Head coach: Shelly Garner, third year
Assistant coaches: Debbie Fulton, Ruth Cramer
Last year's record: 15-11 overall, 7-5 and third in the Central Maryland Conference, advanced to state semifinals
Top returnees: Seniors -- Guards Heather Crum, Jenny Taylor, forward/guard Tonya Boyce, center Angie Davis; juniors, forward Jolynn Taylor, guard Tameka Garner, Julie Desmond
Top newcomers: Junior -- Guard Shena Bowie
Coach's comments: "We'll be all right if we can stay away from injuryand illness. I'm looking to be competitive in the conference and hopefully earn a trip back to the final four. We're short on personnel this year. We just have to hope that everyone stays healthy."
The Carroll County Sun's outlook: This is a hard bunch to figure. The teamhas three starters back from last year in Boyce, Taylor and Desmond,but only has eight girls on the roster. Practice isn't a problem, Garner said, because the varsity and junior varsity practice together. An added boost for the squad could come from Angie Davis, who sat outa year ago but could be one of the best in the conference this year.If everyone stays healthy, the Cadets could indeed compete for the Central Maryland Conference title and return to the state tournament. But an injury or two could make this a mediocre team in a hurry, one that will struggle in the CMC.
Coach: Tom Delise, second year
Assistant coaches: not available
Last year's record: 15-9 overall, 8-4 in the Central Maryland Conference, 6-1 in the county
Top returnees: Seniors -- center Kelly Foreman, guard Brenda Timko; juniors -- guards Amy Wolf and Kim Walsh, forward Dani Fostik
Top newcomers: Juniors -- guards Dawn Wilhelm and Krista Centosanti,forward Katie Kelbaugh; sophomores -- guards Heather Basham and Robin Leeds
Coaches' comments: "We're in a position where we've got some good kids. We had to cut some good players from the squad this year. What will hurt us is the injuries. Both Julie Cox (back) and Kim Walsh (torn ligaments) are hurt, and they were both projected as starters. With them out, it's almost like we're starting over from scratch."
The Carroll County Sun's outlook: Last year, coach Tom Delise took over a team that had won just five of 44 games over two seasons and made it a winner. The Lions lost in the Class 3A regional semifinals to Oakland Mills. This year, injuries to a pair of projected starters, guards Julie Cox and Kim Walsh, will no doubt hurt the team's chances to repeat. Senior Kelly Foreman is one of the premier centers in the county and junior guard Amy Wolf will be able to get her the ball. Brenda Timko will play a key role to offset injuries. Look for the rest of the team to make up the slack left by the injured players. Liberty should have another winning season.
THOMAS JOHNSON PATRIOTS
Head coach: Brian Matthews, eighth year
Assistant coaches: O. W.Crisco, Steve Andersen
Last year's record: 17-6 overall, 10-2 andfirst in the Central Maryland Conference
Top returnees: Seniors -- Guard Gina Powell, forward Kim Doyle, center Pam Anderson; junior -- guard Jennifer Gloyd; sophomores -- guard Carrie Jenkins, forward Rachel Kelly
Top newcomers: Senior -- guard Penni Stockman; juniors-- Guard Heather Sargent, forwards Wendy Norman, Betsy Roberts; sophomores -- guard Heather Templeton, forward Jessica Ernst
Coach's comments: "We should be fairly strong. We're not tall. Other than Anderson (6-foot) and Roberts (5-10), we're pretty short. We're quick, though."
The Carroll County Sun's outlook: Many CMC coaches pick theLancers to win the conference, with four starters back from last year's team. The one graduated senior, Susie Baker, contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds per game, but other returnees should be able to pick up some of that slack. The three returning seniors also must provide leadership. Gloyd, heading into her junior year, is considered one of the best in the conference. The Lancers should be every bit as good this year, and may advance farther along in postseason play. FigureFrederick and possibly Westminster to supply the biggest challenge in the Central Maryland Conference.
NORTH CARROLL PANTHERS
Coach: Greg Knill, second year
Assistant coaches: Mary Davis, Lloyd Ford
Last year's record: 13-10 overall, 6-6 in the Central Maryland Conference, 4-3 in the county
Top returnees: Seniors -- guards Kim Piccone, Vickie Jackson and Mindy Bankert, forwards Jennie Cooper and Jenni Heindel; junior -- forward Michelle Jeffery
Top newcomers: Juniors -- forwards Francine Hewes, Megan Moore, Cara Tedder, and Liz Piper; sophomores: forward Casey Rhoten, guard Jenny Baker
Coaches' comments: "Last year's team had some success, but I think our playersrelied too much on Lisa Garland, our all-time leading scorer. None of the kids has ever really stepped up. This year, they'll have to come of age if they want to win. All of the kids have shown flashes, butnone have ever backed it up. This year, we'll see if they can. Hopefully, with a more balanced attack, we'll also be more consistent."