With so many of her players competing with AAU basketball teams during the summer, W.T. Woodson girls' basketball coach Renee DeVarney decided against putting together a summer league team this year.
Oakton Coach Fred Priester made the same decision for the same reason -- "All my kids are playing AAU, and I know they get to play a lot of quality basketball," he said.
But last weekend at the Virginia Tech Team Camp, DeVarney's W.T. Woodson squad fell right in step and showed why they have to be considered among the favorites in the Virginia AAA Northern Region for the 2004-05 season. W.T. Woodson went undefeated during the camp and won the team varsity championship, and its two junior varsity teams met in the junior varsity championship game. The camp included teams from West Virginia, Maryland and southern Virginia, but no others from the Northern Region.
"They looked really good and played really hard," DeVarney said of her players. "I think we're doing well."
The Cavaliers had just three seniors on last season's team, only one of whom -- 6-foot-1 forward Julia Sheffield -- was a starter. Five of their top six scorers from last year's 24-4 squad should return, including the top two.
"We've got a big senior class next year, and they know there will be a lot of competition for playing time," DeVarney said.
Among the expected returners is 5-10 rising senior guard A.J. Lemaitre, who scored a team-high 17.0 points per game last year and already has compiled more than 1,000 for his career. "She's had a lot of interest from low Division I schools," DeVarney said.
Also back is rising junior Casi Donelan, a good shooter who was second on the team in scoring last year with 9.2 points per game, and rising senior point guard Ashley McCulloch (8.14 points per game).
"Ashley, once again, she's phenomenal," DeVarney said. "This was her first spring of not playing AAU basketball because she was concentrating on field hockey and lacrosse, but she got on the court and didn't miss a beat."
The Westfield girls' basketball team, which put together the best season in the school's short history last year -- a 22-5 record and a trip to the Virginia AAA Northern Region semifinals -- had a "profitable" summer, according to Coach Pat Deegan.
The Bulldogs went 10-2 in the summer league they hosted and defeated Madison to win the tournament championship. Players also helped out at Westfield's three weeks of basketball camp and participated in high-level AAU games.
"Our kids have been up and down the East Coast all summer long playing in various AAU tournaments," Deegan said. "We've kept them busy."
The Bulldogs had several seniors on last season's team, including standout forward Tiffany Torres. But rising seniors Jessica Honesty, last year's leading scorer, and MaryLynne Schaefer, the school's all-time leading scorer, both have had standout summers, as has rising senior Kaitlyn Clarkin.
Deegan also has been impressed with a pair of rising juniors -- Alexia Griffin, who will see quality time in the backcourt, and Erin Peterson, a 6-0 post player who Deegan said, "has really committed herself to becoming a good basketball player."
Also making an impact was rising freshman Amanda O'Neil, who has been playing high-level AAU basketball.
Safo to Lynchburg
Kwame Safo, a 5-9 point guard from Marshall High, has committed to play men's basketball at Lynchburg College next year. A two-year starter for the Statesmen, Safo averaged 12.6 points and 2.0 assists per game as a senior. He also was named to the all-Liberty District second team.
Lynchburg College, a Division III school, competes in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and finished last season 9-18.
Seconds for McLean
The McLean 9-10 All-Stars softball team defended its state championship last week by breezing through the tournament. McLean won its five games by a combined 54-8.
The team, managed by Gary Falle with help from coaches Joe Giaquinto and Brian Eidt, consisted of Paige Veoni, Allison Wilhelm, Hope Albers, Maggie Jardot, Jilly Falle, Sophie Giaquinto, Kristina Anwyll, Jessica Eidt, Julia Glauber, Mary Spulak, Julie Weeks and Jenna Dunn.