Still, seven seniors and nine girls with extensive varsity experience give the Lightning an advantage, especially early on.

“I’m leaning on the leadership of the upperclassmen to really pace us through this season,” Cofield added.

“We are expecting some big things from our senior point guard Imani Sanders, as well as senior forward Gillian Engelbrecht,” she said. “They both had great seasons last year and we are expecting them to build from last year’s successes.”

Engelbrecht notched 10 rebounds per game last year. Her play in the paint is paramount if the Lightning want to keep up with the rest of the county.

Marriotts Ridge

Coach: Caitlin Bay

Last season: (6-13, 7-15)

Top players: Seniors Marissa Davey (G), Amanda Miller (G), Jenna Bergquist (F), Kali Taylor (F) and Jenna Kerr (F).

What to expect: The Mustangs are another club with a new girls basketball coach this season, as Caitlin Bay makes the all too familiar move from JV to varsity.

With five seniors all sharing leadership duties, Marriotts Ridge looks to be primed to improve on last year’s 6-13 county record.

Jenna Bergquist returns to the court after leading the county with a 90 percent save percentage as a goalkeeper on the soccer field.

In her junior year, the forward averaged 8.3 points per game.

She’ll be joined on the floor by upperclassmen Marissa Davey (G), Amanda Miller (G), Kali Taylor (F) and Jenna Kerr (F).

“This is our first year together as a team,” said Bay. “Meshing as a program — both players and the coaching staff — is our ultimate goal this year. It is something we have already started working towards since day one. I have no doubt that we will achieve this goal.”

Bay’s club prides itself on playing tough, smart defense, and with the implantation of new offensive schemes, the ability to score points efficiently should develop as the year goes on.

A number of multi-sport athletes make up this Mustangs team, so athleticism and basketball IQ shouldn’t be an issue either.

Bay said Howard is the team to beat this season, and that her girls are excited to play them, as well as other schools in the county. 

Mt. Hebron

Coach: Tony Bell

Last season: (14-5, 17-7)