The Lake Norman area proved to produce several of the best girls' basketball teams last year with four local teams winning 23 games or more.
Bandys (26-4), East Lincoln (23-6), Hopewell (23-5) and Lake Norman (24-6) all advanced to at least the sectional finals last year. It should be another interesting year for area basketball.
Coach: Beth Queen.
200-2010 record: 26-4.
The Trojans won 26 games last year with a starting lineup that consisted of only one senior. Now, coach Beth Queen and company are looking to get back to at least the 2A regional semifinals, where they lost to eventual state champion Salisbury last season.
Tara Potter will be a big part of whatever they do, along with guard Jesse Story. But the Trojans have an experienced team that will challenge for the Catawba Valley Athletic Conference.
Tara Potter: 6-foot-1 forward could be the Trojans’ difference-maker.
Coach: Franklin Lowery.
2009-2010 record: 23-6.
The Mustangs leaned heavily on all-everything center Lindsy Wright for the last four years. Second-year coach Franklin Lowery and company will attempt to win their fourth straight Southern Piedmont Conference title with a more balanced approach.
Four-year varsity players Kyndal Davis and Courtney Ashley will the top offensive options with junior Akeyla Forney also showing a lot of potential. Sophomore Ashley Frazier takes over the offense at point guard while junior forwards Sydney Messmer and Brittany Miller will need to be solid inside.
Kyndal Davis: Senior forward will have to step up in Lindsy Wright’s absence.
Coach: Gary Richmond
2009-2010 record: 23-5.
Hopewell and coach Gary Richmond return four of five starters from a team that won the I-Meck regular season and tournament titles and went all the way to the 4A West sectional finals.
Davidson recruit Hannah Early will have a lot of help and talent around her with versatile forward Sharee Boyd and sharpshooter, Hunter Meakin, who led the state with 62 three-pointers last year. Role players like Karoline Summerville and newcomers Victoria Spaulding and Bryanna Curry could be the difference in going further into the playoffs.
Hannah Early: The defending I-Meck Player of the Year is back again after averaging 14 points per game.
Coach: Sonja Tate.
2009-2010 record: New school.
The Huskies will be fighting an uphill battle for most of the year as the new team in a loaded I-Meck Conference. But first-year head coach Sonja Tate, who started the Ardrey Kell program, has been here before, not too long ago.
Coach: Lori Reavis.
2009-2010 record: 24-6.
The Wildcats went all the way to the state quarterfinals last year, winning 24 games with a talented team. Now, Lake Norman has some rebuilding to do after new coach Lori Reavis took over for Dave Walla.
Reavis has solid talent to work with as the team’s leading scorer, junior guard/forward Marissa Riley, is back to spark the offense with senior Lynnsey Howard running the point. The Wildcats are also solid down low with senior forward Landyn Mannion and sophomore Brittani Cartner ready to step up after losing Kaitlin Walla.
Marissa Riley: Junior averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game last season.
Coach: Melanie Allen.
2009-2010 record: 7-15.
The Blue Devils struggled in their first season in the I-Meck, but this year, Mooresville and coach Melanie Allen hope to move up the standings. Senior guard Shakirah McLaughlin will have to shoulder a lot of the load for what will be a young team. McLaughlin will look to DeAsia Faulker and Tanisha Ellis, who is back after missing last year with an injury, for immediate support.
Shakirah McLaughlin: 5-foot-5 senior guard will need to stand up for Blue Devils to be competitive in I-Meck.
Coach: Jennifer Baker.
2009-2010 record: 15-11.
The Vikings battled last year against some of the state’s best within the I-Meck. Now, second-year coach Jennifer Baker will have to do the same thing against Hopewell, Lake Norman and company without all-state point guard Lauren Lewis. But North Meck has a veteran team, led by a quartet of seniors in guards Tatum McKee and Kayla Lemke as well as forward Erin Lenhert and center Sam Garst.
Add in sophomores Kelly Beasley, Jasmine Bullock and Jasmine Cash and this should be a team that fights to be in the top three or four in a loaded conference.
Kayla Lemke: Top returning scorer for the Vikings will need to step up to make up for Lauren Lewis’ loss.