Sophomore Jade Porter (5-8) moves from the low post to the wing and sophomore guard Taylor Bolden (5-6) and senior Destiny Davis (5-7) should log lots of minutes.

"Davis played every position at some point last year," coach Jody Powell said.

Powell expects to get reserve help from promoted JV players Imani Hudson (5-10) and Caitlyn Alley (5-6), along with seniors Gannon Costello (5-6), Haley Reibling (5-2), Danielle Veney (5-11) and Bria Richardson (5-3).

"One of our strengths will be our speed," said Powell, in her second season as head coach. "The fact they've had a year under their belt, they are much more comfortable."

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Scoring droughts were a weakness last season, but the Gators often made up for it with a suffocating defense.

"We spent a lot of time of defense," Powell said. "Defense was what enabled us to compete. This team understands it's everybody's responsibility to score."

They did just that in a season-opening 59-36 victory at Pallotti on Dec. 6.

Western Tech

Record last year: 23-5

Returning starters: Senior forward Daija Coles (5-11) and junior point guard Sydney Clopton (5-3).

Breakdown: Topping last year's trip to the Class 1A state final will be a huge task for the Wolverines, but with several key returning players they have a chance to get back to UMBC for the state tournament's final four.

Western Tech lost the state title game to Dunbar after defeating Fort Hill in a semifinal.

Although they graduated their dynamic inside duo of Ateh Ade and Jayde Duncan, they will be bolstered by the return of junior Ebonee Dixon (5-9).

Dixon averaged nine points per game as a freshman, before missing last season with a torn ACL.

"It's like getting a transfer," coach Nolan Roe said.

Clopton made an impact on varsity and scored a game-high 20 points in the state semifinal victory.

Coles (5-11) moves from wing to the low post, where her length will create havoc for opposing frontcourt players.

Sophomore Deja Dennis (5-8) provided some clutch plays during the Wolverines' regional championship win over New Town last season and figures to log many more minutes.

"She's more comfortable this year," Roe said.

Sophomore Kaitlin Page (5-11) is the tallest of the remaining players on the roster, that includes senior guard Christina Spliedt (5-2), senior guard/forward Autumn Tapley (5-7), junior forwards Lily Ellis (5-7) and Camille Calvin (5-6) and freshman Ashley Gourdine (5-3).

"Obviously, we are going to be a lot smaller this year," Roe said.

Roe's defense led them to the school's first regional crown in school history and he hopes that is the case again.

"We've really been working a lot on defense," Roe said. "We really need strong perimeter defense because if we keep pressure on the ball and make it difficult to pass, we should be pretty good."