Interboro basketball player Brandi James goes up for a basket during a recent practice.
Interboro basketball player Brandi James goes up for a basket during a recent practice. (Julia Wilkinson)

The District One tournament steering committee robbed the last two Del Val League girls basketball champions out of a chance to play in the postseason.

Interboro was the most recent victim.

The Bucs captured their first Del Val title since 1998, edging Penn Wood. However, due to overall records and a general lack of making sense of things, Penn Wood qualified for the playoffs while Interboro went home earlier than expected.

This year's Bucs team has 1,000-plus points to replace with the departure of Olivia Encarnacion (PSU-Brandywine).

Fourth-year starter Stacie Hallinan returns along with junior center Brandi James, senior forward Suzey Fink and junior guards Sami Barnett and Becca Reifer.

"We are a fairly young team but the coaches feel we will get stronger as the year goes on,' coach Jody Boon said.

Monique Boykins begins her second season as coach of Penn Wood. The Patriots are coming off a 13-win season that ended at Neshaminy in the first round of districts.

Chester is looking to rebound from a last-place finish in league play. Princess Clemons transferred to Bonner-Prendergast after a solid freshman season for the Clippers.

Chichester did something no other Chichester girls basketball team had done before.

By defeating Nazareth Academy, the Eagles won a District One playoff game for the first time in program history.

This winter, the Eagles have veteran leadership in their starting lineup, a unit led by senior guards Logan Newman and Haley Sipple, who averaged 12.6 points as a junior. Madison Thornton, a junior guard, and senior guards Tequila Donnelly and Jess Cruz also return.

Depth, however, could be a concern for coach Mike Carrafa.

"I believe we will compete in our league if we stay healthy,' said Caraffa, who is set to begin his 20th season. "We lack experience except for Sipple, Newman and Thornton. Everyone else has had limited varsity experience, but that's why you play the game.

Academy Park was 6-16 despite solid play from Jordan Matthews, a career 1,000-point scorer, who has since graduated. This winter, sixth-year coach Amy Straup will rely heavily on three returning starters, senior guards Darriel Bennett and Tat Mobley, and senior forward Courtney Jenkins.

"The Del Val is extremely competitive... and it will be interesting when it comes time for league play how far the teams have progressed,' Straup said.

Ches-Mont League

The expectations at Sun Valley are always fairly high, but this year's squad will experience some growing pains. All-Delco Gia DeAngelo and Shayna Orr, the team's top scorers from a season ago, are no longer around.

Interboro’s basketball player Stacie Hallinan will be among the leaders for the Bucs this season.
Interboro's basketball player Stacie Hallinan will be among the leaders for the Bucs this season. (Julia Wilkinson)

Coach Frank Ridpath, who begins the season with 350 career victories, hopes that senior forward Chelsea Jones and senior guard Taylor Stigale, a pair of three-year starters, take the next step in their development.

"(They are the) only two players returning with any significant varsity playing time (and) we will be very inexperienced,' Ridpath said. "We hope to improve as season moves along.'

The biggest addition to the team is freshman Kate Lannon, whose sister, Libby, started on the 2012-13 Cardinal O'Hara team that advanced to the semifinal round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs. Lannon, a 5-9 guard, was a member of the AAU Comets team that placed third in a national tournament over the summer.

"Kate will be a special player here,' Ridpath said.

Bicentennial League

Delco Christian fell short of winning its fourth straight District One title last fall.

The Knights moved up to Class AA and held their own, until they clashed with St. Basil in the semifinal round. Delco Christian's season was complete at 21-6, marking the end of Stacey MacArthur's career. The 1,000-point scorer is playing both basketball and softball at PSU-Brandywine.

In addition, Jocelyn Chavous (Messiah), a surefire double-digit scorer most nights, also graduated. Coach Mark Weaver is calling this season, "a year of maturation at the guard position.'

Jamie Barr, a 5-11 senior forward/center, is looking to get through the entire season healthy after dealing with nagging injuries last season When healthy, Barr is a dominating low-post presence and shot-blocking machine. Senior forward Victoria Eppright is also back in the fold.

"We will be very athletic, relying on freshmen, sophomores and upperclassmen, to help us run our up-tempo style.'

Catholic Academies League

Sacred Heart is a scrappy Class A team tasked with facing some of the top programs in the Delaware Valley, including Mt. St. Joseph, St. Basil and Villa Maria Academy.

The Catholic Academies League is to girls basketball what the Del Val League is to boys hoops (most years).

The Lions managed only one win against league foes last season and lost to Jenkintown in the semifinal round of the District One Class A playoffs. The tough competition often pays off for Shuler's team in the long run.

The Lions feature top returnees and guards Emily Cartafalsa, McKenna Schneider, Nicolette Paci and Lauren Kilroy

Tri-State Christian Conference

There's reason to believe Christian Academy has a strong chance to compete for a league championship.

The Crusaders, coached by Jason Wilt, won 11 games last season and return their entire starting lineup: Senior forwards Adrianna Lacy and Jonnai Jones, junior guard Krystal Mason, and sophomore guards Grace Cryan and Carli Sitkowski. Cryan was a major scoring contributor her freshman year.