BROOKE POINT

* Coach: Joe Kania (seventh year, 49-73).

* Last season: 11-11, 4-6.

* Returning starters/letter winners: 2/6.

Kania hopes that a pair of outstanding athletes will help the Black-Hawks overcome a lack of experience. Brooke Point graduated 55 percent of its scoring and lost six seniors who either started or had significant playing time.

But Brooke Point's cupboard is not bare: High-flying senior forward Vince Love and his 15 points a game scoring average return, as does 6-foot-6 center Chris Behrens. The left-handed Behrens recently signed a letter-of-intent to pitch at Indiana University.

In addition, Brooke Point returns guard Dan Tryon. Tryon, who played shooting guard and some small forward last season, is switching to point guard to offset the loss of sophomore Pierre Lacey, who transferred to Bishop O'Connell in Arlington. At 6-3, Tryon will be one of the area's tallest point guards.

NORTH STAFFORD

* Coach: Tripp Burton (first year).

* Last season: 9-13, 6-4.

* Returning starters/letter winners: 2/5.

Burton has the opposite problem of his counterpart at Colonial Forge: too many players. Burton had 24 players try out for varsity, and that doesn't include anyone from the Wolverines' playoff football team.

The first-year coach does know that 6-foot-7 junior Nathan Lanham will be the team's starting center and that 6-2 senior Matt Mallory will also start.

"Nathan has shown a lot of improvement," said Burton, who was the North Stafford junior varsity coach two seasons ago before moving to Stafford as an assistant last season. "He's stronger and he's started to grow into his body."

One of the football players, senior Russell Payton, is expected to battle with junior Arthur White to start at point guard. Burton hopes another football player, senior Jathan Ball, and senior Monte Garner round out the starting five, but he was quick to point out that nothing was set this early during his first season as a head coach.

"We just want everything associated with North Stafford basketball to be positive," Burton said.

STAFFORD

* Coach: Steve Spicer (11th year, 77-119).

* Last season: 11-10, 4-6.

* Returning starters/letter winners: 3/5.

Seniors Hugh Parker, Rudy Kelly, Rashard Johnson and Matt Matter all saw significant varsity playing time last season, with each averaging between four and six points a game.

Coach Steve Spicer expects 6-foot-5 junior center Cole Copley to make an impact this season.

"His game has improved overall," Spicer said of Copley, who dressed for the varsity team but was primarily a junior varsity player last season. "He's a big kid who has gotten confident and stronger."

Copley will help make up for the loss of Derek Smith, who moved from the area. The 6-6 Smith averaged 10 points a game last season for the Indians.

"Last season, we had the big kid [Smith], so we were basically a half-court team," Spicer said. "But this season we have more depth, so we're going to be a bit more up-tempo."

BRENTSVILLE

* Coach: Doug Poppe (first year).

* Last season: 12-12, 5-1.

* Returning starters/letter winners: 1/4.

Winner of three consecutive Bull Run District tournament titles, the Tigers find themselves not only with a new coach but in a more challenging district, as well. The Bull Run has added three teams, making it a seven-school league.

Poppe, who coached the Osbourn Park girls the past three seasons, steps in to lead a team he inherited about 10 days before the start of practice. Guard Justin Thomas is the only proven scorer back, and forwards Justin Waddle, Chris Heiser and Billy Withers are the only other Tigers with much varsity experience.

Withers has gotten off to a slow start because of a hand injury. Chris Jenkins, quarterback of the football team that reached the Region B championship, steps in at point guard.

"Our starting five should be strong, and we're good all the way up to the 12th player," Poppe said. "There's not a whole lot of dropoff, particularly defensively."

--Preston Williams

COLONIAL FORGE

* Coach: Mike Rosenbaum (first year).

* New School

Like his counterpart on the Eagles girls team, Rosenbaum has a numbers problem. Colonial Forge had only 12 players try out for the varsity.

"Some days it is difficult when you only have nine players out for practice," said Rosenbaum, who was the head men's coach at Gallaudet University in Northeast Washington for six seasons. "But I do think we're going to be quick, and we will have some players who will be able to get out and get after it."

Junior Brandon Jackson and freshman Brandon McKenney are battling for the starting point guard position. James Borella, a 6-foot-8 junior, transferred from Arizona, and junior forwards Adam Green and Adam Brownback played junior varsity last season at Stafford and North Stafford, respectively.

"We do not have a proven varsity player. If we get five to seven wins, I'd say that would be a pretty successful season," Rosenbaum said. "But we're more concerned with being competitive in every game."

--Jay Kroshus

MANASSAS PARK

* Coach: Jon Mamon (eighth year, 32-104).

* Last season: 11-9, 4-2.

* Returning starters/letter winners: 1/6.

Last season the Cougars won 11 games after going 1-38 the previous two winters and 30-125 since 1990-91. They beat Brentsville for the first time in several years, and they christened their new gymnasium in February.

Sustaining that positive momentum might prove difficult, however, with forward Walter Newman being the only returning starter and the only player taller than 6-2. To boot, the Cougars will be playing in the revamped Bull Run District, which has added three schools, one of them Strasburg, which reached the Virginia A semifinals the past two seasons.

Guards B.J. Treuting and Dustin Good are settling into the leadership positions held by the seniors last year. One of the more experienced returners, James Fitchett, has been unable to practice while he recovers from a football injury. Teammate Nick Bertrand, a 1,400-yard rusher, is out for basketball for the first time.

"These kids have been around some success in the past year, and you hope that comes out," said Mamon, referring to last basketball season, a 15-7 baseball season and a 7-3 football season.

-- Preston Williams