9. Howard

Coach: Scott Robinson

Last season: 21-4, No. 14

Postseason: Class 3A East regional finalist

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Outlook: Four of five starters return for the Lions, who fell to River Hill in the regional final. The Lions will be challenged in a balanced Howard County league as well as by a move to Class 4A, where their section includes all Montgomery County opponents.

10. City

Coach: George Petrides

Last season: 23-4, No. 5

Postseason: Class 3A North regional finalist

Outlook: The Knights, who lost to Aberdeen in the regional final, return strength at guard but graduated a lot of muscle under the boards, so rebounding will be a concern. Still, the Knights are the team most likely to challenge Poly for the Baltimore City title.

11. River Hill

Coach: Teresa Waters

Last season: 23-4, No. 9

Postseason: Class 3A state finalist

Outlook: With three starters lost, the Hawks might need a little time to develop the chemistry that helped them reach the state final the past two years. The defending Howard County champions have a strong backcourt duo to build on in the Collins twins, Julia and Jenna.

12. Catonsville

Coach: Mike Mohler

Last season: 20-4, not ranked

Post season: Class 4A North regional semifinalist

Outlook: The Comets have lots of strength in the backcourt and should run and press their way into a battle with Milford Mill for the top spot in Baltimore County. Among the returning players is senior team leader Taylor Barton, and they add 6-1 freshman Jen Gast.