There are any number of solid returning players due back in L-L League girls basketball circles this winter, including a strong junior class.
Here’s a look at some of the top returning 11th-graders, broken down by section …
A trio of Penn Manor players right out of the chute: Shooting sensation Morgan Miller (12.2 points per game, 37 3-pointers last season), Lily Sugra (9.8) and Sydney Shepos (6.4, 6 3’s) are determined to help get the Comets back in the playoffs. … Two Hempfield juniors to keep an eye on: Low-post threat and stick-back machine Orianna Edmond (3.5) had a breakout 18-point game against Wilson in the D3-6A playoffs, and she’ll team with soph low-post threat Lauren Moffatt to give the Black Knights a nice 1-2 punch in the paint. And Kira Mattes (1.3, 4 3’s) can shoot it from deep and she’ll be a perimeter threat for Hempfield, which will be out to defend its section banner. … A pair of Manheim Township junior front-court vets to watch: Gianna Smith (9.1) is a lane protector and glass-crasher who can score on the low blocks and in transition, and Missy Welch (2.6) is nimble in the paint, she can score at the rim, and rebound. … Speaking of scoring at the glass, Cedar Crest’s Sarah Batra (6.1) is a matchup nightmare because of her height, and she can also step back and drill a jumper in your mug.
In one of the most memorable individual performances last season, Ephrata’s Brynn Adams came off the bench to drill six 3-pointers and pop in a career-high 22 points in the Mountaineers’ setback against Lancaster Country Day in the L-L League quarterfinals. A catch-and-shooter with great range, we’re expecting Adams (3.7, 16 3’s) to log more minutes — and see her numbers go up — this winter, as Ephrata tries to defend its section championship. … Two Elizabethtown backcourt standouts to watch: Ainsley Raybold (8.9, 43 3’s) grabbed the starting point-guard gig in her freshman season, and she continues to get better and better at handling, directing traffic, running the floor and making shots. And Jade Love-Morris (7.2, 6 3’s) is — pound-for-pound — one of the top defensive players in the league. She also kicked her offensive game up a notch last season. … A pair of Conestoga Valley 11th-grade mainstays to mention: Taylor Hehnly (7.1, 8 3’s) and Laela Robinson (5.5, 13 3’s) are both steady from the wing and are reliable, go-to scorers for the Buckskins. Hehnly is back from a knee injury she suffered in her freshman year, and Robinson also missed some time last season. When healthy, Hehnly and Robinson are a solid 1-2 scoring punch for CV. … Lebanon has a trio of vet juniors in Maddie Bishop (5.5, 5 3’s), Olivia Uffner (5.2, 14 3’s) and Dorthie Zechman (5.2, 4 3’s), who have all logged a lot of varsity minutes for the Cedars.
Two Garden Spot 11th-graders to watch: Erin Gonzalez (7.4, 20 3’s) is a defensive wiz, she runs the point and she can make shots, and Taylor Soehner (7.5) is steady on the wing and she can crash. … Manheim Central’s Rachel Nolt (7.3, 28 3’s) is a sniper, with great range and catch-and-shoot ability. … A pair of Lampeter-Strasburg juniors that should be on your radar: Maggie Visniski (3.7) learned on the fly last winter, getting valuable minutes in the paint. And Jenna Daveler (2.4, 4 3’s) got more run as the season progressed, and she’s poised for a breakout 11th-grade season in the Pioneers’ backcourt.
Two key junior Elco contributors: Kailey Eckhart (11.3, 9 3’s) earned a starting spot last winter, and she delivered from the wing time and time again with a strong dribble-drive game. And jack-of-all-trades Emma Fox (2.9) won’t wow you in the scoring department, but she does a ton of dirty work for the Raiders. … This Donegal duo: Victoria Burton (5.6) made her presence felt in the paint last season, and Rylee Smith (2.7) should help out more in the scoring column this time around for the Indians. … For a kid who hasn’t played a single game in her junior season yet, Ashlyn Messinger has already had quite the career for Northern Lebanon. She’s overcome some major knee injuries to carve out a spot in NL’s rotation. Messinger (4.6, 12 3’s) is one of those Swiss army knife kids, who does a little bit of everything — including making jumpers. … This Lancaster Catholic tandem: Naomi Zulueta (8.9) is the ultimate energy kid; she can run for days, from end-line to end-line, and then beat you at the glass with any number of spin moves. And defensive jitterbug Jeriyah Johnson (2.2) thrives in the open court and she’ll pick your pocket in the Crusaders’ unrelenting pressure schemes.
Octorara is a newcomer to this section, and the Braves can build around 11th-grader Ja'syah Jones (7.0, 10 3’s), who is a sleek wing player. … Three Columbia juniors who have already logged a lot of varsity court time for the Crimson Tide: MacKenzie Burke (10.7, 33 3’s) can run the point and shoot it from deep; Morgan Bigler (7.4) is dangerous in the lane; and Daizha Tucker (3.2, 5 3’s) is a go-to wing player. … Two juniors to keep an eye on for Lancaster Mennonite: Tiana Delgado (3.0, 8 3’s) runs the point and she’s a scrappy defender, and Rebecca Lane (4.6) announced her paint game with authority last winter. … Graduation was not kind to reigning L-L League runner-up Pequea Valley, but junior glass-protector Rebecca Cox (5.6) returns to lead the Braves’ front-court brigade. She’s a box-out artist who can gobble up stick-backs and block shots. … And Annville-Cleona 11th-grader Erin Schrader (2.3, 5 3’s) is a key cog in the Little Dutchmen’s rotation.