Glen Burnie fully intends to pick up right where it left off.
The Gophers checked so many boxes in the history column, crafting an undefeated season for the first time while picking up regular season and county championship titles as well as a regional title. Then, the end came too soon — falling to Western in the Class 4A state semifinal.
So, that’s two more boxes coach Sam Porter, Player of the Year Amourie Porter — now a senior — and the rest of the returners plan to check: making it to the state final, and winning it. Sam Porter believes his team, with added playmakers, is disciplined enough to do it.
But as for who they’ll have to dispatch before then?
“To be honest, our conference is deep,” Porter said. “So that can be any team.”
Coaches generally concur that Glen Burnie is the goal post — which is easy to see with a Division I senior that single-handedly, at times, pulled her team to victory. But only as the weeks turn colder will it become clear who’ll challenge them.
County teams will only play one game against each other that’ll count toward the Anne Arundel standings, placing more significance on every single play made night by night.
Old Mill’s freshmen rocked the county in 2019-20 then endured the pandemic in 2020-21 and the rise of the Gophers in 2021-22. The Patriots’ rookies are grown — including 6-foot-3 2019-20 Player of the Year Amani “Baby Shaq” Watts. With that group facing its last opportunity to reach their goals, coach Henry Fuller expects Old Mill to regain its standing as the county’s best team — which includes becoming the biggest thorn in the side of the team that beat them four times last year.
“[We’re] looking to complete what our goals were last year — to be county champs and go to states,” Fuller said. “We’ve picked up a few more pieces and are looking forward to see if we can make that run.”
Crofton coach Jonathan Mason, who began Glen Burnie’s resurgence as its coach in 2019, hopes to see the Cardinals take a next step. Severna Park coach Kristofer Dean foresees his freshmen-filled Falcons, which graduated a leader in Theresa Bragg among others, concentrate its strengths by the postseason.
Broadneck, which knocked Severna Park from the playoffs in February, is skewing towards inexperience as well, something only fixed if its younger players embrace the adversity. That, coach Juan McKinney expects will derive from its energetic and high-level defense.
South River features as many key underclassmen as it does veterans. The difference should come with the Seahawks’ length, size and depth, coach Mike Zivic surmises.
“If we can play with consistency we can be dangerous,” Zivic said. “If we don’t, then we will be middle of the pack in the county.”
Chesapeake intends to emphasize defense, alongside size and speed. Coach Maria Gray knew for a while she’d be welcoming a sizable freshman class and expects their blend with her older players will help carry over the momentum the Cougars brewed late last winter.
Defense is a weapon Meade intends to use as well, but it’ll be one the Mustangs can only utilize with faith, new coach Cat Harmon said.
“We will be tough defensively, but we need to come out of our shell and trust ourselves offensively,” she said. “We’ll see a range of play this season, as usual. Some teams who’ve been together longer and have that established team chemistry and culture while other teams, like us, who have had coaching changes and are working to establish those things.”
Northeast coach Michael Parker similarly hopes his team will construct a foundation of trust this winter as it continues to rebuild, especially with 2022 Girls Athlete of the Year and speedy three-sport athlete Caitlyn Cornwell at the helm.
“As a team, they are all buying in on helping change the culture of this program,” Parker said.
Southern set loftier goals than it achieved last winter, coach Beth Tompkins said, taking an early playoff exit against Century. Fueled by chemistry, the Bulldogs plan to avenge that while some adjust to new roles.
“Our team has a challenging schedule this season, but expectations are high,” Tompkins said. “We returned experienced players from last season and added a few key pieces.”
Arundel graduated a true playmaker in Heather Middleton and comprise of members as green as their uniforms. Growth, coach Lee Rogers said, is the goal.
Archbishop Spalding brings in a familiar face in first-year coach Aanika O’Connor, who served as Meade’s coach for a number of years. Though her squad returns three starters, O’Connor anticipates competitiveness will derive from her group’s desire to improve each day.
In the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference, Severn, though coming off losing seasons, strive to make it to the playoffs this winter — and reaching consistency is the key, per new coach Jim Stromberg.
The Admirals’ rival St. Mary’s benefits from a tad more experience. Players like leading scorer Baily Walden and Tara Haffelfinger have made such an impact over the past few seasons that coach Chuck Miller believes their stewardship combined with talented newcomers will assemble a formidable squad.
In the C Conference, Indian Creek coach Casey Corkin anticipates the same kind of prowess as time passes, but only if the limited squad can avoid injury and illness.
“Offensively, we have a strong post game with seniors Haley Selmer and Molly Bunker,” Corkin said. “If we get strong guard play from senior Avery Barnhill and sophomore Abbey Bunker — and we can stay healthy — we will be a tough team to beat in our conference at the end of the year.”
Key is playing a nonleague schedule this winter with the hopes of returning the C Conference next season. The turnout the Obezags experienced this year is a step forward in the growth that’ll bring them there.
Here’s a quick look at the Anne Arundel teams. Editor’s note: Not all teams responded to requests for information.
Last season: 0-19
Coach: Henry Meiklejohn, first season
Top players: N/A
Annapolis Area Christian School
Coach: Olivia Eggleston, second season
Top players: N/A
Last season: 3-11
Coach: Aanika O’Connor, first season
Top players: Senior Mariah Sanabia (G/F); sophomore Whitley Watkins (F)
Last season: 13-11
Coach: Lee Rogers, 32nd season
Top players: Seniors Jordan Glover; sophomores Jessica Gotshall, Logan Ferrell, Jolie Hamilton and Janiyah Sherrill
Last season: 9-12
Coach: Juan McKinney, fourth season
Top players: Seniors Addison Hurst, Naveah Dowell and Arianna Jeffries; juniors Mackenzie Wharton, Samantha Miller and Ginger Kerdock; sophomore London Best
Last season: 9-14
Coach: Maria Gray, ninth season
Top players: Seniors Ella Shannon (PG/G), Natalie Foreman (G/F) and Madison Kelly (G); juniors Kasey Slade (C) and Ava Arruda (PG/G).
Last season: 12-10
Coach: Jonathan Mason, third season
Top players: Senior Cora Shafer (F); junior Lily Maher (G); sophomore Vanessa Carmichael (G)
Last season: 22-1
Coach: Sam Porter, second season
Top players: Seniors Amourie Porter, Lania Nick, Layla Washington and Aisha Soumaoro
Last season: 3-9
Coach: Alexis Lyers, second season
Top players: Juniors Meredith Rizek (G) and Maya VanAlstine (G); freshmen Cierra Ploof (G/F), Joie Brewer (F), Jane Edwards (F), Maya Kirshtein (F), Danielle Nunyi (F) and Lara Michaels (G)
Last season: 10-10
Coach: Casey Corkin, second season
Top players: Seniors Haley Selmer (F), Avery Barnhill (G) and Molly Bunker (F); junior Elia Alewine (G); sophomore Abbey Bunker (G)
Last season: 11-6
Coach: Cat Harmon, first season
Top players: Juniors Evhan Smith, Kennedy House and Naomi Williams; sophomore Jamine Dailey
Last season: 4-9
Coach: Ciarra Lucas, second season
Top players: N/A
Last season: 1-16
Coach: Michael Parker, second season
Top players: Senior Caitlyn Cornwell (G); juniors Julia Fox (C), Maggie Lawrence and Faith Schmitz (G/F)
Last season: 16-4
Coach: Henry Fuller, second season
Top players: Seniors Neveah Brown (PG/SG), Amaya Douglas (SG/SF), NyAsia Futrell (PG/SG) and Amani Watts (C/F); sophomore Jermirah Brown (SG/F); freshman MaKenzie Singletary (PG)
Last season: 6-17
Coach: Jim Stromberg, first season
Top players: Seniors Madison Vernon (G), Emma Ripley (F), Morgan Ryan (F), Megan Murphy (G), Madison Tryon (G), Melissa Mazuranic (F) and Isabel Zurowski (F); junior Nyela Djossun (F)
Last season: 12-9
Coach: Kristofer Dean, sixth season
Top players: Seniors Hanna Verreault, Lilly Spilker, Abby Kavanagh and Karli Kirchenheiter
Last season: 16-6
Coach: Mike Zivic, 15th season
Top players: Seniors Calen Norton (G) Erin McGaha (F), Delany Leggans (F) and Cate LaTour (G); juniors Campbell Werwie (F) and Maggie Groves (G/F); sophomore Karlee Hawkins (G/F), Reagan Ogle (G), Ryleigh Adams (G/F), Sami Clarke (G/F) and Skylar Woodyard (G); freshmen Keira West (G) and Leila Bushee (G)
Last season: 11-10
Coach: Beth Tompkins, second season
Top players: Seniors Kate Seymour (G), Angelia Huggins (G), Jordan Wheeler (F) and Ashlynn Deans (G); juniors Ava Wooster (F), Sidney Shaw (G), Gabrielle Tompkins (G), Alissa Jacks (F), Presley Marks (G) and Mandi Mulhern (G); sophomore Charlotte Green (G); freshman Marley Shaw (F)
Last season: 11-9, IAAM B Conference semifinalists
Coach: Chuck Miller, sixth season
Top players: Senior Tara Haffelfinger; junior Baily Walden (G); freshmen Bailey Harris, Alexandra Vandiver and Gabby Mitchell