With the high school basketball season just 24 hours away -- as of this post -- there is no better time to gauge the balance of power among the YAIAA's girls' basketball teams. Of course, this before any teams actually take the floor in an official capacity. So, let's factor in who's back and go from there.
One thing is for sure: expect parity in the league this season. Maybe even more than last season, which saw Dallastown emerge as the YAIAA tournament champion and York Catholic return to the Class AA state title game.
Speaking of the Irish, let's start there with this season's preseason rankings:
1. York Catholic (29-3 last season): Two early questions for the Irish and coach Kevin Bankos will be replacing leading scorer Morgan Klunk, who is now at Bloomsburg University, and guard Amelia York. Bankos expects York back in February as she recovers from an ACL injury suffered this past summer. When healthy, York brings a tenacity few players can match. However, the Irish still have the type of talent that can make others jealous. Six-foot-1 junior center Hannah Laslo and UMBC-commit Zaenna Echevarria on the perimeter are two who come to mind.
2. West York (23-7): The Bulldogs suffered a hard loss last year when versatile forward Sarah Shearer was lost for her senior season because of injury. West York still rode two sophomore guards, Kari Lankford and Emily Wood, to a Division I title. With both back, consider the Bulldogs a favorite to repeat last season's feat.
3. Dover (27-4): While the Eagles enjoyed a breakout performance last season, the previous year wasn't so bad, either. They were 18-7 in Troy Lokhaiser's first season as coach, but this team returns all but one starter from a PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinal run.
4. Dallastown (19-7): At first glance, the Wildcats look inexperienced on the perimeter. Their top three guards from last season -- Shae Grim, Jenna Jackson and Shannon Thomas -- graduated. However, 6-1 junior Amari Johnson's play on the perimeter could help ease that transition. She also could give opponents nightmares with defensive mismatches.
5. Susquehannock (18-9): The Warriors made it to the District 3 Class AAA championship game last winter and have a strong core from that team. Start with forward Shannon Druck, a Holy Cross commit who can play the point in addition to being one of the Warriors' top rebounders.
Under consideration: 6. Delone Catholic, 7. Red Lion, 8. Eastern York, 9. Bermudian Springs, 10. Spring Grove.