A in Chemistry.

Jim Fenerty has a good feeling about this season. And it's easy to understand why.

The Germantown Academy coach returns eight contributors from last season's Inter-Ac League co-championship squad.

"I think our chemistry is great," Fenerty said. "The kids are working. . . . I think we are pretty much going to be competitive."

In Cameron Ayers and Jeff Holton, the Patriots boast two of Southeastern Pennsylvania's top players.

Ayers, a 6-foot-4 junior shooting guard, is being recruited by Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Georgetown and Michigan, among others. Holton, a 6-6 senior center, signed with American University.

Versatile, Holton can knock down a three-pointer and play on the low post.

Senior point guard Jimmy Fenerty (5-11), junior guard Austin Curry (5-10), and senior power forward Dean Melchionni (6-5) will join them in the starting lineup.

Once healthy, senior forwards Eric Yuschak (6-5), Jack McDonald (6-4) and Peter Haines (6-3) will also contribute.

"I really enjoy coaching these kids," Jim Fenerty said.

MVP is back.

Chestnut Hill Academy coach Bill Dooley returns three starters from last season's cochampionship squad. And one of those players, senior swingman Gary Lawrence (6-5), is the reigning league MVP.

Junior shooting guard Pat Connaghan (6-4) and junior forward Todd Crammer, a 6-4 forward, are the other returning starters.

Junior Andrew Kraft (6-1) and senior guards Kevin Maguire (5-9) and Ryan Duffy (5-9) also return for a team that once again will be in the mix.

Coaching milestone.

With 599 career victories, legendary Episcopal Academy coach Dan Dougherty is bound to nab the victory needed for another coaching milestone. But can his Churchmen improve on last season's 14-13 record?

A lot will depend on sophomore guard Omari Greer (6-1) and senior guard Corey Goodman (6-0), the team's returning starters.

"I think that we may be year away," Dougherty said. "But we certainly are not going to take a bye on this year."

Sophomore center Isaiah Baker (6-6), senior forward Sean Toner (6-1) and junior forward Allen Heggs (6-5) will be looked upon to complement Greer and Goodman.

Sophomore stars.

Coming off consecutive 17-win seasons, the Malvern Prep Friars have a legitimate chance to contend for the title.

In addition to returning senior guard Brendan McNulty (5-11) and junior guard Ryan Creighton (5-10), Malvern Prep has a group of talented sophomores. Guard Lamont Church (6-4), swingman DeQuann Walker (6-3) and forward Tracy Peal (6-4) and Sean Mooney (6-5) are arguably the area's best collection of sophomores on one team.

Tough and defensive.

The Penn Charter Quakers lost several players to transfers. Other would-be returners opted not to rejoin the team. But if you think interim coach Bill Michuda is worried, you don't know the man.

"I will be surprised if we are not tough and not defensive," said Michuda, who inherited a team that lost six of last season's top eight players.

Senior guard Mark Rhine (6-0) and junior guard Dylan Moody (5-9) are the two returners.

Junior forward Tommy Noonan (6-7), junior guard Michael Xavier Brown (5-9) and senior center Don Rauchut (6-6) are expected to provide some help.

"I expect to play eight guys," Michuda said. "I'm optimistic."

Lots of guards.

The Haverford School Fords are counting on a guard-heavy lineup to improve upon last season's 7-18 campaign. That could be tough, considering senior combo guard Sam Kurtzman (6-1 guard) and junior forward A.J. Jones (6-3) are the only returning starters.

"Not a ton of talent, but I love these kids," said Haverford coach Steve Cloran, who will utilize a nine or 10 player rotation. "We are hopefully going to be in a lot of really tight games.

- Keith Pompey