Note: the Observer is revealing teams in its preseason Sweet 16 poll, but not the order. The order will be revealed in Saturday’s print editions
SOUTH MECKLENBURG SABRES
Head Coach: Cristie Mitchell (6th Year as South Mecklenburg girls’ basketball coach)
2015-16 Record: 18-9 (10-4 in the SoMeck8 conference)
Returning Starters: A’Lea Gilbert, Jr., F (6-0); Katie Allison, Sr., G (5-5); Jordan Griffin, Sr., F (5-7).
Key Newcomers: Naomi Gilbert, Jr., PG (5-7); Jadin Gladden, Jr., G (5-9); Serina McDuffie, Jr., G (5-5) (East Meck transfer); Shariah Gaddy, So., G/F (5-9) (Porter Ridge transfer).
Outlook: The Sabres are eager to see cousins, A’Lea (17 ppg, 10 rpg) and Naomi Gilbert (Terry Sanford High transfer) lead an experienced team that won 18 games a year ago. South Mecklenburg should also get help from transfers Shariah Gaddy (Porter Ridge) and Serina McDuffie (East Mecklenburg)/ After an early first round exit in the playoffs last season, Coach Cristie Mitchell and company have plenty of motivation to prove they can contend for a SoMeck8 conference title and make a deep playoff run.