Previewing L-L League Section 3 girls basketball for 2017-18 season>

Previewing L-L League Section 3 girls basketball for 2017-18 season


PIAA Classification: 6A.

Coach: Jim Donmoyer (7th season; 106-53 overall).

Last season: 14-0 L-L Section 1 (champs); 27-2 overall (beat McCaskey in L-L League championship; lost to Central Dauphin in District 3 Class 6A semifinals; beat Central York in District 3 Class 6A third-place game; lost to North Penn in first round of PIAA Class 6A state playoffs).

Key players lost: Ariel Jones (18.6 points per game, 47 3-pointers, 1,265 career points), Alyssa Austin (12.0, 40 3-pointers, 1,421 career points).

Key players returning: G Rachel Witherite (7.7, 53 3-pointers), G Gracen Donmoyer (4.2, 22 3-pointers), F Raven Morgan (7.2), G Jade Rolon (2.6, 3 3-pointers).

Outlook: First and foremost, we salute Jones and Austin, who had dynamic careers for the Falcons before graduating last spring. Jones was our Section 1 MVP last season, and that duo combined for 2,686 points in a Cedar Crest uniform. They were superb and will be missed. That said, the Falcons have to replace them; Jones’ leadership, tenacity and court awareness at the point, and Austin’s wing and post play. It won’t be easy, but there are some key pieces back in the mix from last season’s L-L title team. Like Witherite, a deadly shooter from the arc. And Morgan, a shot-blocker and rebound specialist who thrives in the post. And Donmoyer and Rolon have logged a lot of backcourt minutes along the way, for teams that have played into March. We’ll also have our eyes on Hannah Woelfling, a post player who is due back from a knee injury last season, and Molly Bucher, who can shoot the J. Can the Falcons repeat last season’s L-L success and rip-roaring 26-0 start? The short answer is probably not. But we can’t wait to see how they go about their business this time around without Jones and Austin along for the ride.

Gut hunch: We’ll probably still put the favorite tag on the Falcons to get things started. The Witherite-Donmoyer-Morgan-Rolon fearsome foursome knows their way around all the Section 1 gyms. And there are kids from the pipeline ready to step in and play. It’ll probably look a smidge different, but we expect the Falcons to still be flying high come February. It’s what they do.


PIAA Classification: 6A.

Coach: Doug Helsel (2nd season; 8-13 overall).

Last season: 5-9 L-L Section 1, 8-13 overall.

Key players lost: Rachel Robinson (11.0, 20 3-pointers), Makayla Horning (4.8), Jess Hoffman (4.5), Tricia Erb (3.0, 6 3-pointers).

Key players returning: G Sydney Bouder (2.4), G-F Savannah Generella (2.3, 4 3-pointers), G Amber High (7.2, 15 3-pointers), F Kenzie Reed (7.2).

Outlook: Some losses for the Bucks, yes — including Robinson, the club’s go-to scorer and wing standout the last couple of seasons — but Helsel really likes his returning talent, featuring a good mix of guard and post players with experience. Like High, who can burn you from the arc. And Reed, a wiry wing player with post moves. Plus Generella and Bouder in the backcourt. You get the feeling that CV is antsy to make some noise; it’s been a little while since the Bucks have been in a race — in Section 2 or now up in Section 1 — and some early wins could jump-start this group.

Gut hunch: We think the usual suspects — Cedar Crest, Manheim Township, Hempfield, McCaskey — will somehow end up ruling the roost in Section 1 yet again. Hey, it happens. But there’s no reason to believe the Bucks can’t push and keep everyone honest. Keep an eye on Reed. CV will need her to play big in the post and along the baseline.


PIAA classification: 6A.

Coach: John Myers (5th season; 32-57 overall).

Last season: 3-11 L-L Section 1; 8-14 overall).

Key players lost: Bri Polites (10.2), Kirsten Mumma (1.9).

Key players returning: G Amber Orban (11.0, 19 3-pointers), F Sydney Pierson (9.6), G Marena Lonardi (14.1, 5 3-pointers).

Outlook: Looking for your Section 1 sleeper? Hello, E-town. There’s not a ton of depth here — Myers will carry nine players on his varsity roster — but there is quality. Like Orban, the Bears’ jitterbug point guard and arc threat. And Pierson, who is dangerous on the blocks. Oh yeah, and Lonardi, who was off to a sizzling start in her sophomore season last winter before she went on the shelf with a knee injury. If she’s back and is 100 percent healthy, look out. E-town also picked up Autumn Royer, a transfer from CD East in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth, and she’s a player. Sam Stackhouse, a low-post threat, and Alicia Underkoffler, a perimeter shooter, also have varsity experience.

Gut hunch: Can the Bears break through and run with the Section 1 big dogs? We think yes, especially if Lonardi is back to 100 percent. Depth is a concern — three of the players on the varsity roster are freshmen — but we really like what E-town is starting with. Time will tell. But we think the Bears will definitely improve on last year’s 8-14 mark — and be a royal pain to deal with in league play.


PIAA classification: 6A.

Coach: Kendra Beittel (1st season).

Last season: 10-4 L-L Section 1; 14-10 overall (lost to Northern Lebanon in L-L League quarterfinals; lost to McCaskey in first round of District 3 Class 6A playoffs).

Key players lost: Julianna Clark (16.0, 34 3-pointers, 1,058 career points), Paige Diminick (8.9, 46 3-pointers), Maggie Pohl (2.8).

Key players returning: G Trinity Sumrall (10.4, 34 3-pointers), G Kareina Martinez (1.3, 3 3-pointers), G-F Lindsey Durkota (6.0), F Christine Graves (1.4).

Outlook: Welcome home, Kendra Beittel. The former Black Knights’ standout — who went on to play for Elizabethtown College — has returned to coach Hempfield, succeeding longtime head coach/assistant coach Brian Rife. The Knights also lost a pair of major snipers to graduation; Clark was just the second player in program history to crack 1,000 career points, and Diminick drew all kinds of attention at the arc last winter, dropping 46 treys. Those two will be missed. The good news is that Sumrall, a Messiah College recruit, returns to steer the offense. She can dribble-drive and score the rock, and Beittel will lean on Sumrall to be the catalyst on both ends of the court. There’s not a lot of size here; that’s an area of concern. But Durkota, a wing specialist, should help out on the baseline and around the glass.

Gut hunch: At the outset, this doesn’t feel like a powerhouse Hempfield team. And that’s OK. Losing Clark and Diminick will sting, especially in the scoring department. Beittel has 22 kids to work with, and once everyone jives and learns her ways, we think the Knights will be fine and dandy. If Cedar Crest and Manheim Township are the favorites, we believe Hempfield is going to slot in there somewhere after that. And don’t forget: We’re expecting bigger things from E-town. Section 1 just feels kinda different heading into this season. But the cream always rises, and that usually includes the Knights.


PIAA classification: 6A.

Coach: Sean Burkhart (7th season; 111-45 overall).

Last season: 9-5 L-L Section 1; 14-9 overall (lost to CD East in first round of District 3 Class 6A playoffs).

Key players lost: Taylor Evans (5.2), Delaney McKnight (3.9).

Key players returning: F Megan Baldassarre (18.3, 12 3-pointers), G-F Olivia Matto (13.0, 31 3-pointers), G Eden Miller (1.7), G-F Katie Bushong (6.3, 3 3-pointers).

Outlook: There is certainly a great start in Blue Streaks’ camp with Baldassarre and Matto back in the fold. Baldassarre opens her senior season with 851 career points, and she should be one of the first L-L players to hit the 1,000-point plateau this season. Meanwhile, Matto is approaching 650 career points, and she can beat you any number of ways. She also has several Division I scholarship offers in her back pocket. More good news: Bushong is back to help direct traffic, and Miller is a scrapper, especially on the defensive end. There’s not a lot of height here. But if Baldassarre and Matto are doing their thing, Township will be a tough out.

Gut hunch: We already put the preseason bull’s-eye on Cedar Crest. And thanks to that familiarity with Baldassarre and Matto, we’ll likely slot the Streaks into the No. 2 spot. Honestly, with Jones and Austin gone at Cedar Crest, this might be as wide-open as the Section 1 race has been in a couple of years. We wholeheartedly expect Township to be in the hunt for sure.


PIAA classification: 6A.

Coach: Brian McCloud (11th season).

Last season: 10-4 L-L Section 1; 20-10 overall (lost to Cedar Crest in L-L League championship; lost to Cedar Crest in District 3 Class 6A quarterfinals; beat Cedar Cliff in District 3 Class 6A consolation-round; lost to Plymouth-Whitemarsh in first round of PIAA Class 6A state playoffs).

Key players lost: Ahnera Parker (14.9, 13 3-pointers, 1,380 career points), Briana Perry (6.5), Precious Reid-White (3.3, 10 3-pointers), Jaileen Short (9.7, 29 3-pointers), Paris Todd (6.5, 3 3-pointers), Jaziah Richardson (5.4), Alissa Johnson (3.7).

Key players returning: G Anyzha Gibson (4.7, 4 3-pointers).

Outlook: We’re not going to sugarcoat it — Graduation was not kind to the Red Tornado, which lost some mega talent, including 1,000-point low-post terror Parker, athletic wing Perry and the backcourt duo of Short and Todd. They were all four-year contributors to the program, and helped McCaskey go to the L-L finals last February. The Tornado also lost Zaniah Banks (2.6), who transferred across the street to Lancaster Catholic. The only player back with any major varsity experience is Gibson, a dynamic junior who was instant-offense off the bench last season. She even earned some spot starts the deeper the season went. Gibson is incredibly athletic, and she’ll definitely be one of the top kids in the league to keep an eye on. Everyone else in a Tornado varsity uniform is basically new. So put your patience caps on, Tornado Alley.

Gut hunch: Thinking some growing pains here for sure. But that Parker-Perry-Short-Todd crew got varsity minutes as freshmen, and they all went on to have really solid careers for McCaskey. So we’ve seen it here before. Gibson can’t do it alone, so we’ll have our eyes on the youngsters to learn on the fly for McCloud.


PIAA classification: 6A.

Coach: Megan Collins (3rd season; 12-32 overall).

Last season: 2-12 L-L Section 1, 8-14 overall.

Key players lost: Sarah Stackhouse (4.3), Lynsey Wissler (1.1).

Key players returning: G Macy Carroll (6.3, 18 3-pointers), G Nasheyla Greggs (7.9, 24 3-pointers), G-F Danielle Heisey (3.5, 3 3-pointers), G Alyssa Schriver (18.6, 19 3-pointers), F Sarah Wiker (1.1).

Outlook: If Schriver rounds back into shape, beware of the Comets. Penn Manor’s point guard du jour was tearing it up last season before suffering a knee injury in mid-January. She’ll start her senior campaign — hopefully healthier — with 704 career points. She’d probably be at 800-plus if not for the injury. Schriver has some solid running mates in Greggs and Carroll, who can both beat you in transition and from the arc. Heisey can also score the rock, and Wiker is an incredibly hard worker on the boards. Plus, the Comets picked up a pair of transfers: Dashona London from McCaskey and Nevaeh Neal from Columbia. That’ll help. And Collins — formerly Megan Quinn — is excited about a German exchange student, Yana Vigelmi.

Gut hunch: Penn Manor went 6-2 in nonleague games last season, but kind of fizzled out in league play, especially after Schriver’s injury. With so many experienced kids back in the mix — and with so many other Section 1 teams in retooling mode — we think the Comets can make some noise here. They’ll play an up-tempo pace and try and turn you over. And if Schriver can get back to 100 percent, she’s a major weapon. Is a playoff push in the cards for the Comets? Can’t say for sure. But they’ll be better than 2-12 in league play this time around.


PIAA classification: 6A.

Coach: Janelle Garber (4th season; 22-43 overall).

Last season: 3-11 L-L Section 1, 7-14 overall.

Key players lost: Rylee Derr (17.5, 40 3-pointers, 1,551 career points), Rene Ross (6.8, 10 3-pointers), Kasie Sheaffer (2.3, 3 3-pointers), Carson Armstrong, Taylor Gonzales (5.4, 10 3-pointers).

Key players returning: G Abby Rodgers (2.5), G Emily Williamson, F Julia Forsythe (2.1), F Sydney Weismandel (1.8), G Lailani Batty (4.4, 6 3-pointers).

Outlook: There are zero — zilch — seniors on Garber’s roster, after graduation night cleaned out a bunch of talent, including 1,500-point scorer and four-year starter Derr, who will go down as one of the top players in program history. She’ll be missed. We don’t want to say Warwick is starting from scratch, but eight of 15 players on the Warriors’ roster are ninth-graders, so there will be fresh faces all over the place. One familiar face will be Batty, who made a splash from long range in her freshman debut last season. The offense could possibly go through her early on — we shall see — until all the newbies learn Garber’s schemes.

Gut hunch: Of all the rebuilding Section 1 teams — and there are quite a few when you really look at it — it looks like the Warriors just might have the biggest job in front of them. Hey, it’s high school athletics. Kids graduate. It happens. Stay patient, Lititz. Garber is a really good coach, and she’ll eventually push the right buttons. Just give this group some time to percolate.

TWITTER: @JeffReinhart77

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