Looking to repeat.
With depth and senior leadership, Shipley is favored to defend its Friends Schools League championship. Last year's squad went 18-5 overall and topped Germantown Friends, 51-42, at Haverford College for the crown.
The Gators are ignited by Alex Lennon, a versatile and imposing 6-foot-2 senior. She averaged 16 points a game last season. American, East Stroudsburg, and West Chester are among the schools expressing interest.
Lennon is joined by four experienced players in the starting lineup: senior Alex Davis (8.1 ppg.), senior Alisha Fairfax (8.1 ppg.), senior Maureen Gentry (3.1 ppg.), and junior Brianna Ross.
Other players to watch are 5-10 sophomore Celeste Golub, freshman Jordyn Turner, junior Kendall Roberts, and 5-11 senior Loryn Hartshorne.
Friends' Central, with four returning starters, looks as if it will pose the biggest threat to Shipley's goal of a second straight league title.
Back for 10th-year coach Phil Annas are senior forward Erica Bash (9.3 ppg., 5.8 rebounds), 6-2 junior center Talia East (10.6 ppg., 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 blocks), junior guard Kristen Mann (9.4 ppg., 2.2 steals) and sophomore guard Monaye Merritt (5.3 ppg., 3.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals).
For the Phoenix, 18-8 overall last season, key contributions will also come from junior guard Kaitlyn McCaffrey and 6-1 sophomore forward Crystal Ross, a high-rebounding transfer from Public League Division AAAA champion Northeast.
"We certainly hope to make a sixth consecutive Friends Schools League playoff appearance," Annas said.
Friends Select, in its aim to improve on a 6-17 season, is counting on a starting lineup that may include two freshmen: guard Gabrielle Gibson and guard/forward Grace Finkbiner.
The established players for the Falcons, who went winless in league play in 2007-08, are senior guard Natasha Trice (4.5 ppg.), junior guard Keara McLaughlin (6.3 ppg.), sophomore forward Wylie Wilson (4.0 ppg.), and 5-11 junior forward Sarafina Kietzman-Nicklin (3.2 ppg.).
Other underclassmen to keep an eye on are forward Lucca Pelliccia and guard Drew Coleman, both sophomores. Amy Blum, a junior guard and forward, is also in the mix.
Carrie Timmins is the new boss at Westtown, which last year barely missed out on earning a playoff berth.
The leader for the young and height-challenged Quakers, 5-10 overall and 3-5 in the league last season, is point guard Erin Pinkett. The junior is a solid floor leader, a good dribble penetrator, and a threat to hit shots from beyond the three-point arc.
Pinkett will get scoring and defensive help from sophomore guard Lauren Losak, sophomore wing guard Meredith Conner, and senior forward Shinekwa Kershaw.
Timmins said she likes her squad's speed on defense, perimeter shooting and overall chemistry.
Mixing and matching.
With considerable depth, Moorestown Friends will run a lot of players in and out of the lineup this season.
The Foxes (6-18, 1-7) are sparked by senior captain Katie Stutz. The guard averaged 13.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season. She has 794 career points.
Lauren Mannion, a junior guard and forward, is expected to take a bit of the defensive attention away from the high-scoring Stutz. An aggressive player with a quality outside shot, she averaged about five points last year.
Ally Shaffer, a junior guard, is also a threat to score from the perimeter. Hannah Levy, a senior forward, is a solid rebounder for her size.
Seeking past glory.
Abington Friends is hoping to return to the form that helped it win three consecutive league championships from 2005 to 2007.
The Kangaroos (7-14, 3-5) are led by a trio of returning starters: senior guard Angie Adams, junior forward Bashira Anderson and sophomore guard Kelsey Clark.
"Our goal is to make the playoffs and then see what happens," Abington Friends coach David Bass said.
- Rick O'Brien