Preseason favorite.

Chester, runner-up to Sun Valley in the Del-Val League last season, is favored to claim the 2008-09 title.

That's not just because the Vanguards packed their bags and moved to the Ches-Mont League American Division. "We were real young last year," Clippers second-year coach Marvin Dukes said. "Now, we have a world of experience."

Karen Flagg, a 6-foot junior guard and forward, leads the way. A second team all-league selection last season, she averaged 11.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Forward Shakira Showell and forward/center Denise Hill, both seniors, averaged 7.9 and 4.9 points, respectively.

Of Flagg, Dukes said: "She can score the ball, she can play multiple positions, and she's a long-armed defender."

A key newcomer for the guard-heavy Clippers is freshman floor general Janera Handy. She is quick and a good passer.

New in charge.

At Interboro, Jody Boon takes over a program that won just four of 23 games last season. The good news is that the Bucs lost only two starters to graduation.

Fran Straccione, a senior captain and 5-11 forward, heads the goal of moving up the league ladder. Also back is junior wing guard Dana Froio.

From there, Boon will look to a number of seniors to support the efforts of Straccione and Froio. Among them are 5-11 forwards Alicia Ulsh and Jess Paulukas, point guard Vicki Patterson, and wing guard Lauren Frampton.

"We're going to try to get up and down the court," Boon said. "The girls have a good work ethic."

Small and young.

With his team lacking overall height and experience, it could be a highly challenging year for Chichester coach Michael Carrafa.

Carrafa does have a four-year starter in 5-6 senior guard Monica Van Horn and third-year starter in 5-7 junior guard Kellee Pace. The two are captains.

From there, the Eagles will need contributions from senior guards Jill Curran, Emily Miller and Felecia Berner. Tara Turberg, a sophomore guard, is also in the mix.

Last season, Chichester went 10-14 overall and, as the No. 29 seed, lost to No. 4 seed Conestoga, 49-33, in the opening round of the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA playoffs.

- Rick O'Brien