play without undergoing surgery A decision will be made in the weeks to come.

Next game: Thursday, at home vs. Shalom Christian, 6:45.