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Coach: Steve Sinclair
Last year’s record: 10-13, state playoffs first round
Key players: Robyn McPhaul, Sr., G; Shantana Norris, Sr., F; Rocio Pecina, Sr., G
Outlook: The Red Devils graduated senior Jasmine Murchison but return four of five starters, including all-county honorable mention Robyn McPhaul. Eight players are back from last year’s playoff squad. Red Springs showed flashes of success in preseason scrimmages and the team hopes to make a run during Three Rivers play during its second year under coach Steve Sinclair.
Coach: Danyel Jolicoeur
Last year’s record: 2-18
Key players: Bristin Locklear, Jr., G; Mikala Lowry, Sr., G; Alysa Hunt, Sr., C; Taylor Locklear, Sr., G
Outlook: Swett took a step back last season despite an all-senior backcourt after reaching the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade in 2011. The Rams are senior-heavy this fall, but must replace both of their leading scorers. Alysa Hunt’s a four-year varsity player and is Swett’s top low-post threat. Rebuilding is often a multi-step process.
Coach: Mike White
Last year’s record: 11-13, state playoffs first round
Key players: Tia Glover, Jr., G; Tamara Glover, Sr., G; Alexis Roberson, Sr.
Outlook: The Bulldogs made their mark late during the 2012 season with an upset win against South Robeson and return three star guards to their rotation. St. Pauls will be one of the area’s quickest teams with the basketball this fall, but questions linger in the post at the defensive end.
Coach: Danny Graham
Last year’s record: 18-7, state playoffs first round
Key players: Maya McCoy, Sr., F; Alexis Andrews, Sr., F, Azaya Graham, Sr., G; Mariah Locklear, Jr., F
Outlook: Veteran state champion coach Danny Graham doesn’t have the luxury of multiple senior leaders this season and must replace 2012 county player of the year Keanna McNeill’s scoring and rebounding presense. Maya McCoy and Azaya Graham combine to create one of the Southeastern Conference’s top inside-outside threat as Graham returns as the area’s leading 3-point shooter.
Coach: Lula Ratley
Last year’s record: 12-9, state playoffs second round
Key players: A’terria Quick, Soph., G; Cheyenne Chavis, Sr., F; Jaquel Stackhouse, Sr., F Illiya White, Jr., G;
Outlook: A true volume shooter, A’Terria Quick returns for what’s expected to be a sensational sophomore season following a freshman campaign that saw her lead Robeson County in scoring at 21.9 points per contest. Quick led the Mustangs in 3-point goals and free throws and is the team’s primary ballhandler. South Robeson responded well last season after a disappointing 2011 and won a playoff game for the third time in four seasons.
Coach: Cindy Thorndyke
Last year’s record: 12-13, state playoffs first round
Key players: Na’Jewell Ingram, Jr., F; Marsha Clewis, Soph., F; Christa Thorndyke, Sr, F; Courtney McCormick, Soph., G
Outlook: Fairmont enters the 2013 season without its best playmaker and on-ball defender following Anasia Evans’ departure. The Golden Tornadoes also have a new head coach, Cindy Thorndyke, who takes over for Chris Rodriguez. Na’Jewell Ingram is one of Fairmont’s top returning rebounders and shot blockers. With a year of varsity hoops under her belt, expect a big season from Marsha Clewis as a sophomore.