In girls' basketball, in which tall players are a luxury and not the norm, coaches usually plant 6-foot players in the paint on offense and leave them there to score easy layups or put-back baskets against smaller foes.
This year, at least three players in the Suburban One League have inside-outside abilities that negate that notion. Each, to varying degrees, can hit the medium- or long-range jump shot and has solid dribble-penetration abilities.
That trio consists of Abington's Emily Leer and Council Rock North's Sarah Kiely, of the National Conference, and North Penn's Shakia Robinson, of the Continental Conference.
Leer, a 6-2 junior, is arguably the Suburban One League's most versatile performer. "She can shoot the 'three' and do some of the things a player her size can't normally do," Abington coach Dan Marsh said.
Last season, Leer averaged 14.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while leading Abington to a 23-7 record, a National Conference championship, and sixth place in the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA tournament. The Ghosts bowed to William Allen, of District 11, in the opening round of the state tournament.
"She's gotten so much better since last season," Marsh said. "She's bigger, now a legitimate 6-foot-2, and strong. She's tough to stop on the block."
Leer, of Glenside, is being recruited by St. Joseph's, Villanova, La Salle and Drexel. Outside of the area, Marquette and Marist have expressed interest.
Leer's sister, Liz, starred for the Ghosts from 2003 to 2007. The 6-2 forward, now a sophomore playing for American, was a third-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania pick by The Inquirer in 2006-07.
Robinson, a transfer last year from Abington Friends, has given North Penn a big boost. The 6-foot senior recently committed to Massachusetts, picking UMass over James Madison, Cleveland State and Eastern Michigan.
"She's very athletic," North Penn second-year coach Maggie deMarteleire said. "She's fast, strong, naturally gifted. Each year she's been playing, she's added something to her game."
Last year, while earning third-team all-area honors, Robinson averaged 17.2 points and 11 rebounds a game. Never able to fully overcome a slow start to the season, the Maidens finished with a 10-14 record and were eliminated in the first round of districts by Great Valley.
Robinson, who has been working hard to improve her mid-range jumper, gets inside help from 6-1 junior Taylour Alston, one of the squad's top defenders.
Kiely, a 6-foot junior, is a third-year contributor and second-year starter for Council Rock North. Also a volleyball standout, she's gotten interest as a basketball prospect from the likes of Colgate, Bucknell, Lehigh and James Madison.
"I definitely worked hard this summer to be a better all-around player," said Kiely, a middle blocker in volleyball. "I wanted to push my jump shot back a little bit. I'm normally good from about 15 to 16 feet."
Last season, Kiely was the driving force behind a 17-9 campaign for the Indians. She averaged 13 points and nine rebounds per game.
Kiely can certainly fill up a stat sheet. Last January, in a 58-52 nonleague win over Cheltenham, she produced 12 points, 16 rebounds (eight on offense), four blocked shots, and four steals.