Columbia Crimson Tide
Coach: Maureen Schulz (4th season, 14-52)
2014-15 record: 1-15 L-L, 1-21 overall
Returning starters: Lucy Schulz (5-11, SR, G), Shanel Neal (5-7, JR, G), Jordan Hershelroath (5-8, JR, G/F), Dhelma DeJesus (JR, C)
Others to watch: Haven Burgard (JR, G), Savanna Walton (5-2, SO, G), Lizzie Mowrer (SO, G)
The skinny: Neal (13.9 ppg, 30 3’s) and Schulz (10.0 ppg) are as good an offensive back-court as they come. DeJesus (4.8) can score in the paint, and the supporting cast knows how to put the ball through a hoop.
The trouble is on defense — the Crimson Tide held opponents under 50 points just twice a year ago to the tune of a 61.5 points allowed average. Shrink that number, and the win total should rise.
Lancaster Catholic Crusaders
Coach: Charlie Detz (2nd season, 22-6)
2014-15 record: 16-0 L-L, 22-6 overall
Returning starters: Caroline Scarff (5-11, SR, F/C), Julia Breit (5-6, SR, G), Lauren Mills (5-11, SO, G/F)
Others to watch: Annaliese Schreder (5-5, SR, G), Corina Rivera (5-6, JR, G), Kiki Jefferson (5-11, FR, G/F)
The skinny: Lancaster Catholic graduated four-year player and three-ball machine Erin Holt after last season, but the return of Scarff (14.0 ppg) and Mills (6.0), plus the addition of Jefferson, gives the Crusaders a height advantage that other Lancaster-Lebanon teams simply can’t match.
Meanwhile, Breit (6.0) should take over ball-handling duties backed by a cadre of capable players off the bench.
“We do return a good nucleus of girls that saw significant varsity time last year,” said Detz. “I expect to go 8-9 (players) deep which will be important as we will continue to strive for an up-tempo game, both on offense and defense.”
Lancaster Mennonite Blazers
Coach: Dani Zeamer (2nd season, 3-19)
2014-15 record: 2-14 L-L, 3-19 overall
Returning starters: Naomi Bronkema (SR, G), Cassidy King (JR, F)
Others to watch: Ashley McNeil (JR, G), Naomi Barbosa (JR, G), Alyssa Peters (JR, F), Bethany Bronkema (SO, G)
The skinny: Perhaps things got off to a slower start than expected as Zeamer works to rebuild the Blazer regime, but there’s no doubt Naomi Bronkema (6.0 ppg, 10 3’s) and King (5.4) can be a force. Look for greater contributions from Bethany Bronkema (5.3 ppg in 6 games), among others, as Lancaster Mennonite continues its climb.
Pequea Valley Braves
Coach: Jason McDonald (4th season, 21-43)
2014-15 record: 6-10 L-L, 9-13 overall
Returning starters: Alyssa Hershey (6-0, SR, G/F), Kimmy Andes (5-7, SR, G), Megan Stoltzfus (5-7, JR, G)
Others to watch: Kate Farrell (5-7, SR, F), Regan Donecker (5-7, JR, F), Lydia Cacciola (5-5, SO, G), Tonia Holmes (5-9, SO, F)
The skinny: Hershey (19.2 ppg), the L-L Section Four MVP a year ago, will combine with Stolzfus (9.5 ppg, 19 3’s) and Andes (6.2, 19 3’s) for a formidable around-the-arc rotation and will provide leadership to a group that also includes four freshmen.
“We have good team chemistry and have been working hard,” McDonald said. “We need to get consistent play from the younger players in order to be successful this season.”
If the Braves “play hard, smart, and consistent,” they should challenge for one of two playoff berths in the final year of Section Four.