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Girls basketball preview

Stories to watch

Will Wiregrass Ranch rebound? The Bulls are under new leadership after a recruiting scandal forced out former coach Greg Finkel. New coach John Gant will look to Kelly McCaffrey (already more than 1,000 career points) and Logan Seoane to help Wiregrass recover in Class 7A.

What's next at Academy at the Lakes? Coach Karim Nohra turned the program around in one of the most impressive overhauls in area history. The Wildcats went from winless the season before to a district title and trip to the region final. All but one player returns, and Andrea Mauger and Academy will be out to prove they weren't a one-year fluke.

Can Land O'Lakes avoid a fall? The Gators lose North Suncoast player of the year Shanel Sweet from a team that claimed its first district title since 2004. And they're under new direction with former University of Tampa assistant Phyllis Crain at the helm. Repeating a 24-3 season with leadership will be a tough challenge for Land O'Lakes.

Teams to watch

Gulf: Star scorer Nicole Adams graduated. Another key player, Leighlani Paselio, moved to Hawaii. Do the Buccaneers have enough weapons left to secure another 26-win season?

Zephyrhills: The Bulldogs struggled to a 2-20 record last season. They'll have a young core, but key seniors such as Maya Clark could lead a turnaround this winter.

Central: The Bears were blasted in the region quarterfinal and are now without five seniors, including star center Raqurra Ishmar. That means Central's quest for its first ever district title will be even tougher.

Players to watch

Allahon Marbra, Pasco: The 5-foot-6 sophomore guard is already off to a quick start. She exploded for 28 points in the season opener against Wesley Chapel.

Natasha Morris, Ridgewood: The senior guard was an honorable mention all-North Suncoast pick last season. She's off to a good beginning to this season, too, after pouring in 25 points in the Rams' opener.

Simone Brown, Land O'Lakes: The junior wing was an all-North Suncoast selection last winter. She averaged a double double (13.5 pounds, 12.3 rebounds) and will be even more important this season for a reloading Gators team.

Girls basketball preview 11/13/11 [Last modified: Sunday, November 13, 2011 6:55pm]
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