They are rivals in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League.
They are both already members of the 1,000-point club, with one more season to go in their high school careers.
They are both jitterbug guards, with boundless energy, defensive skills and razor-sharp open-court games, and they can both beat you from the perimeter with great range and shooting accuracy.
They both earned scholarships to play hoops for PSAC colleges.
They’re even AAU teammates.
They are Donegal’s Kiera Baughman and Northern Lebanon’s Zara Zerman, and they are the top two active career scoring leaders due back in L-L League girls’ basketball for the 2019-20 season, which tips off Friday.
Baughman, an Indiana (Pa.) University recruit, enters her senior campaign with 1,256 points, just 170 shy of becoming Donegal’s all-time scoring leader. Zerman, a Kutztown University commit, opens her senior year with 1,042 points, 439 shy of becoming Northern Lebanon’s all-time scoring leader.
Baughman is a lead guard who can penetrate and dish and distribute in transition, and break your ankles with an array of spin moves on her way to the hoop. Ditto for Zerman, who is a terrific pick-and-pop wing shooter and slasher. They’re also both excellent free-throw shooters, who both wear out paths to the foul line because of their dribble-drive, body-control capabilities.
Baughman and Zerman prepped for their senior seasons together, as teammates with the Spooky Nook Lady Raiders AAU team.
“It was nice having her as a teammate,” Zerman said. “She made it fun. She was always a blast to be around, and she always made practice fun, and got everyone involved. She was a really good teammate.”
Baughman and Zerman will go from AAU teammates to foes when the Indians and Vikings square off in Section Four games later this season. Logging all of that practice time and traveling all around playing for the same offseason squad only made the tandem better, thanks to their similar skill sets.
“It was a pleasure playing with her and being able to be on the same team,” Baughman said. “We always worked hard in practice, and having that kind of competition with her made us both better, which is a good thing.”
Baughman received a scholarship offer very early in the recruiting process from Division I Iona, and she also considered St. Joe’s. But she fell in love in IUP.
“Once I was in contact with the coaches, and once I visited the campus, I was all-in,” Baughman said. “I felt the connection right away. It just felt right.”
“It’s going to be a challenge in the beginning,” Baughman continued, “and it’s always that way with every level when you move up. But playing with the players on that team will make be better.”
Zerman will get to play her first year of college basketball with her older sister, Northern Lebanon 1,000-point scorer Zoe Zerman, who is a junior at Kutztown. Zara also considered Shippensburg, but ultimately chose the Golden Bears.
“My options were open to anything, and me and my sister have a great relationship, so it wasn’t like I wanted to get away from her and do my own thing,” Zerman said. “I’m excited to get to play with Zoe again for another year.”
“I think it’s going to be a challenge, sure, but I love challenges,” Zerman said. “And I love playing against better players because that will only improve my game.”
Baughman and Zerman both have plenty of game, and they’ll be two players to watch as the 2019-20 season commences.