CLASS AA NORTH

CHEVERUS

Coach: Steve Huntington, second year

Last season: 9-10, lost in Western Class A prelim

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Emme Poulin, so., G; Brooke Dawson, jr., G; Kaylin Malmquist, jr., PG; Abby Cavallero, so., G; Deirdre Sanborn, so., G; Brooke McElman, jr., F

Outlook: The Stags have no seniors on their roster, but they’re a talented team that should challenge for one of the top playoff berths. Cheverus will be aided by the additions of Cavallero, who transferred from South Portland, and Malmquist, who spent the last two years in Indonesia. This is a guard-oriented team, although Sanborn and McElman are fine inside players. The Stags’ success will come down to defense and shooting. If they can knock down 3-pointers, they’ll be tough to beat.

DEERING

Coach: Mike Murphy, eighth year

Last season: 15-4, lost in Western Class A quarterfinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Amanda Brett, jr. F; Tasia Titherington, jr., G; Abi Ramirez, jr., G

Outlook: The Rams lost a couple players to transfers but still have enough talent to be among the top teams in the region. Titherington and Brett form a strong inside-outside scoring punch. But as usual, Deering’s success will be determined by what it does on the defensive end. The Rams won’t press much but will rely on a tough half-court defense. “I really like the make-up, the personality, of this team,” said Murphy.

PORTLAND

Coach: Jay Lowery, second year

Last season: 9-11, lost in Western Class A quarterfinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Taylor Sargent, jr., G; Kate Johnson, jr., G; Cierra Burnham, sr., G/F; Margaret Hatch, sr., G/F; Regan Brown, fr., C; Shayla Eubanks, so., G; Andrea Lynch, jr., F; Rose Griffin, jr., C/F

Outlook: The Bulldogs were going to be a pretty good team, then got better with the transfers of Burnham (from Deering) and Hatch (from McAuley). Burnham provides inside security. Lowery believes this team is ahead of where it was last year at this time. The Bulldogs should be better offensively and definitely have a deeper bench. A lot will depend on how they dig in defensively.

WINDHAM

Coach: Brody Artes, fourth year

Last season: 9-11, lost in Western Class A quarterfinal

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Sadie Nelson, sr., F; Ciera Berthiaume, sr., G/F; Mya Mannette, jr., G; Lyndsey Arsenault, jr., G/F; Taylor Files, so., C/F; Tara Flanders, fr., G; Meghan Hoffses, fr., G

Outlook: Nelson has been one of the best players in the region the last two years. A first-team all-SMAA pick last year, she averaged 17 points and 8.5 rebounds. But for the Eagles to contend – and they should be one of the better teams in the region – they’ll need others to help offensively. Windham also wants to play at a fast pace, which means the undersized Eagles will need to rebound well.

CLASS AA SOUTH

BONNY EAGLE

Coach: Scott Regan, second year

Last season: 6-12 in Western Class A

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Cassidy Emery, sr., G; Megan McIntosh, sr., F; Bethany Ashley, sr., G

Outlook: The Scots came close to making the playoffs last season, with three losses by three points or less to playoff teams. Eight players return, providing Regan with some nice experience. The Scots do have a tough opening stretch, beginning with Thornton Academy, Westbrook and McAuley. They’ll learn a lot from those games and hope to improve as the season progresses.

GORHAM

EMILY ESPOSITO

Emily Esposito

Coach: Laughn Berthiaume, ninth year

Last season: 17-3, lost in Western Class A semifinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Emily Esposito, jr., G; Kaylea Lundin, jr., PG; Kristen Curley, jr., G; Mackenzie Holmes, fr., C; Danasia Fennie, jr., F; Molly Merrifield, sr., F; Emily Bragg, sr., G; Michelle Rowe, so., F

Outlook: The Rams are considered the team to beat by many. “So we’re the target?” asked Berthiaume. “I hope they’re right.” Gorham has talent everywhere, starting with Esposito, who has been drawing Division I attention for three years. She averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.7 steals last season. Lundin is a defensive devil, harassing other point guards. Fennie transferred from Westbrook and provides immediate inside help. And then there’s Holmes, a 6-foot-2 freshman who provides an inside presence the Rams haven’t had in a long time.

MASSABESIC

Coach: Ian Ryan, first year

Last season: 1-17 in Western Class A

Returning starters: 5

Impact players: Haleigh Couture, sr., G; Emma Desrochers, jr., G; Madi Drain, so., F; Jackie Bearse, so., C; McKenzy Ouellette, fr., PG; Skylar Renaud, fr., G

Outlook: Ryan, who played at Wagner College, believes this group “has the talent and core team in place to put MHS basketball back on the map.” The Mustangs will rely on some young players, but they’re also pretty talented. Look for Massabesic to play pressure defense and push the tempo, hoping to create offense off turnovers. If needed, however, they can slip into a motion offense in a half-court game. This could be a much improved team.

McAULEY

Coach: Bill Goodman, fifth year

Last season: 19-2, lost in Western Class A final

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Sarah Clement, sr., G; Jess Willerson, sr., C; Eva Mazur, so., PG; Chelsea Rairdon, sr., G/F; Brooke Howard, sr., G/F; Emily Weisser, so., G/F

Outlook: The Lions have two of the top players in the conference in Willerson, who is heading to Cornell, and Clement, who signed with New Hampshire. Clement is coming off her second ACL surgery. They provide leadership and an inside-outside punch that can match up with anyone. Mazur is one of the rising stars in the region, a defensive ace (4.0 steals per game) who can contribute offensively as well. If some of the younger players come along as hoped, McAuley will once again contend for a title.

NOBLE

Coach: Paul Marquis, second year

Last season: 1-17 in Western Class A

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Taylor Mallett, sr., PG; Kendra Silvers, jr., F

Outlook: Marquis said the Knights are making progress in rebuilding the program. “We’re a little more confident with what we want to do,” he said. Mallett and Silvers will be among the leaders, but Marquis said some other players will need to step up offensively. The Knights played well defensively last season, and that remains the main objective.

SANFORD

Coach: Tracy Lizotte, first year

Last season: 6-13 in Western Class A

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Jeanette Jones, sr., F; Summer Camire, jr., PG; Kristen O’Connell, jr., G; Nicole LeBlanc, jr., G; Morgan Coleman, sr., C/F; Annie Ledue, jr., C/F; Julia Cyr, jr., C/F; Emma Graves, jr., C/F

Outlook: Lizotte, a former University of Southern Maine star, has a nice mix of experience and youth, with three freshmen joining 10 returning players. They’re all working hard to adjust to the new schemes and expectations of a first-year coach. But the Spartans should be a much better team by the end of the season. Jones and Camire, the co-captains, will play leadership roles.

SCARBOROUGH

Coach: Mike Giordano, third year

Last season: 10-10, lost in Western Class A quarterfinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Brooke Malone, jr., F/G; Sophie Glidden, so., F/G; Jordyn Cowan, jr., C; Josie Couture, fr., PG; Emma Hall, sr., F/C

Outlook: The Red Storm are an interesting group. If their players develop over the course of the season, they could be very dangerous in the tournament. Malone, an inside player the last two years, will move back to the perimeter, where she can set up the offense. There is a good mix of youth and experience, as well as outside and inside ability. They will likely play a more up-tempo game than the last couple of years to take advantage of their guard play.

SOUTH PORTLAND

MADDIE HASSON

Maddie Hasson

Coach: Lynne Hasson, third year

Last season: 15-6, lost in Western Class A semifinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Maddie Hasson, sr., G/F; Lydia Henderson, jr., G; Meghan Graff, so., F; Meaghan Doyle, sr., F; Erica Magnuson, jr., F/G; Paige Lemelin, jr., G

Outlook: The Red Riots should once again be among the best teams in the region. Hasson, who has committed to Bowdoin, averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a year ago and is one of the top players in the state. She has plenty of talent around her, including Henderson (3.6 assists) and Graff (2.9 assists, 2.5 steals). Doyle suffered a broken leg at the end of the soccer season, but she hopes to return late in the season. South Portland will rely on four freshmen to add depth. The Riots have a tough early schedule but should be ready to play their best in the tournament.

THORNTON ACADEMY

Coach: Eric Marston, sixth year

Last season: 19-3, lost in Class A state championship game

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Alex Hart, so., PG; Ashley Howe, sr., F; Barrett Campbell, sr., G/F;  Isabella Robinson, jr., G; Kaylee Burns, sr., G; Cassidy Cochrane, sr., C; Maizie Lee, sr., C

Outlook: The Trojans lost a lot of production from last year’s regional champs but have some nice pieces back. Hart is one of the up-and-coming point guards in the SMAA, with the ability to break down an offense. Howe is an underrated player who excels both offensively and defensively. She will attend Connecticut College. Campbell and Robinson are good shooters, but the Trojans suffered a big blow when Hayden Campbell, Barrett’s twin, suffered a knee injury. This team will stress defense heavily, as usual.

CLASS A NORTH

CAMDEN HILLS

Coach: Doreen Robbins, first year

Last season: 15-6, lost in Eastern Class B semifinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Maddie Bowman, sr., G; Charlotte Messer, jr., G; Mara Dostie, jr., G; Lauren Miller, so., F/G; Kristen Keiran, sr., C/F

Outlook: Robbins takes over a program that is traditionally one of the best in its region. The Windjammers have some nice experience returning in Bowman, Messer and Dostie but have also added some depth to the roster. Camden Hills will likely play at a faster pace. Robbins, in her first season as varsity coach, likes what she has seen in preseason.

MEDOMAK VALLEY

Coach: Randy Hooper, 11th year

Last season: 14-5, lost in Eastern Class B quarterfinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Maggie Cox, sr., G; Justice Barrows, sr., C; Sophie Cohen, sr., F; Krista Hooper, sr., F; Gabby DePatsy, so., G

Outlook: The Panthers graduated most of their scoring, so it’s imperative that they find some consistent threats. They have decent height, so look for them to try to control the boards and the tempo. They’ll need to find someone to handle the pressure when teams extend their defense. It might take a little while, but this should be worth watching when the tournament starts.

OCEANSIDE

Coach: Samantha Wiley, second year

Last season: 14-6, lost in Eastern Class B quarterfinal

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: McKenna Brooks, sr., G/F; Bri Dugan, sr., F; Jillian Brooks, jr., PG; Alexis Mazurek, jr., C/F; Haley Montgomery, jr., F/C

Outlook: Even though the Mariners graduated four starters, they still have a solid base returning. They play good defense, especially on the perimeter, where they are athletic and quick. Oceanside will look to push an up-tempo pace, creating turnovers and capitalizing on them. If they have to slow it down, they have a nice inside punch with Mazurek and Montgomery, who complement each other well. The Mariners could take another step forward this year.

CLASS A SOUTH

BIDDEFORD

Coach: Liz Bell, second year

Last season: 3-15 in Western Class A

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Brook Davis, so., G; Brittany Roy, sr., G; Charlotte White, sr., G

Outlook: The Tigers have a nice base returning and will be helped by the additions of senior Erin Martin (who missed last year because of a knee injury) and freshman Gracie Martin. They’re always competitive defensively. Biddeford needs to find some offensive threats, but should be improved over last year.

BRUNSWICK

Coach: Sam Farrell, seventh year

Last season: 12-8, lost in Eastern Class A semifinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Madeline Suhr, jr., F; Emily Black, sr., G; Adrianna White, sr., C

Outlook: It is, as Farrell said, “a whole new world for us, and it’s exciting.” The Dragons have moved to a new region and have picked up a lot of new opponents. Brunswick is a little bigger than it has been in the past, with perhaps a better balanced offense. All-state guard Julia Champagne graduated, and other players have to step in to fill that void. Farrell will use three freshmen and hopes that they develop as the season progresses.

CAPE ELIZABETH

MONTANA BRAXTON

Montana Braxton

Coach: Christine Casterella, ninth year

Last season: 12-10, lost in Western Class B final

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Montana Braxton, sr., G/F; Maddie Bowe, sr., G; Carter Harvey, sr., G/F

Outlook: The Capers shocked a lot of people with their long tournament run last season. They’re capable of doing it again. Braxton is one of the most versatile players in the Western Maine Conference. Bowe and Harvey add experience and ability. The Capers have some speed and a little height, so they are capable of playing any pace. There’s not a lot of depth, though, so they have to avoid foul trouble.

FALMOUTH

Coach: Mari Warner, sixth year

Last season: 12-7, lost in Western Class A prelim

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Adelaide Cooke, jr., F; Alaina Birkel, jr., PG; Abby Ryan, jr., F; Candice Powers, so., F; Maddie Adams, jr., G; Hadley Wiggin, jr., F/C; Natalie Birkel, fr., G; Jess Collins, sr., F

Outlook: The Yachtsmen suffered heavy graduation losses, so this will be a relatively young team that should be much better by the end of the season. Alaina Birkel is a heady point guard and knows how to pace the game. Cooke and Ryan can play multiple positions. Those three will be the leaders, but Warner will rely on some of the younger players to step up as well.

FRYEBURG ACADEMY

Coach: Sean Watson, fourth year

Last season: 9-10, lost in Western Class B prelim

Returning starters: 5

Impact players: Julia Quinn, sr., PG; Mackenzie Buzzell, jr., G/F; Alexis L’Heureux-Carland, sr., F; Sage Boivin, sr., F; McKenna Gerchman, sr., G/F

Outlook: With every player returning from last year’s playoff team, the Raiders loom as one of the top contenders in the region. Quinn was a second-team all-WMC pick, averaging 11.7 points and 3.1 steals a game. She’s a four-year starter who knows how to get this team going. There’s a nice inside-outside mix on offense, too, with L’Heureux-Carland, who averaged 7.3 points and 6.7 rebounds. The Raiders could be a tough match-up, especially when they get running.

GREELY

Coach: Joel Rogers, fourth year

Last season: 20-2, won Class B state championship

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Moira Train, jr., G/F; Sarah Felkel, sr., PG; Isabel Porter, jr., G; Maddie Cyr, sr., F; Anna DeWolfe, fr., G/F/C; Molly Chapin, jr., G

Outlook: The defending state champs loom as one of the teams to beat in this class, even with all-stater Ashley Storey now at UNH. It will be a different looking team, not relying on Storey’s inside presence, but it will be dangerous. The Rangers can shoot the 3-pointer as well as anyone. And it’s not just one person. Train is multi-talented, Felkel is a defensive stalwart, and DeWolfe is so talented that she has multiple Division I schools watching her already. This team is quick, athletic and loves to play pressure defense. It will be a tough match-up all year.

KENNEBUNK

Coach: Rob Sullivan, 20th year

Last season: 2-16 in Western Class A

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Gabby Fogg, jr., G; Sierra Tartre, jr., G; Eliza Bartlett, jr., G; Madi Lux, jr., F; Olivia Sandford, sr., F; Steph Sullivan, sr., G; Emily Moore, sr., F

Outlook: The Rams could be a much improved team this year. They should be very tough defensively. They’ll go deeper into the bench than the last couple years, which will allow them to play a much more aggressive game at both ends of the court.

MARSHWOOD

Coach: Steve Freeman, first year

Last season: 10-9, lost in Western Class A prelim

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Emily Robida, sr., F; Kat Locke, sr., F; Hailey Tarr, sr., G; Gabby Bazemore, sr., G; Jenna Kashmer, sr., G/F; Kathryn Fagan, sr., G

Outlook: Freeman looks to bring some stability to a program that has had three head coaches in three years. He likes the competitiveness of his players, but a lot will depend on how well they adjust to another new system. “They’re trying to figure me out and I’m trying to figure them out,” he said. “We’ll see how the pieces fit.” He’d like to play an up-tempo game if possible to take advantage of the team’s athleticism.

MORSE

Coach: Becky Roak, fourth year

Last season: 7-11 in Western Class B

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Signe Ostergaard, sr., PG; Emma Harrington, sr., C, 5-10; Noa Sreden, jr., G; Sierra Wallace, so., G; Marissa Parks, so., C; Isabelle Paulus, sr., G

Outlook: The Shipbuilders were close to a playoff berth last year, losing several games by six points or less. They will get a boost from the return of Paulus, who suffered a knee injury in the first game of the season. “She’s a big difference-maker,” said Roak. Ostergaard and Harrington provide a nice 1-2 punch, combining for about 25 points a game last season. Harrington is also a tenacious rebounder, as is Parks. Sreden provides versatility and athleticism. They will try to push the tempo, pressuring the ball defensively all over the court.

MT. ARARAT

Coach: Andy Morris, second year

Last season: 6-13, lost in Eastern Class A prelim

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Sara Lamb, sr., G; Nikki Bradstreet, jr., G; Kate Guerin, jr., G; Katelyn Cox, jr., G; Lauren Sturgess, so., G

Outlook: The Eagles made some nice strides last year in Morris’ first year and look to continue that progression. They don’t have much height, so this is a team that’s going to rely on guard play to stay in games. They have some nice outside shooters in Lamb, Bradstreet and Sturgess. There is some depth, with sophomore Taylor Wienckowski and junior Lauren Labbay in the rotation.

WESTBROOK

Coach: Chris Aube, fifth year

Last season: 7-12, lost in Western Class A prelim

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Alisha Aube, jr., G; Madi Mullett, sr., F; Sarah Wagner, sr., C; Nyagoa Bayak, fr., F/C; Mikayla Van Zandt, fr., F; Avery Tucker, fr., G; Julia Martel, fr., G

Outlook: The Blazes could be one of the more exciting teams in the conference. Aube is one of the most dynamic players in the state; she led the SMAA in scoring last year with 17.6 points per game and is a consistent 3-point threat. Mullett, Wagner and Bayak will provide some inside punch. Westbrook will rely heavily on four freshmen, which means that this should be a much better team come tournament time.

YORK

Coach: Rick Clark, 34th year

Last season: 15-4, lost in Western Class B quarterfinal

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Shannon Todd, sr., G/F; Chloe Smedley, sr., F; Mia Briggs, sr., F/C; Lily Posternak, jr., G; Erin McCafferty, sr., G/F; Emma Thomson, sr., G

Outlook: Eleven players return from last year’s team, which was upset in the quarterfinals, and Clark knows expectations are high: “It’s hard to escape when you have 11 girls on the team returning.” York is led by Todd, who will play at Northeastern University. She is one of the state’s most versatile players. And she’s surrounded by an experienced group, which has a little more incentive knowing this is Clark’s last year as coach. York will pressure teams relentlessly on defense, looking to get some easy baskets off turnovers.

CLASS B SOUTH

FREEPORT

Coach: Mike Hart, second year

Last season: 2-16 in Western Class B

Returning starters: N/A

Impact players: Kayla Belanger, sr., G; Taylor Rinaldi, so., G; Regan Lynch, jr., F; Jess Wall, sr., C; Megan Cormier, so., F

Outlook: The Falcons lost some tough games last season and look to be much improved. The return of Wall, who missed all of last year because of a knee injury, will boost the inside game, combining with Cormier (7.4 ppg) and Lynch (6.4 ppg) for a strong inside presence. Injuries were a factor last year, but many returning players picked up valuable experience. That will help the team’s depth and make the Falcons a contender for a playoff spot.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER

Coach: Mike Andreasen, fifth year

Last season: 18-2, lost in Western Class B semifinal

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Skye Conley, jr., F; Alanna Camerl, sr., C; Alicia Dumont, jr., PG; Grace Kariotis, jr., G; Isabelle DeTroy, jr., F; Ashley Jordan, sr., F; Brianna Jordan, fr., G

Outlook: The Patriots will have to find a way to replace the production of graduated all-state player Maria Valente. It won’t be easy, but they have some nice pieces and should be among the contenders in the region. Conley emerged as one of the top players last year, along with Kariotis. Andreasen said, “Defense will dictate everything for us.” Look for the Patriots to hound the ball and force turnovers.

LAKE REGION

Coach: Paul True, 12th year

Last season: 11-8, lost in Western Class B quarterfinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Spencer True, sr., G; Kristen Huntress, jr., G;  Melody Millett, jr., F; Lauren Jakobs, so., F; Chandler True, so., G

Outlook: This is a different type of team for Paul True, with a lot of inexperience. Spencer True and Kristen Huntress provide maturity and leadership, as well as talent. The Lakers should be better later in the season. They will try to push the ball offensively, but won’t play the full-court pressure that has been their trademark defensively. “We will have to pick and choose our spots,” said Paul True.

LINCOLN ACADEMY

Coach: Kevin Feltis, fourth year

Last season: 14-6, lost in Western Class B semifinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Brie Wajer, jr., PG; Samantha Burke, sr., C; Avae Traina, sr., F; Alyx York, sr., G/F; Olivia York, sr., G; Chloe Hallowell, sr., G; Kaitlyn Feltis, so., C

Outlook: The Eagles are a preseason favorite in this region. They have a lot of experience returning and will be boosted by transfer Cagney O’Brien, from Boothbay. The new schedule will provide an opportunity to play a more physical game, which should prepare the Eagles for the playoffs. Wajer is one of the most dynamic, fearless players in the region. Coach Feltis said the season comes down to one thing: “We need to be a better defensive team than we were last year.”

POLAND

Coach: Michael Susi, second year

Last season: 10-10, lost in Western Class B quarterfinal

Returning starters: N/A

Impact players: Nathalie Theriault, so., PG; Morgan Brousseau, so., F; Sarah Bolduc, sr., G; Lexy Grondin, so., PG

Outlook: This will be a relatively young team, with only one upperclassman with varsity experience, but the Knights will be fast and athletic. They’ll try to force turnovers and create quick baskets. This team should be much improved by the end of the season.

SACOPEE VALLEY

Coach: Chris Hughes, eighth year

Last season: 9-10, lost in Western Class C prelim

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Abby Hughes, sr., G; Helen Ruhlin, jr., G; Annette Humphrey, jr., G; Tiana Garland, jr., F; Haiden Sawyer, so., F

Outlook: The Hawks have the smallest enrollment in Class B but should still challenge for a tournament berth. Hughes and Ruhlin led the team in scoring last year, but this year’s group might be more balanced, with more players stepping into scoring roles. But the key will be on the defensive end, where Sacopee Valley will try to force mistakes that will lead to easy baskets. The team has some depth, which will allow it to play an aggressive style.

WELLS

Coach: Don Abbott, 10th year

Last season: 4-14 in Western Class B

Returning starters: 5

Impact players: Natalie Thurber, jr., G; Halee Ramsdell, jr., F; Hannah Moody, jr., G; Ally O’Brien, jr., PG; Alyssa Loukola, jr., C; Taryn Lambert, jr., F

Outlook: The Warriors gained some valuable experience last year, with all the juniors playing extensively as sophomores. They are more varsity-ready this year and look to be among the top teams in the region. Thurber averaged just over 13 points a game and combines a good offensive and defensive game. But this team has some nice balance, so teams won’t be able to concentrate solely on her. Abbott would like to get this team running to take advantage of its athleticism.

YARMOUTH

Coach: Christina Strong, third year

Last season: 7-11 in Western Class B

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Cory Langenbach, jr., PG; Sarah Kirk, sr., F; Aizhan Gwynne, sr., G; Johanna Hattan, jr., F; Alison Clark, jr., C; Jessica Kirk, so., G; Isabel Bates, jr., F

Outlook: The Clippers were close to making the playoffs last year and should take that next step. They’re a veteran group that has a good understanding of Strong’s concepts. They have some height and would like to play a half-court game. They also have some good outside shooters, and can rebound and run if needed. They’ll be aggressive defensively.

CLASS C

BOOTHBAY REGION

Coach: Tanner Grover, fourth year

Last season: 17-2, lost in Western Class C quarterfinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Page Brown, so., F; Kate Friant, jr., PG; Hanna Morley, sr., G; Faith Blethen, fr., G/F

Outlook: Boothbay will be among the taller teams in Maine, regardless of class. Blethen is 6-2 and is already turning heads with her all-around ability. The 6-0 Brown averaged about 12 points and 7 rebounds as a freshman. Third-year starter Friant and versatile Morley (the team’s only senior) are both 5-8, with fifth starter Nicole Clark at 5-11. The team improved by 10 wins last year. This time the focus is on going deeper in the postseason. “We’re capable of having a deep run, but we just want to keep getting better,” Grover said.

HYDE SCHOOL

Coach: Jennifer Lobozzo, first year

Last season: 14-5, lost in Western Class D quarterfinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Emma Levensohn, jr., F; Diamond Brown, sr., F; Lutes Bartlett, sr., F; Brooke Clement, fr., G

Outlook: The Phoenix return four-year starters in the front court in Bartlett and Brown as they make the move to Class C. Levensohn is also expected to start. Clement, from Cumberland, has impressed Lobozzo as “a guard to be reckoned with thus far.” Hyde struggled to put together solid play for four full quarters a year ago. The focus this season is on consistency and working together as a team throughout an entire game.

NORTH YARMOUTH ACADEMY

Coach: Seth Farrington, first year

Last season: 4-14 in Western Class D

Returning starters: N/A

Impact players: Julia Blackwell, sr., F; Lindsay Tufts, jr., G; Sidney Plummer, fr., C; Maggie Larson, fr., G

Outlook: The youthful Panthers will look to the heady Blackwell for some leadership. Tufts will be the primary ball handler. She has the ability to slash to the basket and will need to set up Plummer (inside scoring and rebounder) and Larson (shooter and overall scorer). Farrington says the team may be challenged offensively and will need to compensate with tough defense and fierce rebounding.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH

Coach: Dean Plante, sixth year

Last season: 15-4, lost in Western Class C quarterfinal

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: Peyton Feitz, sr., C; Brianna Plante, so., G; Vanessa Hebert, sr., G; Victoria Niedzwiecki, jr., F

Outlook: Three of the four starters who graduated were four-year varsity players and the fourth was a two-year starter. “We have some holes to fill,” Dean Plante said. Feitz returns as a starter. Brianna Plante was the team’s second-leading scorer as a 3-point shooter off the bench. Now she’ll be a focus for opposing defenses. Niedzwiecki adds rebounding and tough defense. The Seagulls will continue to look to push the pace and won’t be shy about getting off shots. Now well into his second stint as head coach, Dean Plante has put his team in the playoffs in all 12 previous seasons.

TRAIP ACADEMY

Coach: Scott Blake, third year

Last season: 8-11, lost in Western Class C prelim

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Jessica MacNeill, sr., G; Jessica Segura, sr., G; Marina Casey, jr., F; Cassidy Delano, so., F

Outlook: Due to a tough schedule that includes Class A York in a season opener, the regular-season record might be average, but Blake believes his team’s depth, experience and strong rebounding will lead to “one of our better years.” Casey and Delano were both double-figure rebounders last year, and Sierra O’Brien and Reilly Eddy are also capable inside players. “If we’re playing well, we’re going inside and kicking it out,” Blake said. The goal is to get over .500 and get to the regional quarterfinals in Augusta.

WAYNFLETE

Coach: Mike Jefferds, first year

Last season: 12-6, lost in Western Class C prelim

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Lydia Giguere, so. G; Annika Brooks, jr., C; Arianna Giguere, sr., G/F; Izzy Burdick, so., PG; Anne Veroneau, sr., G

Outlook: Waynflete will be helped by the addition of two seniors – Giguere, who was injured last season, and Veroneau, who returns to Waynflete after two seasons at Cheverus. Add in junior tri-captain Ali Pope, and the team is full of competitive athletes who should be able to score in a variety of ways. Jefferds, a former assistant at Scarborough, also believes his team will play good defense.

WISCASSET

Coach: Ben Clark, first year

Last season: 4-14 in Western Class C

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: Colleen Hendricks, sr., G/F; Gabby Chapman, jr., G; Hayhlee Craig, jr., F

Outlook: Six seniors graduated from the program and only one remains – Hendricks, the lone returning starter. She had a strong summer of and is ready to assume a leadership role, Clark said. Chapman goes from reserve to primary ball-handler, with Craig looking to assert herself in the front court. Sophomores Grace Webber and Lindsey Gordon will have increased roles.

CLASS D

GREATER PORTLAND CHRISTIAN

Coach: Keith Dawson, sixth year

Last season: 5-11 in Western Class D

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Ashlee Dawson, sr., F; Clarissa Jones, sr., F/C; Angie Jones, sr., PG; Erin Robinson, sr., F

Outlook: With four key players back, including fifth-year varsity veterans Dawson and Clarissa Jones, the Lions are looking for improvement. Dawson is 5-10 and led the team in blocks and 3-point shooting, and also can handle the ball. Clarissa Jones is a sturdy inside player who averaged close to a double-double. The team is quicker overall, and athletic enough to try to pick up the pace and use some pressure defense, an area where Robinson can excel, as a tough defender and 3-point shooter.

PINE TREE ACADEMY

Coach: Josh Dayen, third year

Last season: 17-2, lost in Western Class D quarterfinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Alex Goodman, so., G/F; Adriana DePalma, fr., G; Elizabeth Frye, jr., F; Stacy Castellon, sr., G; Stephie Kayumba, jr., F

Outlook: Goodman is one of the top players in Class D and capable of posting a quadruple-double (which she did once last season). She averaged 19 points and more than five assists and steals last season. She’s ready to take on more of a leadership role in her third year as a starter. The Breakers will be smaller this season and intend to play with more tempo at both ends. Transfers Frye and Castellon both have experience and, with returning starter DePalma, should be able to handle more of the guard responsibilities to free Goodman to work around the court.

SEACOAST CHRISTIAN

Coach: Charlie Johnson, 13th year

Last season: 8-11, lost in Western Class D prelim

Returning starters: 1

Impact player: Courtney Williams, so., C

Outlook: Seacoast Christian returns just three players – all sophomores. Williams was a valuable performer on an otherwise senior-dominated team, averaging more than six points and close to 10 rebounds. After that, it’s mostly new faces and most are freshmen for veteran coach Johnson. “They want to learn, and it’s a good group of girls and they like basketball, so that’s a big plus,” Johnson said. “They’re pretty athletic.”

– Mike Lowe and Steve Craig, Staff Writers