2011-12 record: 8-11, 9-12
Top players: Senior Diara Woodard (F); junior Zach Andreas (G); sophomores Connor Maloney (G), Aaron Smith (G) and Joey Trapuzzano (G).
What you need to know: It's been a tough offseason for the Vikings, who lost three of their top six scorers to graduation and then lost another two this fall to injury. Malik Gilmore, who would have been the team's top returner (11.8 ppg as a junior), tore his ACL playing quarterback for the football team and Brian Shade (4.1 ppg) is recovering from a concussion.
That leaves Woodard (7.6 ppg) and senior Colin Dohner as the lone holdovers that saw significant time a season ago. With five sophomores expected to see expanded roles around those two, coach Mike Linsenmeyer says it could take a little time for this group to hit its stride. "There is going to be a learning curve and some growing pains, but they are a good kids," he said. "We just have to try and get better every day and set realistic goals."
2011-12 record: 6-13, 8-15
Top players: Seniors Dajuan Dent (F), Lavon Long (F) and Joe Zayatz (G); juniors Michaud Reyna (G), Daivon Tapscott (G) and Marvin Williams (G).
What you need to know: For the third straight year the Scorpions feature a player of the year candidate. Long, one of three transfers into the program that are expected to make major impacts, can literally play all five positions on the floor and has already committed to play at Loyola next season. And while Long can certainly score with the best of them, coach Jon Browne says its not going to be a one-man show. "We won eight games last year with Antonio (Manns) scoring over 25 a night, so we need other guys to score if we want this year to be different," Browne said. "I have no doubt we will be a far more balanced team."
The speed and athleticism Oakland Mills can throw at teams will be downright scary at times, with the team's guard-tandem of Williams and Reyna looking to constantly push the tempo. Tapscott is the team's leading returning scorer (6.4 ppg as a sophomore) and Dent looks like one of the county's most improved players from a season ago. Zayatz will also be a key role player, excelling as a lock-down defender.
"It's going to be fun … the magic is back at the Mill," Browne said.
2011-12 record: 9-10, 13-12
Top players: Seniors Matt Christian (F), Brandon Franklin (F), Cody Toler (G) and Josh Williams (G); junior Aaron McDonald (G).
What you need to know: The Gators were the most balanced team in the county last year, featuring seven guys that averaged between four and 10 points a night. New coach Mike Coughlan expects much of the same again with this year's group. "I truly feel like we have two starting fives," Coughlan said. "The depth is a huge strength and we have guys that allow us to do a number of different things and give teams different looks. We're not going to be asking any one guy to do it all for us."
Toler is a dangerous 3-point shooter, making 26 from beyond the arc as a junior on his way to 6.8 points a game. Williams (6.5 ppg) and Christian (5.4 ppg) have also shown the ability to put points on the board, putting together five double-digit scoring nights apiece as juniors. McDonald, who is up from the JV, and Franklin, a transfer, will help offensively as well.
Not the biggest team in the county, Reservoir will wreak havoc in an up-tempo style that takes advantage of the team's athleticism. Junior Kyle Reilly, who came on strong at the end of last season after being called up from JV, is another guy to keep an eye on from his wing position.
2011-12 record: 4-15, 4-19
Top players: Senior Walt Moody (F); sophomores Gary Sandler (G) and Charlie Thomas (C).
What you need to know: On paper the Hawks are young, with two sophomores and a freshman slated to play major minutes this year, but the truth is that they are the only county team bringing back its three leading scorers from a season ago. "If you look at the classes you would think we were in a rebuilding cycle, but in reality that was actually last year with our freshmen being thrown into the fire," River Hill coach Matt Graves said. "They are ready for the challenges this year."