The strikingly familiar faces on the St. Mary's girls basketball team undoubtedly will bring a grimace to the faces of its Catholic League opponents.
The Saints, who finished second behind Seton Keough in both the Catholic League regular season and in the league tournament last year, return not only the heart of last year's 25-6 squad but also the rest of the body.
The backbone of St. Mary's senior-laden team is 6-foot forward Laura Coakley. Coakley, who recently signed a national letter of intent to attend Wake Forest University, provides the Saints with leadership and strength from baseline to baseline. Coakley averaged 19.2 points per game and 9.8 rebounds last year and continues to mature.
Complementing Coakley in the backcourt are returning guards Jen Bonanni, Randall Goldsborough and freshman Bridget Smith. Goldsborough, a 5-4 junior playmaker who averaged 9.8 points last year, has been moved from point guard to shooting guard and will supply the Saints with a perimeter threat.
Battling in the paint for St. Mary's will be senior forward Heather Greenlee, who St. Mary's coach Carmine Blades calls the "county's most underrated player," junior center Amelia Mikula and Coakley.
Blades, who respects all the teams in the restructured Catholic League A division -- Seton Keough, Mercy, Notre Dame Prep and Archbishop Spalding -- nonetheless has set lofty goals for his experienced squad.
"We have one goal in focus and that is to win the Catholic League championship," said Blades, a co-coach with Bill Franey and Mike Riordan.
"We have a veteran team and an experienced team. We're very quick and we have height inside, so we should be very successful."
Also seeking a successful 1990-1991 season is Spalding coach Paul Leimkuhler. The veteran coach returns four starters from last year's 16-12 squad, as well as some promising underclassmen.
Among the Cavalier returnees are seniors Jackie Cordery (5-7 guard), Kalene Cummings (5-8 forward), Megan Early (5-10 center), Jennifer Metrinko (5-9 forward) and 5-7 guard Amy Langville, who earned a starting spot last year as a freshman.
Spalding probably will feel some ill effects from the losses of Michele Cashour, Julie Cohee and Kelly Horsley to graduation. Cashour was the Cavaliers' leading scorer last season, while Cohee and Horsley provided the team with experience in the backcourt and front court, respectively.
Despite having lost three of his top players from last year, Leimkuhler insists his team is an improved one.
"We're not in a rebuilding year," he said. "We're stronger this season than we were last and everyone seems to be playing more aggressively. We have a good inside-outside mix. I think we'll be right up there."
While Spalding and St. Mary's look to make a serious run for the Catholic League title, Severn first-year coach Rhonda Warmsley will continue her quest to try to get her team to become a little more serious-minded about the sport.
"They're a good bunch of girls and attitude-wise they're ready and raring to go, but I want to see us become a little more competitive," said Warmsley, who believes her team can be competitive in the Association of Independent Schools league. "I don't want to see them just go out, run around and have fun. I take the sport very seriously and I'd like to see them do the same."
Severn returns senior guards Suzanne Weinberg and Kristin Gillis. Last year, Weinberg paced the Admirals to an 8-8 record, averaging 21.6 point and 9.6 rebounds per game.