Class A Girls' Basketball Preview: Teams in favorite roles have familiar look

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SECTION 1

Team to beat

Quigley: The Spartans won the section title a year ago and should challenge again. All-section players Drew Meeker and Jen Deltondo graduated, but junior guard Kristen Jackson averaged 15 points. Senior forward Morgan Dillon also returns.

Contenders

Cornell: After finishing in a tie for second place last year, the Raiders might have the makings for a section title this season. Senior guard Mason DePetro averaged 17 points and made all-section. Senior point guard Marcen Shepherd averaged 13.

Union: Twin sisters Marissa and Miranda Heaney (5-6 senior guards) return from a team that went 13-9 last year. Marissa averaged 12 points and Miranda 10. Senior forward Allison Bertolino and senior forward Kaylee Lemmon also are returning starters.

Others

Rochester: Forward Demi McFrazier averaged 9 points and 10 rebounds a game last season as a freshman.

Aliquippa: Graduation hit the Quips hard, but they could still be in the hunt for one of the four playoff spots.

Sewickley Academy: Junior forward Katelyn Ripple is the top returnees from a 9-12 team.

Western Beaver: The Golden Beavers are simply hoping to be a little more competitive after going winless in section play the past two seasons.

SECTION 2

Team to beat

Vincentian: One might say Vincentian and North Catholic are teams 1 and 1A in this section. Vincentian beat North Catholic in the WPIAL championship last year, but North Catholic knocked off Vincentian in the PIAA semifinals. Vincentian will be led by 6-0 sophomore forward Brenna Wise, who averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds a game last season and was selected by the coaches as the top player in the section. Kayla Key, a transfer from Westinghouse, also could have an impact.

Contenders

North Catholic: The Trojanettes have one of the WPIAL's best guards in senior Lauren Wolosik, who has signed with Division I Central Connecticut. But the team must replace a few key players who graduated.

St. Joseph: This team will look for big things from Mallory Heinle, a junior forward who averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds.

Riverview: The Raiders will miss graduated guard Mary Andrejko, who averaged 22 points a game last season. Senior forward Renee Ault is the top returnee.

Others

Eden Christian: Three starters return, led by sophomore guard Abbie Bazzoli, who averaged 10 points last year. Fellow sophomore guard Jenna Santoro averaged 8 points.

Trinity Christian: The team tries to take a few steps forward after going winless in section play the past two seasons.

Imani Christian: The Saints are playing a WPIAL schedule for the first time.

SECTION 3

Team to beat

Carmichaels: Three starters who averaged in double figures last season return. Senior guard Morgan Berardi averaged 16 points and 8 assists and was all-section. Senior guard Anna Cree averaged 15 and junior forward Amanda Brown 10 and 8 rebounds.

Contender

California: With four returning starters, things are looking up for the Trojans. Junior guard Tristen Conoway averaged 11 points and senior guard Courtnee McMasters 10. Senior forward Natalie Baron and sophomore guard Olivia Helmick are the other returning starters.

Others

West Greene: The Pioneers finished in a tie for fourth place a year ago. Junior guard Cheyenne Miller averaged 10 points and junior forward Madison Raber 7 points and 10 rebounds.

Avella: The Eagles will be led by senior forward Olivia English (12 ppg, 9 rpg).

Jefferson-Morgan: Senior guard Ashley Faddis is the team's top returnee.

Mapletown: The Maples are hoping to fare a little better after going winless in section play the past two seasons.

SECTION 4

Team to beat

Monessen: The Greyhounds won the section title last year and finished 20-4. With talented senior guard Mariah Ward (21 ppg), Monessen figures to be strong again. Ward and senior guard-forward Chelsea Szakal (13.1 ppg) were both all-section last season.

Contenders

Serra Catholic: Four starters return from last year's team that finished second in the section under veteran coach Bill Cleary. They are junior guard Megan Sieg, sophomore guard Katie Sieg, junior guard Leslie Hoye and senior guard Jessie Manfredi.

Clairton: The Bears feature senior guard-forward Taleese Ogletree, who made all-section last season.

Others

Winchester Thurston: The Bears are hopeful of making the playoffs again after finishing 13-11 last year.

Frazier: Guards Lauren Timko and Cassiday Guiser made impacts last year as freshmen for the Commodores.

Geibel: Senior guards Peyton McIntyre (11 ppg) and Amanda Hanabeck give the Gators, a one-time WPIAL power, hope after going 0-22 last year.

RANKINGS

Rk. School (2011-12 record)

1. Vincentian (28-2)

2. Monessen (20-4)

3. North Catholic (24-7)

4. Serra Catholic (14-8)

5. Quigley (18-5)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brenna Wise, Vincentian, 6-0, Sophomore, Guard/Forward

Kayla Key, Vincentian, 5-4, Junior, Guard

Lauren Wolosik, North Catholic, 5-9, Senior, Guard

Mason DePetro, Cornell, 5-4, Senior, Guard

Mariah Ward, Monessen, 5-9, Senior, Guard

Chelsea Szakal, Monessen, 5-9, Senior, Guard/Forward

Megan Sieg, Serra Catholic, 5-6, Junior, Guard

Kristen Jackson, Quigley Catholic, 5-8, Junior, Guard

Morgan Berardi, Carmichaels, 5-6, Senior, Guard

Courtnee McMasters, California, 5-7, Senior, Guard

mobilehome - hsbasketball

Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com


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