By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun
12:07 AM EST, December 3, 2011
1. Archbishop Spalding
Coach: William Rosemond
Last season: 28-4, ranked No. 1
Postseason: IAAM A Conference champion
Outook: The Cavaliers graduated All-Metro Player of the Year Maggie Morrison and three other Division I players, but some opponents fear they might be even more loaded than last season. A couple of talented transfers from Bishop McNamara make them the team to beat once again.
Coach: Stacy Liles
Last season: 24-2, No. 2
Postseason: Class 3A state finalist
Outlook: The Eagles will be motivated to win the state crown they barely missed last winter. With All-Metro center Bri Jones and three stellar returning guards, look for them to make a strong run at the UCBAC and state championships.
3. Digital Harbor
Coach: Patrick McDonald
Last season: 15-9, No. 11
Postseason: Class 2A state semifinalist
Outlook: The Rams add 6-foot-5 center Infiniti Alston to take the post pressure off stellar forward A'Lexus Harrison as they move up to Class 3A. With complementary guards and plenty of senior leadership, the Rams are the team to beat in Baltimore City.
Coach: Brad Rees
Last season: 20-7, No. 6
Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinalist
Outlook: The Eagles return a handful of solid contributors, but with four of the top eight players freshmen or sophomores, how quickly the youngsters acclimate to A Conference play could determine how high they fly.
Coach: Wardell Selby
Last season: 20-4, No. 4
Postseason: Class 1A state champion
Outlook: The Poets graduated three starters, but a transfer likely will fill the key post spot, and a bevy of guards return along with All-Metro forward Michelle Wright to lead the charge toward another state crown.
Coach: Don Beall
Last season: 24-2, No. 9
Postseason: Class 2A South regional finalist
Outlook: The defending Howard County and District V champion makes few mistakes and should make a strong run at defending both titles. The Gladiators again feature a balanced five-guard approach with quickness, aggressive defense and 3-point shooting.
7. Roland Park
Coach: Scott Buckley
Last season: 12-12, No. 7
Postseason: IAAM A Conference quarterfinalist
Outlook: The Reds return three starters and complement them with two talented freshmen. A tough schedule could take a toll on their record early, but look for the Reds to stay in the AConference race.
Coach: Michael Harris
Last season: 24-2, No. 5
Postseason: Class 1A state semifinalist
Outlook: The emergence of 6-2 senior post player Cierra Tourville gives the Mariners a new look inside. With Tourville taking pressure off forward Shakara Head and plenty of guards returning, look for another strong state title run.
Coach: Kendall Peace-Able
Last season: 16-7, No. 8
Postseason: Class 3A North regional semifinalist
Outlook: The Engineers return all but one starter and have a senior-laden team plus talented sophomore point guard Jasmine Smith. Runners-up last year, they should be back in a crowded Baltimore City Division I race.
10. South River
Coach: Mike Zivic
Last season: 18-7, No. 13
Postseason: Class 4A East regional finalist
Outlook: The Seahawks bring back four starters from a team that just missed the Anne Arundel County title. With one of the area's stronger backcourts, South River should again battle Meade for the county and regional titles.
11. St. Vincent Pallotti
Coach: Josh Pratt
Last season: 14-11, No. 14
Postseason: IAAM A Conference semifinalist
Outlook: The Panthers graduated their height, so rebounding might be an issue. But they return three starters, add a 6-2 player and bring up seven from an undefeated JV group — plenty to keep them in the A Conference hunt.
12. Seton Keough
Coach: Jody Powell
Last season: 21-9, No. 3
Postseason: IAAM A Conference finalist
Outlook: The Gators experienced the biggest turnover of any Top 15 team, and they also have a new coach. Still, they have a lot of young talent to plug into Powell's new system, so don't look for the Gators to fall off anyone's radar.
Coach: Dafne Lee-Blakney
Last season: 14-8, No. 12
Postseason: Class 4A North regional first round
Outlook: With a new coach, the Doves are adjusting to a new system as they aim to defend their Baltimore City title. They'll be small and quick, and Lee-Blakney is emphasizing defense.
Coach: Reggie Leach
Last season: 19-6, No. 15
Postseason: Class 4A East regional semifinalist
Outlook: Leach takes over a veteran squad that returns three starters. A bit more consistency and a stronger half-court game should keep the Mustangs in a battle with South River to defend their Anne Arundel County title.
Coach: Jessica Morgan
Last season: 18-4, No. 10
Postseason: Class 2A West regional finalist
Outlook: The Lions return two starters and have enough in the paint to be Carroll County's top team. The question is whether they have the guards to support the inside game.
OTHERS CONSIDERED: Catonsville (18-7), Howard (20-6), John Carroll (19-8), Oakland Mills (18-6), South Carroll (18-5)
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