Liberty Division. With seven letter-winners returning, including four starters, Rancocas Valley expects more than just a share of the Burlco Liberty Division Title.
Guards Lauren Gaskill and Arianna Williams, forward Nicole Woods, and center Nia Scott are returning starters from a team that went 17-7 overall, 6-2 and split the division crown with Trenton Catholic Academy in 2008-09.
"This is by far my quickest team," Rancocas Valley coach Anthony Corrado said. "We will look to play an up-tempo and in-your-face style of basketball."
While Rancocas Valley is a consensus pick to contend for the division title, Trenton Catholic enters the season as the early favorite.
Transfers Robin Perkins from Medford Tech and Nola Raye Henry from Willingboro will beef up an already stellar Trenton Catholic lineup, headed by point guard Briyona Canty.
"They will probably cruise in the Burlco Liberty," Westampton Tech coach Ed Kenney said.
Westampton won 17 games last season, but just four in the division. This season, Westampton is replacing four seniors - all major contributors to last season's success.
"I think a lot of people may overlook us this season as some sort of one-hit wonders," Kenney said. "But we are not looking at this as a rebuilding season - more like reloading."
Freedom Division. Defending champion Florence is the favorite in the division. The Flashes finished 18-8, 11-1 on their way to a Central Jersey Group 1 championship last season, and they return six letter-winners.
The rest of the division is filled with experienced teams ready to make things tough on Florence.
Pemberton returns starters Tempestt Lewis, Bria Champion, Caitlin Bourque, and Jasmine Smith from a team that tied for third in the division last season.
"We were young last year, but the girls gained a lot of experience. Hopefully, it should show on the floor this season," Pemberton coach Cameron Williams said. "I believe the ladies will be ready to compete for a conference title; winning the title is a whole different story."
Last season's runner-up, Palmyra (19-7, 9-3), is returning three starters in Maurissa Williams, Christiana Quinton, and Alexis Powell. Burlington City (6-6, 12-15), one of three teams tied for third last season, returns four starters - Rachael Ford, Ty Myrick, Afia Agyemang, and Lisa Priest.
Patriot Division. After Willingboro (14-12, 8-2) fell a game short of the Patriot crown last season, the Chimeras found revenge when they knocked division champion Cinnaminson out of the quarterfinals of the Group 2 tournament.
Willingboro is replacing its three top starters from that team.
Stefanie Bingham and Shanavia Thomas are playing in college, and starting point guard Nola Raye Henry transferred to Trenton Catholic.
Cinnaminson also lost two of its top starters to graduation, but still is returning a veteran team.
After an ultimately disappointing 2008-09 season, Delran should contend for the division title.
The Bears (17-9, 8-3) bring back three starters in forward Jess McHugh, guard Taylor Umbrell, and guard Colleen Hughes.
"I like our chances because of our balance and bench players, who all can contribute," Delran coach Pete Miles said. "The other teams in the league should all be in the hunt. I believe there is some parity in the league this year, with no definitive front-runner."
- Chris Melchiorre