Rare absence. After not qualifying for the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament, a rare happening under coach Tom Lonergan, Central Bucks East is hoping to reach that goal and others this season.
After not qualifying for the PIAA Class AAAA state tournament, a rare happening under coach Tom Lonergan, Central Bucks East is hoping to reach that goal and others this season.
The leaders for Lonergan, now in his 10th season in charge, include senior point guard Jaime Donovan and 5-foot-9 junior forward and center Liz Martin.
Other seniors expected to pitch in are wing guard Caitlin Vasey, also a standout in field hockey, forward Sarah Pullar and guard/forward Jordan Seiz.
For Cheltenham, an area perennial power, last year's 15-11 record was a disappointment. Seasons of 20-plus win are the norm for Bob Schaefer and the Panthers.
The bid for redemption is anchored by junior point guard Shayla Felder, a first-team all-Suburban One League American Conference selection last season, and senior guard and forward Dayna McCrewell.
The other regulars are 6-3 senior center Jenna Peoples, junior guard Monet Constant and sophomore guard Tiffany Johnson.
"Last year was a building year for us," Schaefer said. "We struggled through a lot of growing pains. Now, this group is older and more mature."
Souderton, 11-14 overall last season, is relying on a handful of three-year varsity players.
The catalysts are junior guards Brittany Sandone (10.3 points per game) and Averie Brittin (7.6 ppg.). Also in the mix are 6-foot senior forward Monica Schmidt, senior guard/forward Sarita Kundrod, junior guard and forward Emily Price, and 5-11 junior Jessica Bard.
Upper Merion's Lisa Ridgeway, a 5-10 sharpshooter, is in the final year of a standout high school career. Last season, she averaged 13.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game and was a second-team all-league selection.
Coach Tom Schurtz is also relying on junior forward Alex Galdi, senior guard Jessica Moore, and junior guards Paola Tinari and Brianna Alvarez.
At Neshaminy, coach Joanne McVey is thrilled with the work habits of her players.
The Redskins are banking on solid play from senior guard Avery Wunder, a second-year starter who averaged 7.4 points a game last year, senior forward Chelsea Rota (6.1 ppg., 3.7 rpg.) and 6-foot junior center Kelsey Ryan (7.7 ppg., 7.6 rpg.).
Jennifer Slivka, a sophomore guard and part-time starter last season, also figures in the team's plan for improvement.
Upper Moreland, coming off a one-win season, seeks to substantially better its position in the American Conference standings.
The Golden Bears are sparked by senior guard Tasha Reeves, junior guard Christie Graff and senior center Jenny Swiski.
Four to build around.
Council Rock North, boosted by the return of four starters, should make more noise this season. Last season, the Indians were bounced in the second round of the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA tournament by Methacton.
In addition to 6-foot junior Sarah Kiely, the lineup is headed by senior guard Julie Fricke, a track and field star; 5-9 sophomore Devin Gold; and 5-11 junior forward Kelly Scull.
Coach Lou Palkovics is also counting on 5-11 senior Kate Logan and freshman point guard Lauren Gold.
New in charge.
At Norristown, which last season advanced to the district semifinals before losing to eventual champion Downingtown East, Ashlee Harrison takes over as head coach.
The Eagles' key performers are junior point guard Cashae Hinton, senior wing guard Antoinette Wise, senior forward Brittney Rose, and 5-11 junior center Natasha Matthews.
- Rick O'Brien