Coach: Frank Moore, 19th season.
Last year's record: 5-18, 3-13.
Returning starters: G Michelle Buckmaster, Soph.; C Whitney Johnson, Sr.; G Lauren Robison, Jr.
Outlook: For the second straight season, the Cavaliers did not have a strong turnout. Last season, they had only a 10-player roster. This season, they have 13 but no junior varsity team. Ten of the 13 players are either freshmen or sophomores. The one senior, though, led the Washington area in scoring last season -- Johnson averaged 24 points per game. She scored more than 53 percent of Calvert's points last season, despite attracting double- and triple-teams nearly every time she touched the ball. If she can get some help from the back court of Robison and Buckmaster, Johnson's scoring might dip a bit, but Calvert certainly will be more successful. Six-foot Quadavia Chambers, Calvert's third-leading scorer as a freshman last season, moved out of the area.
Coach: Ray "Porky" Sapp, first season.
Last year's record: 11-12, 9-7.
Returning starter: F Nicole Smith, Sr.
Outlook: Smith, the Braves' top returning scorer (8.1 points per game), anchors a five-member senior class, and the team's record improved each of the previous two seasons. Chopticon had a winning conference record for the first time since 2000-01, when the Braves finished 11-3 in the SMAC. Armed with a nice touch from outside, sophomore guard Hannah Guy earned a promotion from junior varsity in early February and scored 11 points against Westlake in her first game. Sapp joined Tony Lisanti as an assistant before last season and took over when Lisanti was named the Braves' football coach last spring. Shortly after taking the job, Sapp also was named Leonardtown's baseball coach.
Coach: Brian Weisner, fifth season.
Last year's record: 19-5, 14-2, SMAC champion.
Returning starter: F Ashley Lindsey, Soph.
Outlook: A year after winning their first SMAC title in 15 years, the Hornets must deal with the fact that many of the school's students come from military families. Their top two scorers, freshman All-Extra guard Jasmine Wynne and sophomore guard Courtney Reid, moved out of the area when their families relocated. Graduation and those two departures leave Great Mills with only one of its top nine scorers from last season -- Lindsey (8.1 points per game) -- and three of its 15 players overall. Filling some of the vacancies are a couple of freshman guards -- not military transfers -- Shamara Adams and Tyneshia Baker. Both can handle the ball well, and with junior Genesha Allen, the point guard on the Hornets' junior varsity team last season, Great Mills should be able to break full-court pressure.
Coach: Larry Dunn, first season.
Last year's record: 1-20, 0-16.
Returning starters: G Casey Ademski, Sr.; C Jordon DeGennaro, Soph.; F Lauren Jeschelnik, Soph.; G Megan O'Brien, Jr.
Outlook: It took the Hurricanes one night to match last season's success, defeating Forestville in their opener. "You could see a whole change in everything just by starting out that way," said Dunn, an assistant last season to John McGuffin, who left to take an assistant's job at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Except for the graduation of forward Jen Griffin, the entire roster returns. The starting back court of Ademski and O'Brien led Huntingtown in scoring last season and did so again against Forestville. Nine freshmen and sophomores played last season.
Coach: Maurio Cole, fourth season.
Last year's record: 6-15, 4-12.
Returning starters: F Janaye Jordan, Sr.; G Ashley Queen, Soph.
Outlook: Jordan, the team's leading scorer last season (12.3 points per game), is recovering from a torn ACL, and Cole hopes she will be back next month. Regardless, the Chargers think they have a solid eight-player rotation, and for the first time in several years, they have a number of players who can run the court and handle the ball. Queen, sophomore Brittani Brown (a Westlake transfer) and junior Madison Levy (a transfer from California) are capable ballhandlers who will allow Lackey to push the tempo and play aggressively on both ends of the court.
Coach: Butch Landis, third season.
Last year's record: 7-15, 5-11.
Returning starters: G Kourtney Campbell, Jr.; F Brittany Ransome, Sr.
Outlook: Even though the Warriors lost their last seven games, they still improved from one victory to seven last season. It's no coincidence that Campbell was not with the team during that late-season slide. She's back, and with Ransome the Warriors have a pair of double-figure scorers. Campbell, though, might have to play some point guard after projected starter Jena Brinjak suffered a season-ending ACL injury. A pair of varsity newcomers, junior Ashley Lyles and sophomore Rachel Eaby, might also help bring the ball upcourt. Two freshmen, Corrine Arnold and Michelle McCormick, will see time in the low post, where the Warriors lack depth.
Coach: Ed Carney, first season.
Last year's record: 10-13, 9-7.
Returning starter: F Kelsey Stauff, Sr.
Outlook: After starting 2-9, the Raiders had a great turnaround in midseason, winning eight of their next nine, including victories over Westlake and McDonough. Stauff, a low-post forward, is the only remaining major contributor from that team. Look for Carney, an assistant the past two years and a former boys' coach at Great Mills, to use a 10-player rotation to ease in the three sophomores and six juniors who played junior varsity last season. Junior Lara Lewellyn, who missed nearly all of last season with a torn ACL, will share the point guard duties with sophomore Lindsay McClease.
Coach: Brenda Tillotson, sixth season.
Last year's record: 17-7, 10-6.
Returning starters: F Lakeisha Manley, Sr.; F-C Ashley Thompson, Sr.
Outlook: Last season, McDonough won 12 of its first 13 games before Thompson, a Delaware State signee, went down with an ankle injury. The Rams split the six games she missed, but even after she came back, they were never the same. Still, McDonough won 17 games after winning 23 in Tillotson's first four seasons combined. Thompson is healthy and will be joined by Manley, a three-year starter, and a pair of impact transfers -- junior point guard Brittney Stephenson (Lackey) and sophomore forward Taila Beauliu (La Plata). Look for junior guard Octavia Green, who was a midseason junior varsity call-up, to complete a solid starting five.
Coach: Ed Ballute, second season.
Last year's record: 7-16, 5-11.
Returning starters: F Katie Kidd, Sr.; G Brittany Percich, Jr.; G Kelly O'Steen, Jr.; G Tonya Sites, Sr.
Outlook: Ballute took over in January when Tony Reynolds stepped down, and the young team responded well. Now, with a full offseason to prepare and the return of four of their top five scorers (who accounted for 64 percent of Northern's scoring), the Patriots should feel a lot more comfortable on the court. They'll feel more relaxed once 5-11 freshman Emily Sprage begins to develop. She gives the Patriots some much-needed size. With Percich running the point, look for Sites, who Ballute said had a terrific summer on the AAU circuit, to show much improvement.
Coach: Sonja Carroll, second season.
Last year's record: 16-7, 12-4.
Returning starters: F Kelsea Bullock, Jr.; G Tasha Klares, Sr.; C Chrissy Robinson, Jr.
Outlook: Among other things, the Panthers promise to be versatile. Ten of Patuxent's 13 players play at least three sports. Klares, a three-year starter, is Patuxent's best outside shooter, and her touch is critical to relaxing defensive pressure on Robinson. Carroll said Robinson is in better shape and is catching up to her 6-2 body. She might even be stronger than her older sister, Amanda, who is starting as a sophomore for UMBC. Her offensive production will hinge on who is getting her the ball. Klares, senior Maggie Delorme and sophomore Rasheda Ford -- one of the three basketball-only players -- will be handling that chore.
Coach: Mark Gladfelter, fifth season.
Last year's record: 14-10, 10-6.
Returning starters: F Carrin Brown, Jr.; G Angela Clarke, Sr.; G Briana Glover, Jr.; F Larcretia Harvey, Sr.
Outlook: Five of the Cougars' top six scorers return, led by Glover (10.1 points per game), who will run the point. Look for Clarke on the perimeter and Harvey down low to give Thomas Stone more consistent play because both are no longer nagged by injuries. Harvey won't have the burden of defending the post on her own now that 6-foot sophomore Brittani Miles has transferred from McNamara, where she played on the junior varsity. Miles, who played volleyball in the fall, can move well. Gladfelter said his team's free throw shooting (less than 50 percent last season) must improve and points to the Cougars being 0-6 in games decided by six points or less.
Coach: Sean Anderson, fourth season.
Last year's record: 22-4, 14-2.
Returning starters: F Brittany Eley, Jr.; G Adrienne Jones, Soph.; F Aaries Reed, Sr.; G Sharmaine Robin, Sr.
Outlook: For four seasons, Westlake has been the team to beat in the SMAC, and the Wolverines have lost only five games in the conference during that time. Over that span, the Wolverines have won 87 games and three Maryland 3A South titles but haven't gotten over the hump at the state tournament, losing in the state semifinals each time by an average of 18 points. They return the same core -- Reed (who has signed with Morgan State), Eley and Robin -- that has started the past two seasons and add Jones, who was impressive as a reserve for much of last season before joining the starting lineup in the playoffs. The 5-11 Eley is the most complete player in the SMAC: She's tall and strong enough to play down low and quick enough to play facing the basket on the perimeter. The Wolverines play their roles well; Reed is a fundamentally sound defender and rebounder, and Robin adheres well to being a pass-first point guard.
Coach: Derek Sabedra, first season.
Last year's record: 11-9 overall, 8-4 MISAL.
Returning starters: G Christina Anderson, Sr.
Outlook: Sabedra, who filled in last season as the Great Mills boys coach while Frank Peck was on military duty overseas, takes over a program that has 10 underclassmen among its 13 players. One of them, sophomore forward Sonia Fisher, has looked strong early, averaging close to 15 points over the first three games. Anderson, the team's lone senior, moves from off-guard to the point, and junior Megan Langdon will join her in the back court. Junior Nikki Logan will give the Cougars some toughness underneath.
St. Mary's Ryken
Coach: Tara Pappas, first season.
Last year's record: 3-19, 1-13.
Returning starters: F Brenda McEvoy, Sr.; G Ali Gore, Jr.
Outlook: Laura Broomfield was the consensus top freshman in Georgia last season. She averaged 17 points and eight rebounds for Riverdale, which went 20-7 in the state's largest classification. With her father moving to the area because of his job, Broomfield is now at St. Mary's Ryken. She is 6-2, plays on the wing and is being recruited by some of the nation's top college programs, including Duke. She might be just the boost the Knights' program needs, especially considering Pappas was named coach just two months ago. Only five of the 21 players in the entire Ryken program are upperclassmen, so some of the younger players will shuttle between varsity and JV. Gore and McEvoy are two of the veterans expected to contribute.
-- BY ALAN GOLDENBACH