Big vacancy. With Dalton Pepper now playing as a true freshman on nationally ranked West Virginia, what can Pennsbury do to replace its all-time leading scorer?
"You don't," Pennsbury coach Frank Sciolla said. "You can't replace him."
Pepper finished with 2,207 points, the first Pennsbury player to ever crack the 2,000 mark. And Pennsbury finished with a 23-6 mark and an undefeated record in Suburban One League National play, 14-0.
"To replace a kid like Dalton is almost impossible," Sciolla said. "If not the scoring, he was such a good winner. He made people think we were a power. He made us believe."
This Pennsbury team was already dubbed "The Mighty Mites" during summer play, Sciolla said. No player is taller than 6-foot-1. So if he can't replace Pepper, Sciolla will put a lot of trust in senior point guard Jesse Kransa, a four-year varsity starter.
"It's an opportunity for him to step out of that shadow and show what he can do," Sciolla said.
Super sophomores. Two Suburban One National boys' teams each started two freshmen, who will have even higher expectations this season.
At Neshaminy, Ryan Arcidiacono - one of the top-rated players nationwide in the class of 2012 - and Tyler Katz will look to improve a 16-10 squad. Arcidiacono was named to the National all-league team.
For Council Rock North, Arron Goodman and Aaron Morgan also both started as freshmen. Goodman was second-team all-league.
Back and healthy. The Abington girls' basketball team fell one win short of qualifying for the Class AAAA state tournament - and it didn't help that star center Emily Leer played hurt for much of the season.
Leer, who missed four games with a knee injury and played many more hurt, averaged 13.5 points per game, good enough for sixth in the Suburban One League. The 6-foot-2 senior has signed to play for Villanova next season.
Primed for a run. With four starters returning from an undefeated league team, Council Rock North girls' coach Lou Palkovics has a decent idea of how good his squad could be.
"We always have high expectations, but they're a little higher this season," Palkovics said.
That's mostly in part to the return of Sarah Kiely for her senior season. Kiely, who has signed with American University, averaged 14.8 points per game last season.
Combine Kiely's known talent with that of the Gold sisters - Devon (a junior guard) and Lauren (a sophomore point guard) - and senior forward Kelly Scull, and the Indians have a formidable returning cast.
"You look at your team and think, 'Is this the kind of team that can make a run?' " Palkovics said. "I think this is one of those teams."
Keep it going. That's the hope for the Central Bucks South boys' team after last season's historic run. The Titans went 22-6, won the Suburban One Continental, made the playoffs for the first time, and then shocked Roman Catholic in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
But gone is Will Barrett, the 6-foot-10 center who led C.B. South in scoring. Barrett is a freshman at Princeton. Nick Joerger could replace him, giving up some serious size at 6-foot-3.
"We're small," Titans coach Jason Campbell said. "But we do have some good perimeter play. Hopefully, we'll be able to use our quickness."
One of those perimeter players is Mike Pincus, a senior point guard. Pincus averaged about nine points and four assists per game and was named first-team all-league. He scored 11 points in the upset against Roman Catholic.
"The next step for him is to take on the leadership role," Campbell said.
- Matt Gelb