YAIAA basketball preview: Part 2
Now for part two of our YAIAA hoops primer. We take at look at how each of the four girls' divisions might shake out. Check the jump for the full breakdown. ****************************************** DIVISION IThe breakdown: Red Lion looks like the clear favorite here. After winning the division and the league tournament last year, the Lions advanced all the way to the state semifinals. And while Red Lion lost three starters from that team, Don Dimoff's squad enters the season with plenty of depth and quality talent, led by Giselle Truiett and Erica Maciejewski. But who will challenge the Lions? New Oxford is one possibility. Despite losing leading scorer Julia Antonelli and the fact their roster includes no seniors, the Colonials have some improving young players, led by sophomore guard Lindsay Miller (8.8 ppg last season). Dallastown could also make some noise under second-year coach Mary Kurnat, although the Wildcats stocked sophomore class will have to grow up quickly. Central York may have a tough time offsetting the losses of key contributors Chelsea Clemens and DeeDee Mosley, while South Western was also hit hard by graduation after going 12-2 in the division last season. Finally, William Penn will try to improve on last season's 0-19 campaign. Player to watch: Red Lion's Maciejewski. The junior forward had a fine season in 2009-10, averaging 8.1 points per game, but she could be primed for an even bigger season this time. Maciejewski is tough to handle in the paint, and still manages to run the floor well in the Lions' press-heavy scheme. The pick: Red Lion. Surprise, surprise. The Lions look like a safe bet to take the division and earn the program's ninth-straight 20-win season. The dark horse: Dallastown. The Wildcats have lots of intriguing players in their sophomore class, led by forwards Jenny Horvatinovic and Emily McGowan. Expect them to improve on last year's 13-9 overall record. DIVISION IIThe breakdown: The division has a newcomer in last year's Division III winner, West York. But the Bulldogs will look much different from the team that finished runner-up in the district and league tournaments last season. All five of West York's starters graduated, leaving a young and unproven group that will have to improve fast. The two favorites in the division are likely the two teams who tied for the title last season: Kennard-Dale and Spring Grove. The Rams return the impressive frontcourt duo of senior Devon O'Kane and sophomore Sara Tarbert, along with a deep senior class. The Rockets lost many of their main contributors from last year, but they still return senior Rachel Himes (8.3 ppg last season) and a promising junior class. Northeastern and Dover will try to improve eight and six win season, respectively, in 2009-10. Player to watch: Kennard-Dale's O'Kane. The senior forward is coming of a fine junior season (13.8 ppg) and should be a focal point for the Rams this season. The pick: Kennard-Dale. The defending co-division champs also return, on paper, the strongest and most experienced lineup in the division. Hard to pick against them. The dark horse: Spring Grove. Hard to call them a dark horse. But the Rockets will have to show they can offset the graduation of Codi and Carli McMaster, along with others. DIVISION IIIThe breakdown: West York's move up leaves this division looking wide open. Eastern York may have the strongest frontcourt in the division, led by versatile senior Kelci Scannapieco and junior Morgan DeRemer. Bermudian Springs and Susquehannock will be small, but both have quality guards returning. The Eagles will lean on junior Paige Dennison, who averaged 10.8 ppg last season. The Warriors, meanwhile, boast senior Chloe Mistovich (12 ppg last season). Littlestown will try to improve under first-year coach Charlie Sanders, while York Suburban will need to grow up quickly after last year's seven-win season. Player to watch: Susquehannock's Mistovich. The senior will shoulder several roles for the Warriors: Top scorer, facilitator, leader. Her play will be integral to Susquehannock's success. She'll need help, though. The pick: Eastern York. After an up-and-down regular season in 2009-10, the Golden Knights nearly upset West York in the district playoffs. The bet here is that the encouraging signs Eastern showed in that game can carry over into this season. The dark horse: Susquehannock. Mistovich makes them dangerous, while Leah Deter and Jeanette Wilson both have a year of experience to draw from after starting as freshman last season. DIVISION IVThe breakdown: This will be a two-team race. York Catholic and Delone Catholic split the division title last year, and should duke it out once again. York Catholic looks stacked, returning all-everything guard Kady Schrann along with three other starters and a slew of quality bench options. Delone will counter with its own primetime player -- junior Sierra Moore (21.1 ppg last season) -- along with its own solid supporting cast. The Squires junior class is simply loaded, with Moore, Maria Photiades, Courtney McMaster and Stormie Hibshman all in the fold. As for the rest of the division ... Hanover returns plenty but will have to make up ground after going 2-20 last season ... Biglerville lost four seniors last year but could challenge for double-digit wins ... and Fairfield will have to make up for a lack of depth under new coach Steve Shultz. Player to watch: Delone's Hibshman. She averaged 7.1 ppg last season, but has to potential to be a difference-maker under the basket. Her emergence could give Delone another go-to option besides Moore. The pick: York Catholic. It's just too hard to pick against the Irish and Schrann. York Catholic must replace senior Brittany Hicks, but the Irish have the experience and talent to be able to do that. The dark horse: Delone Catholic. Before we hand York Catholic another district title and label them a state favorite, lets not forget about the Squires. That junior class is formidable. Could this be the year they take the next step?