CLASS AA NORTH

CHEVERUS

Coach: Brian Heal, first year

Last season: 12-8, lost in regional semifinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Meg Kelly, sr., G; Lauren Jordan, jr., F; Emily Huntington, jr., G; Ella Davie, so., G; Lillie Singleton, fr., PG; Julia Kratzer, fr., PG

Outlook: Heal, the former Biddeford coach, is the Stags’ third head coach in three years. He inherits a young team – only one senior on the roster – that graduated just about all its scoring. This is a team that can shoot the 3 but will need to play aggressive, consistent defense to be competitive.

DEERING

Coach: Mike Murphy, 14th year

Last season: 7-12, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 5

Impact players: Delaney Haines, sr., G; Victoria Garand, sr., C/F; Mandy Mastropasqua, sr., G; Ashleigh Mathiesen, sr., G

Outlook: The Rams are perennial contenders, and this year won’t be different. In Haines, they have one of the top players in the SMAA, a four-year starter who can take over a team. But to contend, Deering needs to develop consistent second and third scorers to take the pressure off her. As always, the Rams will play tough defense.

PORTLAND

Coach: Gerry Corcoran, third year

Last season: 13-7, lost in regional semifinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Amanda Kabantu, so., G/F; Grace Stacey, sr., G; Davina Kabantu, jr., PG; Jill Joyce, sr., C; Kiera Eubanks, jr., F

Outlook: The Bulldogs won’t have returning All-State guard Gemima Motema until late in the season as she recovers from an injury. But they still have some of the most talented and athletic players in the SMAA and will contend again. The addition of the 6-2 Joyce, a former Maine Girls’ Academy standout, gives Portland a strong inside presence, and two freshman guards, Lina Wakati and Elizabeth Yugu, will have an impact.

WINDHAM

Coach: Brody Artes, seventh year

Last season: 9-10, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Meghan Hoffses, sr., G; Hannah Talon, jr., G; Tara Flanders, sr., F; Alanna Joyce, sr., G; Kayla Gorman, sr., G; Mikayla Baiguy, sr., F; Sarah Talon, fr., G

Outlook: Hoffses and Hannah Talon lead the scoring charge of a veteran nucleus. Flanders and Joyce will also score. This isn’t a tall team, but Windham has the firepower to move up if it the Heal point standings if it plays better defense and commits to rebounding.

CLASS AA SOUTH

BONNY EAGLE

Coach: Scott Regan, fifth year

Last season: 14-6, lost in regional semifinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Mackenzie Emery, sr., G; Samantha Averill, sr., G; Taylor Johnson, sr., G; Emma Abbott, jr., G; Lexie Theberge, jr., G; Avianna Rath, jr., F; Emily Bartash, so., F

Outlook: The Scots graduated their two best inside players and will look to play an uptempo style, headed by a veteran group of guards. Emery, who has led the SMAA in assists the last two years, knows where to put the ball, and the Scots have some shooters on the wing. They’re going to run on offense and harass on defense.

GORHAM

Coach: Laughn Berthiaume, 12th year

Last season: 14-8, lost in state championship game

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Mackenzie Holmes, sr., C; Adele Nadeau, so., G; Olivia Michaud, so., G; Brittany Desjardin, sr., G; Courtney Brent, sr., F; Jacqueline Hamilton, jr., C; Sarah Walker, sr., F

Outlook: The Rams are considered the favorites in Class AA South. In Holmes, they have perhaps the state’s premier inside player. She’s surrounded by a talented group that knows how to dig in and play tenacious defense and can spread the ball offensively. They can run, and they can play the half-court game.

MASSABESIC

Coach: Chris Aube, second year

Last season: 3-15

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: McKenzy Ouellette, sr., G; Skylar Renaud, sr., G; Marissa Holt, so., G; Emily Stinson, sr., F/C; Grace Frechette, so., F/C

Outlook: The Mustangs have a couple dynamic players in Ouellette (heading to St. Anselm next year) and Renaud (who missed last year because of an injury) and should be much improved. Five freshmen will be on the roster. This is a guard-oriented team, so if Massabesic gets some strong inside play, it could be a factor in the playoffs.

NOBLE

Coach: Matthew Reid, second year

Last season: 4-15, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Amy Fleming, jr., G; Raegan Kelly, jr., G; Lexi Morrill, sr., G; Olivia Howard, fr., G; Maddie Howard, jr., G; Kelsey Lessard, jr., G

Outlook: Opposing coaches expect the Knights to be an improved team. Their guards all handle the ball well, making them a tough team to press. They’re always aggressive defensively. Reid touts his players as a tight-knit group that works hard and is very coachable, and says staying focused will be important toward building off the progress they made last season.

SANFORD

Coach: Rossie Lontine-Kearson, second year

Last season: 4-15, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Julia Allen, sr., G; Paige Cote, jr., F; Samya Santiague, jr., G; Jill Lizotte, so., F; Hope Tarbox, jr., G

Outlook: This is a team to watch in a tough SMAA. In the 6-3 Cote and 6-foot Lizotte, they have a 1-2 inside punch that is going to be tough to match. The guards are all capable shooters who play tough defense. The Spartans will use seven to eight players each night. If they can develop some consistency, they could be a difficult out in the tournament.

SCARBOROUGH

Coach: Mike Giordano, sixth year

Last season: 17-4, lost in regional final

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Josie Couture, sr., G; Madison Blanche, jr., PG; Bella Dickinson, jr., G; Julia Freeman, jr., G; Kayla Conley, so., G

Outlook: The Red Storm don’t have much height, so look for Giordano to put five guards on the court and spread teams out. This team has some good outside shooters and will look to score transition points off its defensive pressure. If Scarborough can develop a couple key players off the bench, it could have another strong season.

SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach: Lynne Hasson, sixth year

Last season: 18-2, lost in regional semifinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Maggie Whitmore, jr., G/F; Katie Whitmore, sr., F; Jena Leckie, sr., F; Bella Cloutier, sr., G; Kaleisha Towle, jr., F/C

Outlook: The Red Riots will be one of the top contenders in Class AA – a team with talent, depth and experience. Maggie Whitmore is one of the top players in the state, and her game has improved to the point where she will play the point. The Riots can go nine deep with experienced players and will look to push the tempo as much as possible to wear teams down.

THORNTON ACADEMY

Coach: Eric Marston, ninth year

Last season: 5-14, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Amanda Bogardus, jr., G; Elise Hebert, sr., F; Alexis Sanders, jr., F; Tori Labbe, sr., F; Katrin Dumont, sr., G, Penelope Giorgi, sr., G/F; Grace Mears, so., F

Outlook: The Trojans will always play great defense. They just need to develop some scorers. If they can find couple consistent threats, they should be competitive. Girogi, an international student from Italy, could help. The Trojans have some strong guards, and good height inside with Hebert and Sanders.

CLASS A NORTH

CAMDEN HILLS

Coach: Kim Kuhn, third year

Last season: 4-14

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Kassie Krul, sr., F; Audrey Bowman, jr., PG; Miranda Dunton, jr., G; Seanna Montgomery, so., C; Kaylyn Krul, jr., G; Grace O’Donnell, jr., G

Outlook: The Krul sisters return after a year off last year (to concentrate on soccer year-round) and will provide a big boost. The Windjammers have some nice returning players and a talented group of four freshman who will add some depth. Look for them to push the tempo both offensively and defensively. They should contend for a playoff berth.

MEDOMAK VALLEY

Coach: Ryan McNelly, third year

Last season: 11-8, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Maddy White, sr., G; Aubrey Schaeffer, sr., G; Lydia Simmons, sr., F; Sadie Cohen, jr., F; Kayla Donlin, jr., F; Abby Lash, so., G

Outlook: The Panthers have to replace a dynamic scorer in Gabby DePatsy, but McNelly hopes to offset her loss with strong defense and increased intensity.

CLASS A SOUTH

BIDDEFORD

Coach: Katie Herbine, third year

Last season: 5-13

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Grace Martin, sr., F; Taylor Wildes, sr., F; Megan Mourmouras, jr., G; Charli Yoho, jr., PG; Cori Cote, jr., F

Outlook: In Martin, the Tigers have one of the top players in the state. With four starters back and several reserves, they also have some experience. They can rebound with anyone and have some shooters. If they can continue to improve defensively, they’ll make a run at a playoff berth this year.

BRUNSWICK

Coach: Sam Farrell, ninth year

Last season: 20-1, lost in regional final

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Charlotte MacMillan, sr., G; Marley Groat, sr., PG; Emily Larochelle, sr., G/F; Rosalie White, sr., C; Alexis Guptil, jr., F/C

Outlook: The Dragons should once again be one of the top teams in Class A, even with the loss of senior guard Rian Sachs because of a knee injury. Led by MacMillan, an All-State selection last year, they return an experienced crew that loves to play defense. Guptil and White will form a good inside duo, and the guards can all work either on the perimeter or drive inside.

FALMOUTH

Coach: Larry Nichols, first year

Last season: 6-14, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 0

Impact players: Maddie Joyce, sr., C; Brooke Douglas, jr., F; Allie Cunningham, so., PG; Karley Piers, so., PG; Gretchen Barney, jr., F; Chelsea Gravier, fr., G

Outlook: Nichols, who led the Yachtsmen to a volleyball state title in the fall, takes over the program from Dawn Armandi. He faces low numbers but has some talent that can keep the Yachtsmen competitive. Joyce and Douglas bring experience to the forward position, and Cunningham is a tough matchup at the point. Look for steady improvement as the season progresses.

FRYEBURG ACADEMY

Coach: Coreen Eccleston, second year

Last season: 0-18

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Tina LeBlanc, sr., C; Kaylee Emery, jr., F/C; Merys Carty, jr., PG; Maddie Darling, jr., F; Kayrin Johnson, so., G; Sierra Lyman, jr., G; River Lusky, sr., F

Outlook: The Raiders will look to push the tempo and clamp down with defensive pressure, which should lead to some transition points. They have some good individual players and some depth, aided by the addition of a couple talented freshmen. Much improvement is likely for this team.

GREELY

Coach: Todd Flaherty, third year

Last season: 20-2, won state championship

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Anna DeWolfe, sr., G; Brooke Obar, jr., G; Camille Clement, so., G; Julia Martel, sr., G; Katie Fitzpatrick, jr., G/F; Maddy Scott, sr., G

Outlook: Last year’s champs are the team to beat again, with an exceptional collection of talent, led by DeWolfe, the 2018 Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year. The Rangers don’t have a lot of height, but that doesn’t matter. They disrupt teams defensively, rebound aggressively and shoot the 3 as well as anyone.

KENNEBUNK

Coach: Rob Sullivan, 23rd year

Last season: 10-9, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 5

Impact players: Emily Archibald, so., G/F; Jessica Dupler, sr., G; Isabelle Okwuosa, jr., C; Delaney Cox, sr., G/F; Alaina Schatzabel, jr., F; Ellen Neale, jr., PG; Emily Hogue, jr., PG

Outlook: The Rams have reached the quarterfinals two years in a row and could make a deeper run this year. Archibald is one of the most versatile players in southern Maine. Sullivan will use a lot of players to keep them fresh and the tempo high. If they can develop some complementary scorers, the Rams will be tough to beat.

LINCOLN ACADEMY

Coach: Kevin Feltis, seventh year

Last season: 9-10, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: Chelsea Williams, jr., PG; Joy Hedrick, sr., G; Schuyler Farrell, sr., C; Ellie Mathews, jr., G

Outlook: The Eagles have a nice mix of experience and young talent, with a good group of freshmen. They can shoot from the outside, but a lot of their success will depend on how well they defend. They’re going to look to create havoc and score transition points off their defense.

MARSHWOOD

Coach: Steve Freeman, third year

Last season: 18-2, lost in regional semifinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Courtney Thim, sr., G; Celine Lawrence, sr., G; Natalie Herbold, sr., G; Angelina Bisson, jr., G; Casey Perry, jr., F

Outlook: With 13 players returning, this is a team that should make another deep playoff run. The Hawks are going to play an uptempo style and rotate players in and out of the lineup to keep the pressure on. They’ll spread the offense out among everyone, making it tough for opponents to focus on anyone.

MORSE

Coach: Jan Veinot, second year

Last season: 3-16, lost in preliminary round

Returning starters: 0

Impact players: Sydney Hollingsworth, sr., F; Marija Medencia, sr., F; Dory Kulis, jr., G; Julia Goddard, so., G

Outlook: Veinot says the Shipbuilders have some height, and just need to figure out how best to use that to their advantage. This is a young team, with a good class of sophomores ready to step up.

MT. ARARAT

Coach: Andy Morris, fifth year

Last season: 4-14

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Ainsley Bryant, sr., G; Theresa Breed, jr., C; Grace Liedman, sr., F; Kyla Greenleaf, jr., G

Outlook: The Eagles should be a much-improved team, with strong prospects of a playoff berth. They return a nice nucleus and have some skill on the outside. Their strength could be defense, with several outstanding defensive players. If the scoring picks up, this team can contend.

WESTBROOK

Coach: Diana Manduca, second year

Last season: 2-16

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Mikayla Van Zandt, sr., F; Quincey Lyden, jr., PG; Abby Symbol, sr., G; Michaela Russell, sr., G; Avery Tucker, sr., G/F; Libby Cole, jr., F

Outlook: With nine returning players, the Blue Blazes expect much improvement. Manduca says the team will look to get the ball inside to Van Zandt, last year’s leading scorer and rebounder. Tucker returns to the team after taking a year away from basketball to focus on field hockey and should immediately help. The Blazes need to develop some consistency in their game. If they do, they’ll contend for a playoff spot.

YORK

Coach: Steve Freeman, third year

Last season: 11-9, lost in regional semifinal

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Nina Howe, jr., G; Jackie Tobora, sr., F; Kristen Leroux, so., G/F; Lauren Leroux, sr., F; Hannah Gennaro, sr. F; Emily Rainforth, fr., F/G

Outlook: This is going to be a very fast team. If the Wildcats can use their speed and quickness to create transition offense off their defense, they’re going to be tough to beat again. They have an outstanding player in Howe, and she has some very talented teammates. Defense will be the key for this team.

CLASS B NORTH

OCEANSIDE

Coach: Samantha Bragg, fifth year

Last season: 9-10, lost in preliminary round

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Hope Butler, sr., G; Grace Woodman, so., G; Sara Dorr, sr., F

Outlook: This team is guard-heavy, so look for them to push the tempo, especially on the offensive end. The Mariners also won’t afraid to shoot 3-pointers.

CLASS B SOUTH

CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach: Christine Casterella, 12th year

Last season: 6-12

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Brooke Harvey, sr., G; Allison Ingalls, sr., F; Saylor Wood, sr., G; Isabel Berman, jr., G; Karli Chapin, jr., G; Alison Gerety, so., G/F

Outlook: Cape Elizabeth returns its core from last year’s team, so look for improvement, even though the Capers face a very strong schedule.

FREEPORT

Coach: Seth Farrington, first year

Last season: 16-5, lost in regional final

Returning starters: 1

Impact players: Caroline Smith, jr., PG/F; Catriona Gould, jr., PG; Hannah Spaulding, jr., G; Abby Brier, jr., G

Outlook: The Falcons lost many of their key players to graduation, but there’s still a good amount of talent on the roster. The post players have size and athleticism, and Freeport will sometimes have three 6-footers on the court. Farrington expects the Falcons to be a really good rebounding team, and if they take care of the ball, they should be able to put some pressure on opponents on the offensive end.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER

Coach: Mike Andreasen, eighth year

Last season: 15-5, lost in regional semifinal

Returning starters: 5

Impact players: Bri Jordan, sr., G; Alexa Thayer, sr., G; Michaela Ryan, sr., G; Chelsea Davis, sr., F; Jordan Grant, jr., F; Eliza Hotham, jr., F

Outlook: The Patriots return their entire team from last year – “We didn’t even lose the manager,” said Andreasen – and are poised to make a deep postseason run. Jordan and Grant are two of the best players in the WMC and will be relied on to do the bulk of the scoring. The team looks to play an uptempo style and will always play great defense.

LAKE REGION

Coach: Paul True, 15th year

Last season: 16-6, lost in state final

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Shauna Hancock, so., G; Brooke Harriman, sr., F; Bella Russo, so., G; Nevaeh Stewart, jr., G; Emily Lake, sr., F

Outlook: The Lakers are traditionally one of the most competitive teams in the region, and even though they lack a lot of experience, that shouldn’t change this season. Hancock, a dead-eye shooter, and Harriman will provide leadership and will also have to carry a big offensive load. The Lakers first four games are against Gray-New Gloucester, North Yarmouth Academy, Wells and York, all strong teams.

POLAND

Coach: Tim Dolley, second year

Last season: 15-5, lost in regional semifinals

Returning starters: Shelby LaFrinea, sr.; Morgan Chouinard, sr.; Ally Gagne, jr.; Amanda Gagne, jr.; Sophia Vallee, jr.

Outlook: After losing seven seniors, the Knights are rebuilding. They have a good freshman class who will be asked to contribute immediately, so the future could be bright, but they may have some growing pains this season.

SACOPEE VALLEY

Coach: Laura Landry, second year

Last season: 3-16, lost in preliminary round

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Brenna Humphrey, sr., G; Savanna Marlowe, sr., G; Haley Ryan, sr., G

Outlook: The Hawks have fewer games this season against Class B opponents and more against Class C and Class D foes, so there’s a good chance their record will improve. Making it back to the Class B South tournament could be a challenge, however.

WELLS

Coach: Don Abbott, 13th year

Last season: 10-9, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Kenzie Foss, sr., G; Franny Ramsdell, jr., G; Mallory Aromando, so., G; Grace Ramsdell, fr., F; Laney O’Brien, sr., F

Outlook: The Warriors hope to use their athleticism to control tempo. Foss and Franny Ramsdell give Wells an experienced tandem in the backcourt.

YARMOUTH

Coach: David Cousins, first year

Last season: 5-13

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Margaret McNeil, so., F; Hope Olson, jr., F; Calin McGonagle, so., G; Clementine Blaschke, sr., C

Outlook: The Clippers return only two seniors, so they will rely on some young players to be competitive. There’s plenty of athleticism and talent, but the first challenge is to adapt to a new coach and style of play.

CLASS C SOUTH

BOOTHBAY

Coach: Brian Blethen, second year

Last season: 20-1, lost in regional final

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Faith Blethen, sr., G; Chloe Arsenault, jr., G/F; Glory Blethen, so., F; Ashley Abbott, sr., G; Kiley Brown, so., F

Outlook: The Seahawks should be in contention for a championship again after losing in the regional final a year ago. They have a great foundation to build around with the Blethen sisters and Arsenault. All three are gifted at both ends of the court. The addition of Abbott, who transferred from Richmond, will be huge. She is a shooter who could open things up for the inside game. Expect another deep postseason run.

NORTH YARMOUTH ACADEMY

Coach: Tom Robinson, first year

Last season: 10-9, lost in preliminary round

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Serena Mower, jr., G; Catherine Reid, sr., G; Sydney Plummer, sr., C; Helen Hamblett, sr., F; Katie Larson, jr., G; Maggie Larson, sr., G

Outlook: The Panthers will be one of the most interesting teams to watch. They had a strong nucleus returning, then inherited a group of players from the now-closed Maine Girls’ Academy, including Mower and Reid, who provide them with a stable backcourt. They need some depth and are working on developing chemistry, and they’ll play a challenging schedule, which should have them well-prepared for the postseason.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH

Coach: Dean Plante, 16th year (non-consecutive)

Last season: 16-4, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Maggie Strohm, jr., C; Shani Plante, sr., G; Zoe Young, jr., F; Julia Clark, so., F

Outlook: The Seagulls return several players with varsity and tournament experience. Their schedule looks daunting, and developing new roles will also be a challenge.

TRAIP ACADEMY

Coach: Scott Blake, sixth year

Last season: 9-11, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Mia Perez, sr., G; Marlee Sumison, jr., F; Emma Ackerman, jr., F; Kiki Huntress, so., G; Molly Sawtelle, fr., G

Outlook: Traip is replacing its top two scorers and rebounders from last year. The team has quick guards and will count on them to improve on their strong seasons a year ago. The Rangers hope to build on a promising 2017-18 season and make the playoffs for the sixth straight year.

WAYNFLETE

Coach: Jim Marshall, first year

Last season: 6-13, lost in preliminary round

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Emi Boedeker, sr., C; Sophi Aranson, jr., F; Anna Wilde, jr., G; Kilee Sherry, so., G; Margaret Ojut, fr., F

Outlook: The Flyers will be young and athletic, with a lot of raw talent. The more this group plays together, the better it will become. With hard work and team play, Waynflete could turn a rebuilding year into a playoff run.

WISCASSET

Coach: Tom Philbrick, first year

Last season: 0-18

Returning starters: 2

Impact players: Sydnie Thayer, sr., G; Alice Yokabaskas, sr., C; Jade Rego, jr., F; Kateleen Trask, jr., G; Paige Davenport, so., G; Megan Syrjala, jr., F; Kylie Peoples, so., F

Outlook: Thayer and Yokabaskas, who is 6-1, provide solid leadership for the young Wolverines, who look to improve as the season progresses.

CLASS D SOUTH

PINE TREE ACADEMY

Coach: Josh Dayen, sixth year

Last season: 5-14, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 4

Impact players: Adriana DePalma, sr., G; Emily Schlisner, sr., G; Jordan Milano, sr., G; Renee Pickard, sr., F

Outlook: The Breakers have strong senior leadership, led by DePalma, who is in her fifth year and has been a starter since joining the team as an eighth-grader. They are guard-oriented and will look to play a lot of pressure defense and score points in transition.

SEACOAST CHRISTIAN

Coach: Charlie Johnson, 16th year

Last season: 9-10, lost in regional quarterfinal

Returning starters: 3

Impact players: Ally Akerberg, sr., G; Katie Pilkington, sr., PG; Cassidy Leech, sr., F; Abby Wirling, sr., F/C

Outlook: It’s going to be a short bench for Johnson, who has only eight players. The Guardians will run occasionally but are more likely to settle into a half-court offense, keyed by the shooting of Pilkington and the all-around play of Wirling. They’re always tough to score on with their 2-3 zone.