Imhotep Charter won the league's Class AA title last year and brings back its whole squad as it eyes a Public League championship.
Senior Ashley Murray, who has committed to Iona, provides scoring on the wing, while fellow senior Shalia Carr controls the middle. Junior Deja Reynolds, who has committed to Temple, contributes from both guard positions. Coach Sabrina Allen also expects junior Bionca Dunham to "shock the city" as a 6-foot-4 defensive presence who can shoot and pass.
Northeast will receive a boost from a few players who weren't on last year's team and will be among the league's AAAA contenders, such as Lincoln. Ciera Nimmons was Public League first-team all-AAA last season with Prep Charter. Briyah Hill will return after missing last season because of a torn knee ligament. Jackie Hagan was second-team all-league last season.
Prep Charter, which won Public League and District 12 titles the last two seasons, is banned from postseason play after three of its players were found to have addresses outside of the city.
Franklin Towne Charter won a playoff game for the first time in school history last season and hopes to build on its success. The team jumped from the AAA Red Division to AAAA but returns all five starters: seniors Madeline Cepparulo, Rachel and Rebecca Gilborges, and Valentina Scalici, and junior Alexis O'Neill.
Freire Charter finished second to Prep Charter in the AAA White division and brings back Chelsea Woods, a St. Joseph's recruit who was Public League first-team all-AAA last season. Freire will rely on Zahkeyah Allen and Leshay Bailey to replace Chantelle Thomas, who was a four-year starter at point guard.
Mastery Charter North finished second in AAA Red last season and thinks it has enough to win the Public League this year. Nyeelah Rouseau is a strong shooter and decision maker at point guard, Kayla Thomas uses her 6-4 frame to control the paint, and Shaquaya Matthews transferred from Imhotep to add quickness and ballhandling skills.
Engineering & Science brings back a strong nucleus from last year's third-place team in AAA Red, returning its leading scorer and rebounder. Aaliyah Worley, the team's best shooter, was first-team all-league and averaged 18.5 points last season. She will play the point this year despite her 5-10 frame. Shana Owen averaged 9 points and 10 boards last year.
David Stokes takes over a Robeson team that finished second in the A division last season. Totiana Myers is a good ball handler at point guard, and Zauria Lewis has the unusual combination of power and finesse to give Robeson an inside-outside game.
- Nick Carroll