When Garnet Valley coach Joe Woods looks down his bench this year, there will be a lot of question marks.
Six players from last season's squad graduated, including four-year starter and 1,000-point scorer Coley Ricci.
The Jaguars (20-9 overall, 13-3 league) will bring back senior forward Haley Warden, junior guard Jordan Ireland, and her younger sister and sophomore guard, Maddie Ireland. Woods believes that returning trio should give his squad balanced scoring.
When Woods scans the Central League rosters, he sees opportunities for several teams to make noise this year.
"Everybody's pretty good," Woods said. "It's a pretty strong league. We have a lot of teams that are pretty even in skill level. It may be up for grabs this year."
Radnor, the defending league champion, will have a big say in the league's outcome. The Red Raiders (18-7, 13-3) defeated Conestoga (16-9, 12-4) for their first league title last season.
However, Radnor lost four of last year's starters.
"The leadership void is as big as the Grand Canyon," coach Mark Jordan said. He will rely on Myonie Williamson, Katie Jordan, and Marya Ghazzi, among others who will be rotated in and out of the starting lineup, to help make up for the team's departures.
Conestoga will be returning four of its starters, including senior Maddy Tessier-Kay, who has committed to Harvard. However, the Pioneers will miss the poise and leadership of point guard Ali Grundy.
Also returning four starters is Ridley (12-11, 9-7). The Green Raiders also will be welcoming freshman forward Isabella Hamlin to the team. Coach Jamie Haigh hopes to have her girls take advantage of their quickness to lead to lots of fastbreak opportunities.
Springfield (14-11, 9-7) will be riding senior forwards Alyssa Abbonizio and Rebecca Bennett. Both are expected to provide the Cougars with a rebounding advantage and help make up for the loss of three of last year's starters.
Harriton (10-11, 8-7) could be a dark-horse candidate this year. The Rams' three leading scorers from last year - Sabrina Tabasso, Meredith Maguire, and Katie Melvin - return. Melvin was also consistent on the boards last year. The senior contributed 12.8 points and 8.5 rebounds in 2012-13.
Upper Darby (17-7, 14-2) will be under the tutelage of Diamon Beckford, a 2009 graduate who reached the 1,000-point mark. She will look to help the Royals overcome the loss of a fellow 1,000-point scorer in Tyra Polite.
- Doug Gausepohl