Fortunes have turned for the South Hagerstown girls basketball camp in recent months.
There certainly isn’t any reason to think that will change for the 2012-13 season.
For years, South was the epitome of how not to build a program. Things never worked out for the Rebels.
From 2006-08, the Rebels were winless.
From 2002-05, South won a total of nine games.
That meant plenty of losses.
The turn began when South collected seven wins in 2008-09; 12 wins in 2009-10 and — after a dropoff to four in 2010-11 — the Rebels put 17 wins in the books last year.
When the Rebels open the new campaign on Wednesday at home against Winters Mill, it will begin a season with tremendous expectations, due in part to the return of the “Terrific Trio” of juniors Katrice Dickson, Chelsey Scott and Tayana Stewart.
There is even talk of a state tournament in Class 3A, not out of the realm of possibility if everything stays status quo for the Rebels.
“I hope we can because we have the talent,” South coach Nate Naylor said.
There will be an air of optimism at Boonsboro as the Warriors look to work off their 12-12 record from a year ago.
“I am cautiously optimistic,” Boonsboro coach Sam Connelly said. “I think we’ll compete with everyone on our schedule. We have players that are excited and hard working.”
Senior forward Shannon O’Brien, a 6-foot center, is a returning starter and averaged six rebounds a game. Now, she’ll be expected to add some scoring.
Along with O’Brien, Boonsboro has some height with 6-foot senior Tiffany Bowman in the post, backed up by 5-11 junior Jordan Bingamin. Kristyn Davis, Katie Sheridan and Samantha Smith are all senior guards, along with junior guard Claudia Jenkins.
“We’ve got some depth and some basketball players that understand the game,” Connelly said.
Eric Boone takes over at Broadfording and will look straight to his daughter to lead the Lions.
Jade Boone, a 5-6 junior, will be the “do-all” player for the Lions this year as Broadfording tries to replace Katie Connolly and her 18.7 points per game.
“Before the year started I told we go only as far as she takes us,” Eric Boone said. “But we’ve got some team chemistry, they hustle and are aggressive. Our goal is to get to .500 or above.”
The last time Broadfording finished above the break-even point was with a 16-11 record in 2005-06.
Junior Ambrielle Kolb, a 5-6 guard, returns after taking last year off. Junior Kierra White will be counted on to be a defensive stopper. Aspen Floor, the only senior, hopes to pick up where she left off last year when she averaged 12 points in the last seven games.
First-year coach Bill McIntire might have the ingredients at Clear Spring to post an above-.500 record for the first time since ... well, who knows.
Since 2002-03, Clear Spring is 24-200, including a high-water mark of 5-18 last year.
Several of the junior varsity players, who helped craft a 12-7 record under McIntire last year, will be the new face of the Blazers varsity.
Senior 5-4 guard Sarah Elwood and 5-9 junior Samantha Staley — who averaged 8.6 rebounds — return.
Sophomore center Kristen Mellott (5-9) and 5-3 point guard Isabel Forsman will be early starters and 5-5 sophomore guard Jenna Lipinski is expected to see plenty of action.
“I certainly see us above .500, but we’ll see,” McIntire said. “We’ll be a team that expects to win. We’ve got quick guards and we’ll push the ball.”
The Knights were a disappointing 8-15 last season and lost senior first-team all-County Kelsey Koontz — and her 17-point average — to graduation.
Coach Larry Lorshbaugh will look for leadership from 5-8 senior guard/forward Caitlin Cox, who averaged 10.7 points last season, and 5-4 junior point guard Allie Cox.
“We’re looking for a successful season with Caitlin and Allie leading the way,” Lorshbaugh said. “Our goal is to be one of the top teams in our conference.”
Sophomore Jocelyn Quirple, at 5-5, will step in at the two-guard and 5-10 freshman Amanda Eby will be the inside presence for Grace.
The Panthers were 9-13 last season but coach Todd Ruppenthal is looking to post the first winning record since Hancock was 14-9 in 2003-04.
“We won’t be a big, physical team bit I think we’ll be OK athletically,” Ruppenthal said. “Our goal is to be .500 or above by a couple of games.”
Alisa Shives, a 5-5 senior, will handle the rock for Hancock and returns as the Panthers’ leading scorer after averaging 11.1 last season. She will be flanked by 5-3 junior Kristen Shoemaker.
“We’re looking for more scoring from Alisa,” Ruppenthal said.
Sara Wagner, a 5-6 senior, and Joan Leavy, a 5-7 senior, will bang away inside and Kara McKinley, a 5-6 junior, is epected to contribute.
“We’ll be a committee of 10 and go after the basketball,” Ruppenthal said.
The Eagles, a long-standing successful entity in the Mason Dixon Christian Conference, will not field a team this season due to a lack of varsity participation. Coach Dana Henson will help coach Heritage’s junior varsity.
Highland View Academy
First-year coach Eric Harrison has a numbers problem with only eight varsity players, but one of them is veteran Wendy Anyona, a 5-5 senior who plays everywhere on the floor.
The Tartans will be without senior Canetra Salary this season, due to injury, so Harrison is looking for 5-6 freshman Sarah Roberts to be a major contributor at guard.
“I’m please with the progress,” Harrison said. “The girls are learning. We’ll need to stay out of foul trouble and be injury free.”
The Hubs have the task of replacing all-Washington County Player of the Year Iman Scott and her 19 points, 4 blocks, 9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2 steals per game averages.
Cyndi Benjamin-Miller begins her fourth year at North without any seniors on the roster.
“Players like Iman and (Autumn Fisher) are hard to come by and when you lose both at once makes it tough,” said Benjamin-Miller. “We will have to focus on defense, have patience on offense and expect to improve by the end of the year.”
Fisher averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds last season.
Three juniors are likely candidates to carry the load — 5-10 Kayla Peterson in the post, 5-5 guard Crystal McLeod and 5-7 guard Samiyah Williams. Benjamin-Miller will also look to some freshmen to play plenty of minutes.
The Saints were 4-12 last year and have first team all-County Jordan Wills along with Margaret Bacon missing from the picture.
Jim Fahey, taking over the girls program as head coach, will face a challenge with a team that will be comprised mainly of sophomores and freshmen.
Kerri Kline, a 5-9 junior guard, and Lisle Bruns, a 5-9 post player, return for the Saints with honorable mention status from last season. Junior Madison Fahey, a 5-6 guard, will be a key component as will incoming 5-3 freshman Leanne Ludwick, a point guard.
“I’m not overloading them with things,” Jim Fahey said. “I want them to be focused, to play hard and take advantage of what opportunities are in front of them.”
The Leopards, 12-10 last season, were hit hard as seven seniors graduated. Only 5-11 forward/guard Elyse Koterwas is a bonafide returning starter.
Jimmy Powell will coach the Leopards this season as Katy Barnhart will be on the “sidelines,” at home with her newborn child.
“We have nice sophomores and juniors and we’ll see how they mix in together,” said Powell. “This will be the first time (Koterwas) will be expected to score points. You always have the unknown factor, but I think we have the makings of a good team.”
Kinsey Shifflett, a 5-7 guard who came off the bench last season, returns along with Erica Hargreaves, a 5-3 point guard who missed last season with a leg injury. Senior Sam Gladhill, at 5-9, will be in the post.
All the Washington County preseason talk revolves around South and the junior threesome of Dickson, Scott and Stewart.
First-teamers Dickson (16.7 points, 7 rebounds), Stewart (16.5 points) and Scott (12.3 and 5.9) were youngsters leading South to a 17-8 mark last year before losing to Damascus in a tough 3A West Region final.
“In losing to Damascus, I think it made these girls believe they have a shot this year after spending a summer playing basketball,” Naylor said. “Our goal is to get through the region.”
Naylor has two incoming freshmen ready to help the Rebels — 5-9 Celensia Dickson and 5-4 Lyndsay Bedregal. Add 5-10 transfer T.J. Tillman and the Rebels are going to be deep.
“The whole group played summer ball for the first time,” Naylor said. “We’re going to come out on a nightly basis like we did last year and get up and down the floor.”
St. Maria Goretti
Coach Todd Rideout had a young, promising team last season. He did not count on being even younger this year with the departure of three key players.
All-County first-teamer Severija Narkute returned home to Lithuania, Anna Mitchell returned home to Africa and T. J. Tillman transferred to South Hagerstown.
“We became a transformed team,” said Rideout. “The girls are working hard and are eager. In the process of working hard you want to develop chemistry.”
Two seniors — guard Maggie Murray and forward Lauree Lorensen — are starters that Rideout hopes leads the team through a “challenge every night.”
Goretti also has 5-10 sophomore Abbey Eich and freshmen Claire Murray, Aliayah Jackson and Tao Limlapdee who will play big minutes.
The Wildcats are in a tough 2A region, but that’s not keeping coach Chris Malott from being optimistic.
“I’m having more fun this year,” said Malott as he begins his ninth year. “I expect to be competitive in the region and be in the upper echelon of the conference.”
Williamsport, 10-13 last year, will build around senior guard Victoria Key, an all-County second-teamer who averaged 11 points last year.
Inside, the Wildcats have some timber with 6-2 senior Hannah Kastelein and 5-10 freshman Karley Robinson, expected to get a good deal of playing time.
Malott said the Wildcats will be a three-guard team. Junior Erin Palmer returns at point guard and 5-2 Kate Wade, a freshman, could be starting.