Last season four teams battled at the top with Osbourn and Warren County coming out on top. Both teams lost several starters while many of last year's second-division teams return with experience. Loudoun Valley stands out as the favorite, but the rest of the league should be very balanced. Broad Run
The Spartans (7-13 overall last year) return three starters who averaged in double figures. All three played on the front line, meaning the backcourt will have to grow up in a hurry.
Guards James Tinsley (5-foot-10) and Kevin Weeren (5-11) will try to fill the spots of point guard Kevin Brown (who graduated) and Timmy Smith, who transferred to Oakton.
Timmy Jackson, a 6-2 forward, averaged 15 points a game. Chip Garczynski (6-4, 13 points per game) and Todd Henry (6-5, 12 points) join him to form an imposing front line. If Coach Joe Cochran can get two guards to get the ball to the front line and hit a few three-point shots, the Spartans will be a contender. Handley
The Judges (16-7) were in the middle of that fight for the top spot last year. The Judges lost their point guard and a 6-8 center to graduation, but return four players who saw substantial action.
Center Tom Wise's 14 points and 10 rebounds will be tough to replace, as will Roy Walker's experience at the point. But forwards Roger Corley (6-0, 11 points) and Joel Hardware (6-3, eight points, six rebounds per game) return along with 5-10 guards George Hamilton and Kelly Butler.
Second-year Coach Thomas Dixon's main concern is that the Judges "stay within our own limits." He thinks that replacing the two players won't be as hard as many think. How fast sophomore point guard John Doleman and 6-4 posts Jerome Hromiak (a senior) and Clarence Morgan (a junior) adjust will be the key.
The Raiders (7-13) will have size and experience. Four players at least 6-3 return, including 6-6, 220-pound center Rick Smith.
Coach Jim Parker will also have a pair of 6-3 forwards, Corey Wells and Tom Tyler (nine points). Guards Brendhan Pelot (6-3, 14 points) and 6-1 junior Brian Fixx (9 points) return. Sophomore Joey Breinig (5-11) will get a shot at running the point.
Loudoun County lost 6-3 Kevin Custer, who is not playing this season. The Raiders will use their quickness in a switching, doubleteaming defensive set and try and keep last year's offensive balance. Loudoun Valley
The Vikings (16-6) are favored to win the district because of four returning players, but the one most coaches mention is 6-4 guard Chris Leonard. The third-year starting senior is coming off an all-district season where he averaged 22 points a game.
Also returning are 6-8 center Eric Alder (seven points) and 6-4 forward Vincent Marcellus (seven points). The Vikings need to replace Avery Howard, a 5-6 point guard who had great quickness and acceleration. Guards Jason Sims (a 5-3 junior) and Steve Douglas (a 5-10 senior) and 6-2 senior forward Scott Kidwell will alternate in the other two spots, with Douglas likely taking over the point.
Injuries plagued Scott Douglas' team last year, but the Vikings stayed in the district race. Leonard is being counted on for a big year, but the big questions are can Alder and Marcellus progress in supporting roles and can Douglas take over at the point. Osbourn
The defending tournament champion Eagles (15-8) will start from scratch. The top six players graduated, and only one player that returns, 6-3 swingman Mike Benson, saw extensive action, averaging six points a game.
Coach Mike Clutter will have size to work with, but little experience. Antoine Newman and Chris Greene, both 6-4, move up from the junior varsity. Transfer Barry Hodge (6-5) comes over from Osbourn Park.
Osbourn's hopes rely on using their size advantage on defense and on the boards while young guards gain experience. Park View
The Patriots (3-17) suffered through a season of close losses last year. This year, four senior starters return, giving Park View a good shot at turning things around.
Forward David Matson (6-4, 16 points) and point guard Randall Edwards (5-10, 14 points) led the team in scoring, with Mark Tatum (6-4, nine points) and Rod Brown (6-3, five points) playing complementing roles.
Junior forward/center Tim Brooks (6-5) should help give the Patriots some depth, as will 6-0 junior guard Trent Wise. But Park View Coach Ken Edwards will have get his team to improve after being close but not quite good enough most of last year. Warren County
The Wildcats (18-6) return very little from last year's team which lost in the state quarterfinals to eventual champion Brunswick, 67-62. None of the five starters (all were 6-0 and under) return, but reserve forward Troy Frye (5-10) is back after averaging eight points a contest the second half of last season. Two other players, 6-4 David Shepherd and 5-7 point guard Morris Carter, saw an average of five minutes a game last year. Two newcomers, Dennis Bailey (5-11) and Davy Foster (5-10), fill in at the wing spots.