Bring 'em on. Holy Ghost Prep coach Tony Chapman doesn't believe in shying away from tough competition. That explains why the Class AA Firebirds are playing top teams, such as defending PIAA Class AAAA champion Penn Wood, this season.

Holy Ghost, which finished third in the District 1 Class AA playoffs last season, takes on the Patriots on Tuesday.

There's no easy start, either, with Father Judge from the Catholic League on tap tomorrow in the Council Rock South Tournament.

Archbishop Ryan, another Catholic League foe, comes on Wednesday, and Glen Mills and Pennsbury follow later in the season.

"We have some size to compete, but a lot will depend on how others step in," Chapman said of the rugged schedule.

The Firebirds' height will come from 6-foot-6 senior center Nate Lorence and seniors Owen Kirby (6-4) and Duffy Barrett (6-3),

High expectations. With her Girard College girls' team featuring 6-2 sophomore Kahleah Copper, coach Sabrina White has high expectations even though it will be playing in the BAL's Independence Division (larger schools) for the secocnd year.

The Cavaliers, usually dominant in the small-school Constitution Division, slipped to 7-9 last season in the large-school division.

Copper started as a freshman last season and averaged 14 points a game. White also wants juniors Christina Blye-Coleman and Joyce Randolph to lead the team.

Jenkintown, winner of the Constitution Division last season, is a favorite to repeat.

- Don Beideman