Pair of F-F girls teams return 5 starters
Mid Penn Colonial Division
Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils
Coach: Mike Rhine, sixth season, 95-34 (.736)
Last year: 24-4 (11-1 MPC); lost in PIAA second round to Gwynedd-Mercy.
Starters lost: Hannah Crist (P.O. first team), Meghan Hirneisen (P.O. second team)
Returning starters: Jenay Faulkner (sr., 5-11, 19.1 ppg, P.O. first team), Morgan Wagaman (sr., 5-3, 4.6 ppg, P.O. HM), Madison Sweitzer (so.), Lydia Crist (so.)
Other top players: Ashley True (so., 5-7, injured), Heidi Schanzenbacher (so., 5-7), Jordan Yeager (so., 5-9)
Outlook: Despite losing two of the team’s “Big Three,” coach Mike Rhyne said the team’s pace and dominating nature will likely remain the same. “It doesn’t look like we will change as much as I thought,” Rhyne said. “Morgan (Wagaman) looks like an absolute beast, and is determined to be a star. Lydia is shooting as well as her sister (Hannah Crist) and she’s only in 10th grade. We prefer to play really fast and it might be possible from what we’ve seen.”
Notes: Faulkner has dominated the court as one of the area’s top players for the last three seasons; but this year Faulkner is taking on a new role as the team’s point guard. With arguably the best ball skills on the team, Faulkner will now be the Blue Devils’ offensive and defensive specialist, and Rhine does not expect Faulkner to miss a beat.
“She’s super efficient. If she only gets 10 shots a game, she can turn those into 18 points really quick.” Faulkner is 56 points away from the G-A girls scoring record, and is 248 points from the school’s all-time scoring record.
Season opener: Friday, in Franklin County Tip-Off Tournament at Waynesboro vs. Chambersburg, 3:30.
James Buchanan Rockets
Coach: Jen Lauthers, fourth season at James Buchanan, career 225-340 (.398).
Last year: 11-11 (5-7 MPC)
Starters lost: Charity Miller (P.O. second team), Tristen Amsley (P.O. HM)
Returning starters: Rachel Martin (sr., 5-6, 11.3 ppg), Aspen Anderson (sr., 5-3, 3.1 ppg)
Other top players: Abby Mackling (jr., 5-5), Renee Sollenberger (jr., 5-8), Cassidy Martin (so., 5-10), Maggie Strawoet (so., 5-10), Rachel Manikowski (jr., G), Hannah Kimmel (fr., F), Riley Heinbaugh (fr., G), Macey Keefer (jr., F/G), MacKenzie Shugart (jr., G), Janice Grove (jr., F), Carlyn Caron (jr., G)
Outlook: “We are looking for some scorers to make up for Charity (Miller), so those are pretty big shoes to fill, but the girls are capable of doing it,” James Buchanan coach Jen Lauthers said. “We actually have two or three girls who have really stepped up. They are working very hard and they know what they need to do, it’s just a matter of dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.”
Notes: Charity Miller averaged more than 13 points per game, but the Rockets return Rachel Martin, the team’s other double-figure scorer. Martin, however has taken over as point guard, which may limit her scoring.
Season opener: Friday at Franklin County Tip-Off Tournament at Waynesboro, 6:30.
Shippensburg Lady Hounds
Coach: Andrew Markel, third season, 15-29 (.340)
Last year: 8-14 (6-6 MPC)
Starters lost: Kayleen Sydnor
Returning starters: Mariah Martin (jr., 5-8, 9.4 ppg, G, P.O. second team), Kara Newell (jr., 5-6, 9 ppg, G, P.O. HM), Liz Logan (sr., 5-9, F, 7.1 ppg)
Other top players: Sam Barmont (jr., 5-6, F, 3.5 ppg), Maddie Bender (sr., 5-3, G, 1.5 ppg)
Outlook: “We will be returning eight girls who played in varsity games last year,” Shippensburg coach Andrew Markel said. "We have our top four leading scorers back, so I expect our offense to be more viable this year. Our biggest strength last year was our defense, which should carry over to this season, as well. But our weaknesses is our lack of overall size and length.”
Notes: The Lady Hounds return eight varsity players, including two starters, Mariah Martin and Kara Newell, who both flirted with double-figure averages last year in their sophomore seasons.
Season opener: Friday at Gettysburg Tip-Off Tournament vs. New Oxford, 6.
Coach: Allison Stieger, third season, 15-32 (.319)
Last year: 7-14 (3-9 MPC)
Starters lost: None
Returning starters: Cat Weber (sr., 5-9, F 15.9 ppg, P.O. first team), Chelsea Cover (sr., 5-5, G, 13.5 ppg, P.O. second team), Olivia Gardenhour (sr., 5-6, G, 7.3 ppg, P.O. HM), Sara Gsell (sr., 5-4, G, 4.4 ppg, P.O. HM)
Other top players: Liz Churchman (sr., 5-4, G, 3.1 ppg), Brooke Geise (sr., 5-9, F)
Outlook: "We have seven seniors this year and a lot of experienced players that have played together for many years," Waynesboro coach Allison Steiger said. "The team is very driven to
be better than they were last year. We have good perimeter shooters and have good post play, so I feel that we have balance on the offensive end of the floor."
Notes: After having no seniors last season, the Maidens flipped its roster, which is now packed with senior players, including a core of starters led by two double-figure scorers in Cat Weber and Chelsea Cover ... In addition to seven seniors, four sophomores make up Waynesboro's 11-man roster.
Season opener: Friday at Franklin County Tip-Off at home vs. James Buchanan, 6:30.
Sideling Hill League/ Inter-County Conference
Southern Fulton Indians
Coach: Meagan Mellott, second season.
Last year: 21-5 (12-4 SHL, 10-4 ICC), won the District 5 Class 1A Championship, lost in the first round of PIAA tournament to Homer Center by one point.
Starters lost: Celina Merchant (P.O. first team), Shaye Smartt (P.O. HM)
Returning starters: Olivia Mottern (sr., G/F, 19.8 ppg, P.O. first team), Drew Hann (sr., F, 3.7 ppg), Drew Gordon (so.)
Other top players: Madison Baker (sr., F), Emily Bradshaw (sr., 2 ppg), Lindsey Hollenshead (fr., PG)
Outlook: “Although we lost a great deal of talent in our seniors last year, I think we are gaining just as much. Our biggest weakness will be inexperience,” Southern Fulton coach Meagan Mellott said. “I truly believe that if we continue putting in the work, we can end up back at UPJ for the D5 championship. Our team last year really set the bar high for this upcoming season. We know now what it takes to get there, and it is definitely our goal to get back.”
Notes: Mellott said the team was plagued with the injury bug in the offseason, and will play with limited numbers. The team’s conditioning and team chemistry will need to be at an all-time high, according to Mellott, as each varsity starter will be logging a lot of minutes on the court.
Season opener: Saturday at home vs. Berlin, 3:45.
Coach: Brent Seville, fourth season, 42-30 (.600)
Last year: 17-9 (10-5 SHL, 9-5 ICC) lost in PIAA first round to Quigley Catholic.
Starters lost: Kylie Keefer, Alexis Mellott (P.O. HM)
Returning starters: Bronwyne Mellott (sr., F, 26.2 ppg, P.O. Player of the Year), Bridgette Ritchey (sr., F/C, 6.5 ppg, P.O. second team), Kellyn Perry (jr., 4.4 ppg), Justice Seville (sr., 6.5 ppg, P.O. HM).
Other top players: McKenzie Gelvin (sr., 17.3 ppg, P.O. First Team, transfered from Forbes Road), Carrie Glee (fr.), Mattalynn Ross (fr.), Katelyn Truax (fr.), Kailey Swope (fr.), Kaitlyn Harnish (fr.)
Outlook: “This is going to be an exciting season for us,” McConnellsburg coach Brent Seville said. “McKenzie Gelvin is a great addition to our starting group and her speed will allow us to play an up-tempo offense. Bronwyne Mellott is coming off another remarkable season. Justice Seville has changed from point guard to shooting guard; she led our team in 3-point shots last season. We have a talented bench as well. We are looking forward to a great season.”
Notes: With the addition of Gelvin, the Lady Spartans now boast two offensive threats who put up big numbers last year. The combined point average between Gelvin and Bronwyne Mellott from last season was 43.5 points per game … The team also returns leading rebounder Bridgette Ritchey, and two-way threat Kellyn Perry.
Season opener: Friday at home vs. Mount Union, 7:30 p.m.
Forbes Road Cardinals
Coach: Jamie Gelvin, first season
Last year: 10-13 (5-11 SHL, 3-11 ICC) lost to Meyersdale in the first round of the District 5 tournament.
Starters lost: McKenzie Gelvin (transfered, P.O. first team), Mina Wilt (P.O. second team), Malea Truax
Returning starters: Courtney Schoen (jr.), Maddie Miller (jr.), Mara Broadwater (so.)
Other top players: Maiah Mellott (sr.), Kyra Duvall (jr.)
Outlook: “We are a young team working through learning a new system and finding our team’s identity,” Forbes Road coach Jamie Gelvin said. “The girls have been great to this point at putting in the effort to learn and staying positive. All of the girls are more than willing to do anything asked of them to help contribute and make the team successful. As with anything, there is a learning curve, but they are all handling the challenges very well.”
Notes: Last season the Cardinals made an appearance in the District 5 Class 1A tournament with just six girls on the roster. This season Forbes Road has 10 players listed, four of whom are freshman… Maiah Mellott is back for her senior season after missing last year due to injury.
Season opener: Dec. 12, at Mount Union, 7:30.
Coach: Todd Best, fourth season, 25-61 (.290)
Last year: 6-15 (3-13 SHL, 1-13 ICC)
Starters lost: None
Returning starters: Taylor Coffman (jr., 11.9 ppg), Ally Hoffmann (jr., 12.7 ppg), Makayla O’Donel (sr., 5.1 ppg), Emily Metcalfe (sr., 3.1 ppg)
Other top players: Becky Runk (sr., 3.4 ppg), Katie Johns (so., 3.2 ppg), Madison Johns (sr., 3.6 ppg)
Outlook: “Everyone returns from last year’s varsity squad, and I think we have eight to 10 girls that can provide quality minutes at the varsity level. I like our overall team speed and athleticism,” F-M coach Todd Best said. “Most of the teams in our league return their best players this year, so we want to improve and be competitive and relevant in every game we play. Our team is eager to make playoffs.”
Notes: Best said the team’s main core of players took to the offseason to improve their play and individual skills, playing AAU basketball, attending clinics and advanced shooting sessions to become more competitive. “Overall the girls have embraced a competitive, positive culture,” Best said.
Season opener: Monday at Tussey Mountain, 7:30
Mason-Dixon Christian Conference
Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers
Coach: Courtney Cover, first season
Last year: 5-12 (5-9 MCDD); lost to Faith Academy in the MDCC quarterfinals.
Starters lost: Loryn Sanders, Maddie Keck, Jessie Morrow
Returning starters: Tori Stouffer (sr.), Imani Harper (sr.)
Other top players: Kaitlin Provard (so.), Brittany Morrow (so.)
Outlook: “We are a young team, but I think our talent and athleticism will show each night as the players step out on the court,” first-year CVCS coach Courtney Cover said. “Our seniors have stepped up and demonstrated great team leadership, which I think will help this team flourish and continue to grow as the season progresses.”
Notes: The Blazers lost two of their top three scorers, but return Tori Stouffer, who averaged 14 points per game last year ... CVCS does not boast a deep bench, with just nine girls on the varsity roster.
Next game: Friday, at home vs. Shenandoah Valley, 6:45
Shalom Christian Flames
Coach: Brad Eby, sixth season, 83-25 (.768)
Last year: 22-2 (14-0 MDCC); lost to Grace Academy in the MDCC championship game.
Starters lost: Lydia Harris (P.O. first team), Brooke Kuhns (P.O. HM), Lexy Poe (P.O. HM)
Returning starters: Brooke Emge (jr., PG, 11.2 ppg, P.O. second team), Paige Hoover (jr., G/F, 3.0 ppg)
Other top players: Grace Banfe (so., G), Michaelena Hammond (so., C), Kylie Eby (jr., G, 2.5 ppg)
Outlook: “We lost a bit of quickness. We’ve been blessed with quick talent like Tori Yoder and Lydia Harris, but Brooke (Emge) is very quick," Shalom coach Brad Eby said. “We will change how we play a little bit, but Michaelena will bring some height. We don’t have a deep bench, which is our biggest weakness, but our biggest strength is how well these girls play together. In the game of basketball you might have one great player but that doesn’t always make the team great. These girls play better as a team.”
Notes: The Flames will look to replace 1,000-point scorer Lydia Harris, but return Brooke Emge, who averaged double figures last year… The Flames have no seniors ... Michaelena Hammond played limited minutes last year due to injury.
Next game: Friday, at Calvary Christian, 5:30