A major shift happened in area girls basketball last season.
Two-time Class B sectional champ Glens Falls slipped back in the Foothills Council pack. North Warren, the 2017 Class D titlist, fell to .500. And Cambridge, an average Wasaren League team for years, morphed into a juggernaut that went 25-2 and reached the Class C state final four.
Look for more shifting to occur this season. Queensbury has everyone back, so expect the Spartans to challenge southern powers Amsterdam, Gloversville and Scotia in the Foothills.
Argyle, last year’s Class D sectional champ, lost five key players — including four starters — and will be young. Adirondack League foes Hartford, Fort Edward and Fort Ann are all poised to move up. Also, keep an eye on Warrensburg when the league championship arrives in February, as the Burghers take aim at Lake George and the rest.
Cambridge and Lake George return loaded teams and standout players. The Indians feature the Phillips twins, Sophie and Lilly, who are still only sophomores but rank among the area’s best. Lake George returns Georgetown-bound Graceann Bennett, a 6-foot-2 senior who recovered from offseason knee surgery in time to play for the Warriors this season.
Glens Falls: The Indians struggled to score consistently last season, leading to their 9-13 overall mark. Coach Mark Girard must replace his top two rebounders, but Glens Falls returns several key players, including point guard Sovereign Strickland, 3-point shooter Lexi Cutter, and hustling guard Mattie Benway. Seniors Felicity Williams and Anna Bayle should be among the team’s scoring leaders.
Hudson Falls: The Tigers look to rebound from a 9-13 season last year despite the loss of a few key players to graduation. Coach Brianna Dingmon has a “semi-young squad” led by point guard Brinley Inglee and guard Madison Phillips. Hudson Falls will rely on its offense while it continues to improve this season.
Queensbury: The Spartans put an all-sophomore starting five on the floor last year, and they went 15-7 overall. Those youngsters return with even more experience, as coach Megan Bethel has nine juniors and a senior to choose from. Hope Sullivan and Hailey Ballard return as Queensbury’s leading scorers and rebounders, and should be among the top players in the league. Meghan O’Connor, Abby Doin, and Kaileigh and Fiona Hunt also return.
Schuylerville: The Black Horses lost seven seniors to graduation, including scoring leader Emily Vallee. Coach Jason Mehan only has three returning players — center Makylee Haviland, forward Maggie McShane and guard Hunter Phillips — and one senior in the program, so Schuylerville will be rebuilding as the next group of players establish themselves as key contributors.
South Glens Falls: First-year head coach Bill Hart has four returning players, representing about 25 percent of the Bulldogs’ scoring from last season. Senior Emma Bovair is back as a third-year varsity starter, joined by junior forward Zoe Lanfear and sophomore sharpshooter Hannah Breen. Multi-skilled eighth-grader Sydney Hart will be the point guard.
Corinth: The Tomahawks lost only one player to graduation, so they return a roster full of experienced players, almost entirely juniors. Miranda Dockum and Anika Parnell are the co-captains, but Corinth is balanced across the board, and coach Dave Montero expects everyone to contribute.
Granville: The Golden Horde return no starters, but they have three players from each grade level, ninth through 12th. They are led by third-year varsity player Andrea Haynes at center, veterans Brynna Perry at point guard and Jordan Myer at forward, and sophomore newcomers Lexyss Zovistoski and Haley Corlew.
Hadley-Luzerne: The Eagles struggled last season and will be very young again this season, but versatile senior Kassidy Plummer returns with classmate Autumn Moffitt to lead the team. Seventh-grade forward/guard Madison Lent is a starter this season, joined by Plummer, Moffitt and sophomores Elaina Diamond and Serena Goman.
Lake George: With Bennett returning, the Warriors should be a challenger in the Adirondack League and in Class C. Lake George returns most of its players from an 18-4 last season, including forwards Nikki Hladik and Mikayla Duffy, guards Alysia Kane and Jade Baker, and others who will contribute. Coach Rob Tefft hopes they will be efficient on offense, get out in transition and play fundamentally sound defense as they build on a strong season.
Fort Ann: The Cardinals swap divisions with Argyle this season, but coach Logan Watson returns an athletic team with several veterans from a team that went 15-8 and reached the Class D sectional semifinals. Guards Amanda Godfrey and Sarah Paige return as the top scorers, with Paige running the point. Kayla Bailey and Allison Keith are also returning veterans who hope to translate Fort Ann’s soccer success into a basketball title.
Salem: The Generals feature a solid nucleus of juniors — 6-2 center Mackenzie Spencer, third-year starting point guard Mikayah Rushinski and forward Brianna Boyark — who hope to keep Salem competitive this season. Hannah Potvin is the Generals’ lone senior, and always-hustling sophomore Blake Riche rounds out the starting unit.
Warrensburg: The Burghers lost only one player from a team that finished 16-6 last season, so coach Scott Smith returns a strong veteran core led by leading scorer Megan Hughes and third-year point guard Hope Boland. Other key returnees include sophomore Sara Langworthy, a strong shooter and defender, and twins Abigail and Aubrey Ranous, who add quickness and rebounding.
Whitehall: First-year coach Boyd Hunt takes over the Railroaders, who lost only forward Hannah Bascue to graduation. Zoe Eggleston returns to the point, Jess Moore is a tough rebounder and inside threat, and Kyrie Smith and Hailey Taylor are good scorers on a team that was very balanced last year. Defense will be Whitehall’s strength this season.
Argyle: The Scots lost 75 percent of their scoring and 80 percent of their rebounding to graduation. Coach Terry Chamberlain’s new group includes three sophomores and three freshmen, but they should be fundamentally sound and hard-nosed defensively. Argyle is led by third-year varsity players Erica Liddle on the point and Hailee Liddle and Carly Kennedy as all-around players. Six-foot post player Shelby Caprood and ballhandler Liz Russ have great potential.
Fort Edward: The Flying Forts will be a dangerous team every night because of the way they play defense — just like every Fort Edward team has under coach Jason Thomas. The Thomas sisters, senior Mady and sophomore Gaby, return as the team’s leading scorers, but the Forts have much more returning — Caitlin Mahoney, Morgan Fish, Molly Doty and Haleigh Condon are all back after contributing important minutes.
Hartford: First-year coach Jason Johnson takes over a Tanagers squad that finished 14-9 overall and reached the Class D sectional final. Hartford returns a solid team that includes a pair of 6-footers in Karlee Nims and Abby Monroe inside. Senior Cami Rogers and freshman Gabrielle McFarren will split the point guard duties, and Hannah Monroe is a dangerous backdoor cutter. They have already beaten Lake George.
North Warren: The Cougars have a solid nucleus with returning guards Sydney Gagnon and Lauren Monroe and forward Jackie Urtz. Coach P.J. Hogan said the team will look to improve, slow the pace and use their zone to keep teams on the perimeter. Urtz and Monroe are both tough rebounders and defenders, while Gagnon is a fourth-year varsity player.
Cambridge: The Indians have a new coach this season in former JV coach Bob Phillips, who takes over from Tony Bochette. Phillips is the father of standout twin guards Sophie and Lilly Phillips. As freshmen last year they, along with classmate Fiona Mooney, were huge factors in their success. The Indians must fill gaps created by the graduation of five experienced, athletic seniors. Cambridge will be able to play high-pressure defense and score, but must mature quickly to continue its success.
Greenwich: The Witches are young overall, but they went 13-8 last season and lost only two starters to graduation. Coach Jason Slater can build around standout guard Molly Brophy, already a fourth-year starter as a sophomore. Seniors Emma Brophy, a third-year varsity player, and Kylee Masse, a strong post player, provide leadership on a team that should be very competitive this season.
Saratoga Catholic: The Saints have a new coach in former Adirondack Community College coach Ty Stacey, who takes over a young team that went 4-17 last season. Top scorer Ani Crocker graduated, but Spa Catholic returns co-captains Anne McKenna and Grace O’Reilly. The Saints will start two freshmen, Ashley Upson and Katie Cronin, and sophomore Molly O’Reilly.
Bolton: The Eagles rolled to a 19-3 overall record and the MVAC South division title last season, but also lost all-time scoring leader Maddie Pratt to graduation. Bolton will rely on defense and the play of its guards, and will need its young core to contribute to be competitive this season. Kate Van Auken, a first-team MVAC all-star, will anchor the offense, while Maria Baker returns to run the team at the point.
Indian Lake-Long Lake: The Orange have the depth and ability to be competitive this season. IL-LL lost half of its scoring to graduation, but return junior center Alex Campbell, who could average a double-double this season, and senior guard Ashley Ghostlaw, a gritty defender and 3-point shooter. They are joined by versatile Karmen Howe and Lauren Johnson, who can play good defense and create open looks for her teammates.
Johnsburg: The Jaguars lost an average of 21 points per game when the fast-break pair of Taylor Dwyer and Megan Bacon graduated. Leading scorer Khaleah Cleveland returns as Johnsburg’s only senior, joined by junior Sydney Selleck, who will be asked to take up some of the scoring slack. Freshman Cassie Dunbar moves up to varsity with a well-rounded game and will also be looked to for scoring.
Ticonderoga: The Sentinels will be a less-experienced team this season after graduating a good chunk of their scoring, but coach Rick Smith returns some veterans. Saidi St. Andrews is Ticonderoga’s floor leader, while Aubrey Smith is an outside threat and Emily Purkey is a playmaker.