Things could go down to wire in girls' YAIAA Division I

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A look at top storylines entering the 2015 season in YAIAA Division I girls' basketball:

Can New Oxford build on last season's success? First-year head coach Jim Kunkle inherits a team that won a district playoff game and went 17-7 last season. The seniorless Colonials lose three to graduation-- Emily Clinton, Jensen Sneeringer and Taryn Crone -- but return leading scorer and all-league forward Kaelyn Long along with a stable of juniors, who played significant minutes as sophomores.

"I'm planning on continuing the success of the 2014-15 season," Kunkle said after being hired this summer. "I want to be in contention for the division title, and make it to the (league tournament), districts and states. You have to aim high, and with this team, I know we can do it."

How does Dallastown replace last season's senior class? Last year's senior class led by Debria Hendricks, Katie McGowan and Amari Johnson (who will be playing at Rhode Island this season) accounted for 40 points per game -- roughly 80 percent of the team's scoring average.

Head coach Mary Manlove will need several players to step into bigger roles this season if the Wildcats hope to return to the postseason. The leading returning scorer will be junior guard Sabrina Stough, who averaged 4.8 points.

Can Red Lion return to states? Under Don Dimoff, the Lions qualified for the Class AAAA state tournament last season and bring nearly everyone back. Four-year starter Courtney Dimoff returns as an All-YAIAA first-teamer, and junior Amy Maciejewski, who averaged 10 points, is one of the toughest defenders in the league. They'll be complemented by junior Natalie Reba (6.6 points) and junior Kynslee Shepherd (5.1 points) as the Lions look to dethrone Dallastown in Division I.

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Teddy Feinberg and Brandon Stoneburg preview the YAIAA girls' basketball 2015-16 season. GameTimePA.com

So, who wins the division? Last season, the division race came down to the last week with four teams separated by two games in the final standings. You could make a case that three of those teams -- New Oxford, Central York and Red Lion -- should be even better. South Western could be a dark horse with standout guard Jacey Shipley leading the way, and Dallastown can't be counted out. Would another thrilling division race that comes down to the wire be too much to ask for?

Be on the lookout for: Central York's Nikson Valencik and South Western's Taylor Geiman. As a freshman, Valencik turned heads with a 9.6 scoring average -- good enough for second on the team -- and a team-high 7.5 rebounds. Geiman has already garnered Division I interest as a freshman.

More coverage
Division II girls' basketball: Changes in coaching, player personnel
Division III girls' basketball: Irish seek 11th-straight District 3 championship

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