Outlook: Montgomery 4A Red and Blue have combined into one league. Many teams are rebuilding after losing several starters to graduation, so the league title is up for grabs. Margruder lost all of its starters and Whitman graduated four of five. Paint Branch and Seneca Valley have moved down to 3A.
Players to watch: F Andrea Jones, Sherwood, 6-1, Jr., 4 ppg, 6 rpg; G Koula Strosnider, Springbrook, 5-11, Sr., 10 ppg, 3 apg; F Colleen Morton, Springbrook, 6-2, Sr., 9 ppg, 9 rpg; C Stacey Price, Springbrook, 6-3, Jr., 7 ppg, 5 rpg; F Joanna Comfort, Magruder, 5-11, Sr., 6 ppg, 3 bpg.
Outlook: The league will have a different look with Paint Branch and Seneca Valley coming down from 4A. Wheaton (18-5), which lost in the Maryland 3A semifinals, returns 6-foot-1 C Keka Agba, one of the top players in the area (25 ppg), who has already signed with George Mason. Walter Johnson and Damascus are the teams to watch because of strong returning lineups.
Players to watch: G Devon Wilson, Walter Johnson, 5-6, Sr., 19 ppg; G Regina Rice, Walter Johnson, 5-7, Jr., 10 ppg; G Adelina Abreu, Damascus, 5-5, Sr., 12 ppg; G Kelly Burns, Damascus, 5-9, Sr., 8 ppg; F Asia Haney, Damascus, 5-8, Jr., 10 ppg.
-- Judith Evans
PRINCE GEORGE'S 4A.
Outlook: Suitland (24-1) and Largo (18-3) shared the county championship last season and figure to battle for the title again. The Rams, the two-time defending 4A state champs, lost two post players to graduation, but return point G KiKi Wimbush and G Pria Stellmacher. Largo is led by All-Met C Candace Sutton (6-5), who has unofficially committed to North Carolina. Andrea House, a 5-10 senior, complements Sutton, and senior point G Adrienne Harris, a transfer from Richmond, will direct the team. Oxon Hill (11-9), which lost to Suitland in the regional semifinals, also will be in the mix with Georgetown-signee C Rebekkah Brunson (6-2) and senior point G Jesthela Lopez.
Players to watch: C Candace Sutton, Largo, 6-5, Sr., 17 ppg, 10 rpg, 3 bpg; G Tamara Barnes, Largo, 5-7, Sr., 14 ppg; G KiKi Wimbush, Suitland, 5-7, Sr., 18 ppg, 8 apg, 4 spg; G Pria Stellmacher, Suitland, 5-4, Sr., 8 ppg, 5 spg, 3 apg; C Rebekkah Brunson, Oxon Hill, 6-2, Sr., 18 ppg, 16 rpg; G Jesthela Lopez, Oxon Hill, 5-5, Sr., 8 ppg, 4 apg; G Deidra Moore, Laurel, 5-11, Sr., 10 ppg.
PRINCE GEORGE'S 3A.
Outlook: DuVal (24-5) is the clear favorite; the Tigers are the defending 3A state champions, and the five players who scored in DuVal's 73-38 championship game win over Milford Mill are back for their senior seasons. DuVal has three players who have unofficially committed to Division I schools: F Vernessa Neamo (George Mason), F Chinny Nwagbo (Syracuse) and F Yolanda Jefferson (UMBC). Senior G Lynette Clark is a Division I prospect. Crossland (13-9), which lost to DuVal in the region quarterfinals, didn't lose any players to graduation. The Cavaliers will be without two starters until mid-January because of grades. Bladensburg has three players returning from last season's 19-4 team and will rebuild around junior Kim Holston, a three-year starter at point guard.
Players to watch: F Vernessa Neamo, DuVal, 5-9, Sr., 21 ppg; F Chinny Nwagbo, DuVal, 6-0, Sr., 14 ppg, 11 rpg; G Kim Holston, Bladensburg, 5-4, Jr., 11 ppg; F Orlandrea Moore, Crossland, 6-4, Sr., 16 ppg, 10 rpg.
-- Camille Powell
PRINCE GEORGE'S 2A.
Outlook: With four returning starters from last year's team that finished third in the league, Fairmont Heights will contend with Gwynn Park, which dropped down from 3A after losing to eventual champion DuVal in the regional final last season.
The regular season title could come down to the play of Gwynn Park's defense -- which is the team's strength, according to Coach Marvin Vann -- against Fairmont Heights's offense, which returns four players who averaged a combined 38 points per game last season.
Players to watch: G-F Nancy Taylor, Fairmont Heights, 5-11, Sr., 20 ppg; F Jasmin Jones, Surrattsville, 5-9, Soph., 9 ppg, 11 rpg; F Donna Williams, Gwynn Park, 5-11, 11 ppg; G Shewa Debebe, Fairmont Heights, 5-4, Sr., 10 ppg; G Tiffanee Curtis, Forestville, 5-6, Sr., 8 ppg.
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY.
Outlook: Arundel, Meade and Severna Park should once again be tightly bunched atop the county's race as there will be just one division this year. Arundel won its third straight county title last year, topping Meade in the championship game, but the Mustangs returned the favor in the 4A East semifinals en route to a trip to the state final four. Arundel (19-6) returns three starters, including two of the county's top players in junior G Jill Marano (13 ppg) and junior F Najmah Fauntleroy (16 ppg). Meade (22-5) lost eight players from last season's region champion. However, Coach Phil Popielski has a strong base in senior G-F LaTanya Eldridge and junior F Nicole Dailey. Severna Park (17-7) brings back four starters, including G Natalie Hicks (16 ppg) and F Kim Lawton (11.5 ppg). St. Mary's (21-8), which lost all five starters from the team that finished eighth in the Catholic League last season, still has talent in senior G Toby McIntire (5-7) and junior G Lauren Bonanni (5-6).
Players to watch: G Jill Marano, Arundel, 5-8, Jr., 13 ppg; G-F LaTanya Eldridge, Meade, 5-11, Sr., 11 ppg, 9 rpg; F Nicole Dailey, Meade, 6-2, Jr., 15 ppg, 11 rpg; G Natalie Hicks, Severna Park, 5-10, Sr., 16 ppg; F Najmah Fauntleroy, Arundel, 6-0, Jr., 16 ppg.
-- Jeff Seidel
Outlook: After Glenelg (26-1) ran its way to a state
title last season, winning by an average of 25.5 points, it appears the rest of the county has caught up with the Gladiators. River Hill and Wilde Lake have solid nucleuses returning, and Glenelg lost its two best players, G Lauren Martin (18 ppg) and C Kris Brust (19 ppg), to graduation. River Hill, which tied for third in 1998 at 12-11, is the preseason favorite, as junior G Greba Outen (9.5 ppg) and junior F Keiko Miller (13 ppg) will lead the Hawks. The biggest surprise of the county could be Howard, which returns six players.
Players to watch: C Rayna DuBose, Oakland Mills, 6-3, Jr., 17 ppg; C Bryanna Herring, Wilde Lake, 6-3, Sr., 13 ppg; G Ashley Evans, Centennial, 5-7, Jr., 14 ppg; G Linsday Frank, Howard, 5-7, Jr., 12 ppg.
-- Jon Gallo
Outlook: H.D. Woodson (25-3), which has won 14 DCIAA titles under Coach Bob Headen, will benefit from the league rule (championed by Headen) that allowed ninth-graders to play on varsity for the first time last season. Headen has a young squad of sophomores and juniors to complement senior F-C Antoinette Reese, considered one of the best players in the district. Anacostia Coach Frank Briscoe has seven returning players, including Andrea Noble. Eastern is expected to be in the mix, too.
Players to watch: C-F Andrea Noble, Anacostia, 6-2, Sr., 20 ppg; F Yashika Sidbury, Anacostia, 5-10, Sr., 12 ppg, 10 rpg; C Chloe McInnis, Eastern, 6-3, Sr., 7 ppg, 9 rpg; G Jennifer Stith, Eastern, 5-7, Jr., 8 ppg, 5 spg; G Shanda Holmes, H.D. Woodson, 5-7, Jr., 15 ppg; Teyonka Hodge, H.D. Woodson, 5-11, Soph., 10 ppg; F-C Antoinette Reese, H.D. Woodson, 5-11, Sr., 20 ppg.
Outlook: Coolidge lost potent scorers Saundra Lemons and Shaylana Johnson to graduation, and is looking for senior Fs Rachel Pope and Yakira Donaldson to carry the load this season. Coolidge will be challenged by Wilson and Dunbar. Wilson has 6-1 junior twins, Haley and Allison Jones, who have everyone in the division taking notice, and Dunbar F Danyelle Payne was impressive in AAU action this summer.
Players to watch: F Danyelle Payne, Dunbar, 5-8, Sr., 8 ppg, 3 apg, 2 spg; G-F Joanna Barnes, Dunbar, 5-10, Jr., 10 ppg, 12 rpg; F Rachel Pope, Coolidge, 5-8, Sr., 6 ppg; G Morgan Allen, Wilson, 5-7, Sr., 10 ppg.
Outlook: Elizabeth Seton and St. John's lost eight players each to graduation, but they're still considered strong favorites in the WCAC. St. John's (26-5), which won the City Title, will continue its up-tempo play with scoring threats F Jocelyn Logan-Friend and G Dawn Chriss. Even with the loss of leading scorer Mia Champan, Elizabeth Seton still has Katrina Martin, who has scored more than 1,500 points in her three-year career. Good Counsel has a balanced squad and should be competitive.
Players to watch: G Cotelia Bond-Young, Elizabeth Seton, 5-7, Soph., 18 ppg; G Erin Winston, Elizabeth Seton, 5-8, Jr., 7 ppg; C Lynette O'Reggio, Elizabeth Seton, 6-4, Jr., 8 ppg, 7 rpg, 4 bpg; F Katrina Martin, Elizabeth Seton, Sr., 18 ppg, 10 rpg; F Jocelyn Logan-Friend, St. John's, 6-2, Jr., 12.4 pgg, 11 rpg; G Dawn Chriss, St. John's, 6-1, Soph., 11 ppg, 6 rpg, 4 apg.
Outlook: Carroll, which has dominated the WCAC South the past two seasons, lost its top scorer, Schuye LaRue (22.3 ppg), to graduation. But Carroll won't be the only team working to reestablish itself. Paul IV, its main challenger, has lost C Jackie Hardenbergh (torn ACL) and G Terri Zacharias (broken foot) to injuries. Look for Holy Cross, which has struggled for several seasons, to be a factor with a maturing squad of sophomores and juniors.
Players to watch: G Shawn Godsey, Carroll, 5-6, Sr., 3 ppg; F Tina Porter, Carroll, 5-7, Sr., 2 ppg, 2 rpg; F Karen Matelise, Holy Cross, 5-10, Sr., 7 ppg, 8 rpg, 2 spg.
Outlook: Defending champion Sidwell Friends will be strong despite the loss of All-Met G Ivy Gardner to graduation. First-team ISL G Jessica Holsey is expected to pick up some of the scoring, as will C Robyn Scott-Clayton. Bullis is considered a strong challenger since most of its regular rotation has returned. Stone Ridge, which took Bullis to double overtime last season and lost by four to Sidwell, could pose a strong threat.
Players to watch: C Robyn Scott-Clayton, Sidwell Friends, 6-0, Sr., 14 ppg, 11 rpg; G Jessica Holsey, Sidwell Friends, 5-7, Soph., 17 ppg; G Krystal Lyn Ellerbee, Bullis, 5-5, Jr., 12 ppg, 5 apg; F Monique Currie, Bullis, 6-0, Jr., 16.8 ppg; F Erin Farrell, Bullis, 6-0, Jr., 8 ppg, 12 rpg, 4 bpg; G Katie Piringer, Stone Ridge, 5-7, Sr., 13 ppg; F Christina Besozzi, Stone Ridge, 5-10, Jr., 13 ppg, 11 rpg.
Outlook: Madeira is the defending ISL champion, but failed to win its division so it remains in the league. Potomac School, the division champion, moves up into the ISL AA, while Holton-Arms will come down. Maret is considered the most serious challenger with its balanced squad of scorers. Georgetown Day is expected to play more of an up-tempo style after losing most of its bigger players.
Players to watch: F Kate Mannering, Madeira, 6-1, Soph., 18 ppg; G Sarah Oxford, Madeira, 5-7, Jr., 10 ppg, 8 apg; G Kate Epstein, Maret, 5-5, Sr., 12 ppg; G Sarah Riddleberger, Georgetown Day, 5-7, Jr., 8 ppg; F Carrie Smith, Georgetown Day, 5-10, Sr., 6 ppg, 6 rpg.
Outlook: Grace Brethren has moved to the PVAC East. Riverdale Baptist, which repeated as champion of the National Christian Schools, has nearly all of its players returning in addition to 6-3 transfer Tiffany Stansbury from Philadelphia. Chelsea expects to be stronger in the Maryland Independent School league, where it lost last season to eventual champion Takoma Academy in the semifinals.
Players to watch: G Joi Jefferson, Riverdale Baptist, 5-9, Sr., 16.9 ppg, 9 rpg; G Sarah Jenkins, Riverdale Baptist, 5-7, Sr., 13.8 ppg, 7 rpg; F Jennifer Baker, Riverdale Baptist, 5-9, Sr., 14.2 ppg, 11 rpg; G Aisha Williams, Newport School, 5-4, Sr., 12 ppg, 6 apg; C Sirlena Moore, Newport School, 5-11, Sr., 14 ppg, 10 rpg; F Roslyn Vernoy, Newport School, 6-1, Sr., 16 ppg; G Tiffany Henry, Chelsea, 5-8, Sr., 24 ppg.
-- Judith Evans
SOUTHERN MD. ATHLETIC CONFERENCE.
Outlook: Northern (24-3) has dominated the SMAC, going undefeated -- and largely unchallenged -- the last two seasons. That should change. The Patriots, who lost All-Met F Jen Mitchell and standout Gs Katie Andes and Chanel Spriggs, will be challenged by Chopticon and Thomas Stone. But don't count the Patriots out: Junior F Brianne Gray (6-0) and senior F Donna Lyles (5-9) return, as does speedy G Larissa Johnson. Still, Chopticon (13-10) looks to be the team to beat. The Braves return four starters, including a trio of talented guards in Tia Briscoe, Shonta Countiss and sharp-shooting Jessica Ritchey. C Crystal Herbert also returns. Thomas Stone (15-8) will be led by F Jewel Clark, the league's most versatile and exciting player.
Players to watch: C Lori Ashton, McDonough, 6-2, Jr., 11.4 rpg; G Tia Briscoe, Chopticon, 5-4, Jr., 4.9 apg; F Jewel Clark, Thomas Stone, 5-9, Sr., 18 ppg, 12 rpg; G Necka Lancaster, La Plata, 5-3, Sr., 14.1 ppg, 6.4 apg.
-- Angie Watts
VIRGINIA AAA CARDINAL.
Outlook: Gar-Field (20-5) and Woodbridge (25-4), as always, should vie for the title, but Potomac (13-9) could be a contender. The Panthers, whose win total has increased each of the past five seasons, from zero to a decade-high 13, are formidable in the post and could cause problems if their thin back court holds up. But any talk of Prince William County girls basketball begins with Gar-Field, winner of 11 consecutive district titles. Woodbridge beat Gar-Field in three out of four games last season, but the Vikings must replace three starters from that team, which lost to Robinson in the Virginia AAA semifinals. Osbourn (7-12), Hylton (3-19), Osbourn Park (6-16) and Stonewall Jackson (2-19) are unlikely to crack the top three in the district.
Players to watch: F Kimisha Dabney, Potomac, 5-9, Sr., 15.7 ppg; C Kia Manuel, Gar-Field, 6-0, Sr., 13.6 ppg; F Nikki Wells, Gar-Field, 5-11, Jr., 9.3 ppg; G Nikki Bowman, Stonewall Jackson, 5-8, Sr., 10.4 ppg; G Tish Hogan, Stonewall Jackson, 5-5, Soph., 12.4 ppg.
-- Preston Williams
VIRGINIA AAA COMMONWEALTH.
Outlook: With last year's district champion Courtland leaving because of realignment, North Stafford and Brooke Point are the teams to beat. However, several Commonwealth coaches feel that Brooke Point, which will be led by juniors Abbey Cunningham and Melissa Barnes, may hold an advantage because North Stafford will be relatively young, having graduated its two best players. But don't count out Culpeper. The Blue Devils have two seniors -- 6-3 C Julie Wood and 5-9 F-G Candice Clingenpeel -- who could catch teams by surprise. James Wood, Fauquier, Sherando and Colonial Forge are all new to the district. Colonial Forge, in its first year of exisistence, likely will struggle.
Players to watch: G Christina Carmon, North Stafford, 5-8, Jr., 12 ppg; G Abbey Cunningham, Brooke Point, 6-4, Jr., 10 ppg; G Melissa Barnes, Brooke Point, 5-4, Jr., 8 ppg; C Julie Wood, Culpeper, 6-3, Sr., 17 ppg; F Candice Clingenpeel, Culpeper, 5-9, Sr., 12 ppg.
VIRGINIA AAA CONCORDE.
Outlook: Oakton, which won the Concorde last season, is big and strong and should muscle its way back to the top. The Cougars, led by seniors Sarah Rappoport and Megan Scott, may even improve upon last season's 21-5 record. Coach Fred Priester is excited about junior F Amaka Agugua (5-11), who came off the bench last year and was second-team All-Met. Oakton has a new three-point threat in senior transfer Katherine Fill, who played for state champion West Springfield last season. Chantilly has an outstading player in 6-3 senior F Katherine Kreager.
Players to watch: F Katherine Kreager, Chantilly, 6-3, Sr., 22 ppg; G Megan Scott, Oakton, 6-1, Sr., 14 ppg; G Katherine Fill, Oakton, 5-8, Sr., 10 ppg; F Amaka Agugua, Oakton, 5-11, Jr., 4 ppg.
VIRGINIA AAA NATIONAL.
Outlook: Mount Vernon has dominated the district for years and should again this season. It has won 42 straight district games and is 69-2 its last 71 district games. Despite losing four seniors, the Majors, led by juniors Anesia Smith and Shannon Kelleher, are returning all five starters from last season's team. In addition, they have a new inside threat in 6-0 sophomore C Lauren Troupe, who transfered from Edison.
Players to watch: G Anesia Smith, Mount Vernon, 5-10, Jr., 16.5 ppg, 5.5 spg; C Lauren Troupe, Mount Vernon, 6-0, Soph., 17 ppg, 10 rpg; F Allyson Reed, Yorktown, 5-10, Sr., 10 ppg; F Jessica Packer, Washington-Lee, 6-0, Sr., 10 ppg; F Sarah Power, Falls Church, 5-8, Jr., 10 ppg.
VIRGINIA AAA PATRIOT.
Outlook: This is easily the most competitive district. West Springfield went 30-0 and won the state title last year. But it will be interesting to see how it adjusts to the loss of Kara Lawson, last year's national player of the year, who is averaging 17 points per game for Tennessee. West Springfield, however, still features one of the best back courts in the state in senior Kathy Wainwright and sophomore Selia Monroe. Lawson's graduation may bode well for Robinson. This immensly talented team is led by seniors Myriam Baccouche and Lesley Harvey. T.C. Williams, led by junior point guard Cavanaugh Hagen and junior F Rita Williams, also has enough talent to make things interesting.
Players to watch: Myriam Baccouche, Robinson, 5-9, Sr., 14 ppg; G Kathy Wainwright, West Springfield, 5-7, Sr., 8 ppg; G Cavanaugh Hagen, T.C. Williams, 5-8, Jr., 15 ppg; G Natasha Denny, Annandale, 5-6, Sr., 15 ppg.
VIRGINIA AAA LIBERTY.
Outlook: Lee dominated the district last season and this year should be no different. First-year coach Bill Drake inherits a team that went 17-8 and returns eight players. Lee is led by sophomore G Kristy Zimmerman, junior F Jenny Brown and senior F Carolyn Weiss. Langley has one of the best guards in the area in Kate Hemlock, but the Saxons lack depth.
Players to watch: G Kristy Zimmerman, Lee, 5-7, Soph., 10 ppg; G Kate Hemlock, Langley, 5-6, Sr., 14 ppg; F Jenny Brown, Lee, 5-9, Jr., 10 ppg; F Carolyn Weiss, Lee, 5-8, Sr., 9 ppg.
-- Tarik El-Bashir