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All-County Girls Basketball Team a formidable squad

As is usually the case, Pennsylvania was loaded with girls basketball talent this past season.

Not surprisingly, Lebanon County again contributed more than its share to that talent pool. So much, in fact, that if you took the 2017 Lebanon Daily News All-County Girls Basketball Team and stacked it against any other Keystone State squad you'd probably fare pretty well.

It's an arguable point, of course, but at the very least this year's All-County team - Cedar Crest's Ariel Jones and Alyssa Austin, Northern Lebanon's Zoe Zerman and Megan Brandt and Lebanon Catholic's Alexis Hill and Neesha Pierre - would be a treat to watch.

Since Jones, Austin, Zerman and Brandt are headed to the college ranks and Hill and Pierre will be back at Lebanon Catholic next season to defend the Beavers' 1A state title, it's not going to happen in reality.

But we can speculate what it might be like if the six standouts joined forces in a mythical battle against another group of Pa. All-Stars.

They'll need a coach, and since it's my story I'll be handling those duties. That might be our only weakness.

Anyway, here's what the opponents are going to have to deal with:

First, we've got Jones (18.6 points, 47 3-pointers) running the show at point guard, using her blazing speed and 3-point shooting range to create all sorts of problems for the team that thinks they can beat us. Hey, she only led the Falcons to an unbeaten regular season and the Lancaster-Lebanon League title. She can more than handle the responsibility.

We'll pair Jones in the backcourt with her friend and AAU teammate Zerman, the floor leader and 13.1 points per game scorer for Northern Lebanon's Section 3 and District 3 4A championship team. She's a point guard, too, but she'll handle the '2' guard spot just fine. Plus, she's our defensive stopper, too, after spending the winter guarding the other team's best player on a nightly basis. Sorry, opponent, your best player is gonna have an off night with Zerman guarding her.

Hey, you think our backcourt is tough, check out our frontcourt of Hill, Brandt and Austin.

Hill is gonna drive our opponent's nuts with her boundless energy and athleticism, qualities she used to average 19.3 points per game while spearheading the Beavers' state title charge. She's also going to gobble up steals when we press - and we're gonna press a lot - so good luck getting in your offense with Hill flying all over the place.

Our designated warrior is Brandt, who'll be in charge of making big plays in crunch time, crashing the boards and generally being a winner, all of which she did this season while averaging 13.6 points a game for the Vikes. She can also guard on the perimeter effectively if we need her to. Yeah, Brandt's gonna come in handy.

As if our opponents didn't have enough to worry about, we've also got the 6-foot-1 Austin (12.0 ppg) anchoring our defense, stepping out to nail 3-pointers just to blow their minds, and also piling up points in the paint when we get her posted up. Good luck dealing with that.

Every great team, of course, needs some energy off the bench and fortunately we've got Pierre (7.2 ppgfor that. She'll handle the 6th girl role well, given her unselfish nature and ability to play both guard spots. Plus, she'll be right at home when we press. Just imagine her, Hill and Jones getting out on the break after forcing a turnover. The other team's gonna be burning timeouts left and right.

Again, only my coaching can screw this up. Or if any of the All-County team members demand to be traded. If that happens, we'll look for replacements among the second team and honorable mention picks that follow.

Second team

Liz Voight, Northern Lebanon

Amelia Baldo, Palmyra

Olivia Richardson, Palmyra

Taylor Bossert, Elco

Jasmine Turner, Lebanon Catholic

Honorable Mention

Rachel Witherite, Cedar Crest

Raven Morgan, Cedar Crest

Amber Kintzer, Northern Lebanon

Zara Zerman, Northern Lebanon

Celine Mars, Lebanon Catholic

Michaela Singer, Annville-Cleona

Annabelle Copeland, Palmyra

Julia Nelson, Elco

Destiny Infante, Lebanon

Kylie Murray, New Covenant