Hempfield Black Knights
Coach: Brian Rife (six seasons, 75-52)
2014-15 record: 17-10
Returning starters: Julianna Clark (5-9, junior, guard)
Others to watch: Kylie Givler (5-10, senior, forward), Anna Williams (5-9, senior, guard), Paige Diminick (5-9, junior, guard), Bri Byler (5-4, junior, guard), Sammy Helgeson (5-5, junior, guard), Maggie Pohl (5-9, junior, guard), Trinity Sumrall (5-5, sophomore, guard)
The skinny: There are changes ahead for a Hempfield team that returns just one starter from the 17-10 2014 season, but Rife already has a plan in place to get his team going early.
“The keys to our season will be our ability to defend full court, rebound effectively and shoot the ball efficiently,” he said. “We hope to be more of a transition team offensively and defensively and to continue to jell as the season progresses.”
Look for Clark, as well as seniors Kylie Givler and Anna Williams, to step into roles in the new offense.
JP McCaskey Red Tornado
Coach: Brian McCloud (12 seasons)
2014-15 record: 19-8
Returning starters: Jaileen Short (junior, guard), Ahnera Parker (junior, forward), Briana Perry (junior, guard), Paris Todd (junior, guard)
Others to watch: Sienne Kemmerer (senior, forward), Alize Cherry (senior, guard), Sylera Weller (senior, guard), Precious Reid-White (junior, forward), Brooklyn Smith-Jones (senior, guard), Jaziah Richardson (junior, forward)
The skinny: The Red Tornado had a strong season last year and returns four starters from that squad. All four are juniors that gained valuable experience in 2014 and look to improve upon the 19-8 record.
However, McCloud said he wants to see another aspect of his team grow. For McCloud, the key to a successful season, one that includes district and state playoffs, is “building a strong bench.”
That effort will be led by a veteran group, including four seniors.
Manheim Township Blue Streaks
Coach: David Burkhart (5 seasons, 82-27)
2014-15 record: 10-12
Returning starters: Megan Baldassarre (6-0, sophomore, forward), Mary Beitzel (5-6, senior, guard), Caitlin Hickey (5-8, senior, guard), Caitlyn Newcomer (5-10, senior, forward)
Others to watch: Alison Heckman (5-4, sophomore, guard), Laura Hinnenkamp (5-6, senior, guard), Olivia Matto (5-7, sophomore, guard), Delaney McKnight (5-10, sophomore, forward), Kate Moore (5-8, sophomore, forward)
The skinny: Injuries struck the Blue Streaks last season, forcing the youth on the team to get more experience while a couple starters were out. That resulted in a 10-12 season, an anomaly for Burkhart and his program.
This year, he returns four starters and a bench that had quality minutes last season. With that comes lofty expectations.
“Our goals are to play hard every night and play together,” Burkhart said. “If we do those things we hope to compete for a Section One championship, qualify for District Three playoffs and see where things take us.”
Penn Manor Comets
Coach: Megan Quinn (First season)
2014-15 record: 7-15
Returning starters: Ally Rowe (senior, forward), Alyssa Schriver (sophomore, point guard)
Others to watch: Ellie Barley (senior, center), Lynsey Wissler (junior, forward), Sarah Wiker (sophomore, forward), Sarah Stackhouse (junior, guard), Macy Carroll (sophomore, guard), Nasheyla Greggs, (sophomore, guard)
The skinny: Quinn, a Penn Manor and Elizabethtown College alum, will have the tough task of turning around a program that finished 7-15 last season. She will, though, have the luxury of brining two key starters from last year’s team.
Rowe and Schriver will play vital roles in helping to get a young roster to gel quickly. Quinn said she’s looking for the youth to gain crucial minutes this season.
“We are a young team working to gain experience,” Quinn said. “Our goals are to work hard defensively and capitalize on the offensive end.”
Coach: Janelle Garber (first season)
2014-15 record: 6-16
Returning starters: Rylee Derr (junior, guard), Rene Ross (junior, guard), Kate Martin (junior, guard)
Others to watch: Sam Earle (junior, post), Kasie Sheaffer (junior, guard)
The skinny: First-year coach Garber is excited to welcome back three starters from last year’s team. It was a losing season, but Garber said her team has been working on individual skills and team concepts this offseason to try to improve on that record.
As for what she wants to see out of this team:
“Our goal this season is to work hard every day and be a defensive powerhouse,” Garber said.