The landscape of private and charter school basketball has changed dramatically in the last decade in the Lake Norman area.
This year, most of the girls' basketball teams in the area are trying to establish themselves as solid teams in their respective conferences.
From Davidson to Huntersville to Lincoln County, here is an inside team-by-team look at what to expect.
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Coach: Jack Warren.
2009-2010 record: 7-20.
Coach Jack Warren took over the Cougars girls’ basketball team last year knowing he was fighting an uphill battle. But Warren hopes to make steps in the right direction.
Seniors Julie Harriss and Olivia Osborne will lead the young team that is looking to gain confidence in themselves this year. Juniors McKenzie Moyer and Madison Miller and transfers point guard Emma Virtanen (Finland) and Chantal Neuwald (Germany) should also help a Cougar lineup that struggled to score last year.
Julie Harriss: Senior guard will be key for the Cougars.
Coach: Jessica Mitchell.
2009-2010 record: 2-17.
Former Davidson basketball star Jessica Mitchell ushers in a new era of Davidson Day girls’ basketball as the Patriots look to compete in a brutal Southern Piedmont Conference.
The Patriots will look to seventh-grader Alexas Bradford. Bradford will look to get the ball inside a lot to athletic junior forwards Kay Funderburk and Jasmine Hamilton.
Alexas Bradford: Only a seventh-grader, the point guard has impressed in workouts.
Lake Norman Charter
Coach: Bobby Williams.
2009-2010 record: 19-4
The Knights enjoyed their best season ever in year three of the program last season. This year, coach Bobby Williams and company hope to build on that success, win the PAC 8 conference and make some noise in the playoffs.
Their run-and-gun style revolves around 5-foot-4 speeding bullet Jamie Williams, who averaged 20 points, seven assists, seven steals and five rebounds per game last season. Williams will have more help this year as four of five starters are back including backcourt-mate Maria Hoidas and forwards Carolyn Huddy and Katie Fabian.
Jamie Williams: Coach’s daughter looks to lead the young team in scoring again.
Coach: Daniel Schmitz.
2009-2010 record: 13-7.
The Eagles return a veteran team that includes four of last year’s starters..
Sophomore point guard Mary Canipe, the team’s leading scorer last season, will head the attack and look for Alex Guiraud, who averaged 9.6 points and 4.4 rebounds last season. Lincoln Charter also has two experienced interior options with junior Jennifer Allison and senior Taylor Wingate.
Mary Canipe: Guard averaged 15 points per game as a freshman.
Pine Lake Prep
Coach: Jeff Burr.
2009-2010 record: 1-14.
Pine Lake Prep coach Jeff Burr knew his team would struggle last year in their inaugural season as a program.
But in year two, Burr hopes his team will be much improved with senior Sabrina McManus leading the team from her post position. McManus will need help from junior guard Nikki Daily and two promising freshman guards: Madi Coffing and Kelsey Cotton.
Sabrina McManus: Captain looks to make Pine Lake competitive in its second season.
Coach: Terry Batts.
2009-2010 record: 10-11.
The Eagles could be one of the most improved teams in the state and should battle First Assembly for the Metrolina Athletic Conference title this season.
Junior Brianne Mack, who is 6-foot-4, will be their centerpiece, but she will have help from three-year starters – Tera Batts, Jennifer Cernuto and Sarah Lipinski – surrounding her at the guard spots.
Brianne Mack: Highly recruited center averaged a double-double last year.