Pardon Wheaton Coach Walt Dupree if he sees double. Besides moving up a notch to the Montgomery County AA league, the Knights have almost twice as many players as in past seasons -- including two pairs of twins.

In the past, Dupree made due with barely more than a five-player starting team. Because of the closing of nearby Peary, however, he now finds himself with a full roster of 10, including 5-8 twins Barbra and Mary Kay Posniewski. The latter led Peary last season in scoring.

They will team with another pair of talented 5-8 twins, returning seniors Donna and Diane Budd.

"It definitely changes our practice strategy," Dupree said. "In the past, we ran three-on-three and five with no defense."

One problem for Dupree is that the elevation to AA means a tougher schedule.

Other keys for the Knights will be Brenda Berger, Lora Hagan and Stephanie Hawkins.

Churchill will be the toughest of Wheaton's conference foes. Coming off a 17-4 season, Coach Maria Matheos will rely on the scoring of seniors Pam Noyes, Eleanor Smith and Lauren Romeo.

Springbrook and Blair, despite heavy graduation, are still well-coached and usually find ways to win. The surprise may be Bethesda-Chevy Chase (3-17). New Coach Roxanne Corrado has high hopes pinned on starters Sara Skilling and Liz Porter.

Sherwood should benefit by Wheaton's advancement out of the A league. The Warriors are talented inside with 5-11 Donna Buckley and Marian Dove, and outside with Chris Downes.

The situation in the county is not as bright at some other schools. Paint Branch is expected to be solid, but Kennedy enters the season with a 42-game losing streak. Trying to help will be 6-0 transfer Angela Pleasants and 6-3 Kim Sweet.

Bleaker still is Northwood, which faces a closing season with only 10 players, and Walter Johnson, which has probably lost Leslie Miller (back), Sarah Healey (broken wrist) and point guard Wendy Schaefer (broken leg) for the season. Coach Mike O'Brien will start 5-7 Courtney Altemus at center.

Tracey Earley and three other returning starters make Magruder the team to beat in the Montgomery AB. Earley, a 5-10 senior center, averaged 23 points, almost 10 rebounds and five steals a game last year to lead the Colonels to a 15-8 mark. Transfer Kirsten Treado should help.

Rockville lost four starters from a year ago, but the one returnee, 5-11 forward Monica Duncan, earned all-County honors. Woodward, which upset Magruder in the Class B Region I finals a year ago, returns four starters including guards Emily Brunschwyler and Brett Gardner. Damascus has four starters back including guards Maeve McGrath and Mary Garver.

The best of Prince George's County is Crossland, which won its last 11 games and the state AA championship. Coach Charlotte Worthy will count on seniors Vernita Wallace, Natalie Whisonaut (14.6 ppg) and Charlotte Sweatt, as well as 5-11 senior Anita Wallace.

Bladensburg has balance -- and returns 10 players. Seniors Kita Chambers, Kim Wicks and Tanya Jackson will start, but Coach Pat Rhodes expects a lot from quick players Neda Jefferson and Casie Dunmore.

Friendly should fare well for Coach Bob Lane. Senior forward Carmen Roland can score points in bunches and guard Michelle Scott provides quickness.

Maxine Eggleston has produced four winning seasons in her five years at Eleanor Roosevelt, including last season's 17-4. The Raiders will be strong again with Michelle Foreman, Trisha Lester and Charise Todd.

Largo has talent in Brigid Blair and Shanita Butler, but Parkdale, a playoff team a year ago, returns only junior reserve forward Wendy Sidbury and is headed by its third coach in as many years, Bennie Shaw.

Bowie has a chance with Polly Shetton and Grace Hazell, but DuVal must rebuild under new Coach Walter Clark.

Fairmont Heights, the defending state A champion, has three starters back in Latatus Ward, Pam Jackson and Patrice Frazier, and should be challenged in AB only by Forestville and Surrattsville.

Howard County will be more balanced. Mount Hebron, last season's champion, gets high scoring from Tracey Bay, but is otherwise light on experience.

Howard High's offense revolves around Evonne Clay; Glenelg has Lisa Pope.

Hammond is revamped with guard Suzanne Turnau returning from an injury and forward Katja Riikonen tranfering from Finland. Wilde Lake should be a major factor with Laura Absalom and Rhonda Bates.

Eighth-year Coach Linda Kilpatrick has Southern gunning for another good season in Anne Arundel County with seniors Dayna Scott and Sharon McAllister. Old Mill is big on paper but South River seems the a likely contender with forward Missy Spicer. Annapolis, always talented, is still unproven.

Great Mills has won three consecutive championships in Southern Maryland and seems destined for one more. Coach Brenda Handley will rely on returning starters Jennifer Reed, Lynn Serafim, Bernadette Young and Odessa Barnes.

Lackey, McDonough Chopticon and Ryken all have new coaches.