Defending champ. Plymouth Whitemarsh has a bull's-eye on its back after going 30-2 and bringing home the boys' basketball program's first PIAA Class AAAA state crown since 1997.
"These guys walk with a serious confidence," Colonials coach Jim Donofrio said. "Hopefully, it's a humble and quiet confidence."
Jaylen Bond, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward, replaces C.J. Aiken, now at St. Joseph's, as the go-to scorer. He will be supported by three fellow seniors: point guard Marcus Badger, swingman Sam Pygatt, and wing guard Stephon Baker.
"They've all got something to prove," Donofrio said.
Starting over. Wissahickon, which went 18-7 last season and advanced to the second round of the District 1 Class AAAA boys' playoffs, must rebuild after losing eight players, including four starters, to graduation.
The Trojans will rely heavily on 6-4 junior swingman Jordan Reed, junior wing guard Mike Scheier, and sophomore point guard Anthony McKie. Also in the mix are two 6-3 forwards, junior Kyle Garrett and senior Jabari Kibler.
Golden duo. The Council Rock North girls, trying to defend their Suburban One League National Conference crown, are fueled by sisters Lauren and Devin Gold.
Lauren Gold, a junior point guard and first-team all-league pick, averaged 10.8 points and 3.9 assists. Devin Gold, a senior guard and second-team honoree, averaged 9.4 points and 3.1 assists.
The Indians also are counting on contributions from four juniors: guard/forward Megan Cunningham, 6-2 forward/center Emily Grundman, and 5-10 forwards Helena Gemmell and Alyssa Dumont.
Football flavor. For much of the preseason, Neshaminy was without four gridiron standouts: Dwight Williams, Charlie Marterella, Bobby Marterella, and Justin Andrews.
Williams, a 6-3 swingman, is a shutdown defender for Jerry Devine's squad; the Marterella brothers are swingmen; and Andrews is a combination guard.
Neshaminy has 6-3 point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, a Villanova recruit, as its catalyst. The other headliners are 6-6 forward Mike McGarry, wing guard Tyler Katz, and 6-5 forward/center Dave Baron.
Experienced bunch. After posting a 22-6 record and claiming top honors in the National Conference last season, the Council Rock North boys welcome back four starters: point guard Aaron Morgan, 6-4 swingman Arron Goodman, and 6-6 forwards Charlie Anastasi and John Raymon.
Morgan and Anastasi averaged about nine points apiece and were first-team all-league selections. Goodman, a second-team pick, produced an average of 12 points and seven boards, and Raymon, headed to Iowa for football, averaged nine points and six boards.
New look. In trying for another 20-win season, the Cheltenham girls must overcome the loss of Shayla Felder, an Inquirer first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection now at Dowling College, and fellow quick-footed guards Liz Taliaferro and Monet Constant.
Leading the way for coach Bob Schaefer are senior guards Tiffany Johnson and Artavia Sheffield, 5-10 junior forward Christina Coleman, junior guard Ciara Andrews, and 5-9 senior forward Austen Hamler.
Turning the corner. The Neshaminy girls are trying to build on the close of last season. The 29th-seeded Redskins barely lost to fourth-seeded Downingtown East, an eventual semifinalist, 34-31, in overtime in the first round of districts.
Coach Joanne McVey's team is paced by senior point guard and captain Jen Slivka. Scoring also will come from 6-foot senior center Shannon Barlow and freshman guard Megan Schafer.
- Rick O'Brien