They are the backbone of your team: The senior class. The wily veterans. The 12th-grade players who know their way around the court, and how to be team leaders.
There are plenty of top-flight seniors due back in L-L League girls basketball circles this season. Can we name all of them? Sorry, no. But it’s a really good group, which includes go-to scorers, lockdown defenders and jack-of-all-trades players aplenty.
Here’s a look at some of the top returning seniors, listed section by section …
A three-pack of seniors at Cedar Crest: Sharpshooter and wing scorer du jour Reese Glover (13.4 points per game, 36 3-pointers last season) and the backcourt duo of Sarah Laney (8.5, 23 3’s) and Meghan Sholley (6.5, 17 3’s) will make the Falcons tick. … If we named a preseason Glue Kid of the Year, Hempfield’s Jess Weinoldt (4.5) would be on the very short list to nab that award. She’s a fierce defender and completely unselfish player who will do whatever it takes to help the Black Knights win — and win they did last winter, going 13-0 in league play for the section crown. Weinoldt will play soccer for McDaniel in college.
It seems like these three players from Elizabethtown have been around forever: Elise Hassinger (6.4) is shifty in the lane; Macy Seaman (7.6) is a matchup nightmare at the rim thanks to her 6-foot-1 frame; and Carly Sedun (6.0) is another one of those glue kids who always does whatever is asked in the Bears’ attack. FYI: Seaman has committed to Kean University. … A trio of Warwick seniors to watch: Top gun Lauren Pyle (14.0, 47 3’s) is a sniper and a wiz in the open court; Elise Balmer (3.8, 8 3’s) can beat you off the bounce; and Jess Williamson (5.9, 24 3’s) is yet another one of those glue kids who can run the offense, shoot the J and defend like crazy. FYI: Pyle will play soccer for St. Francis University. … There’s a chance that only one L-L League player will join the 1,000-point club this season, and that’s Lebanon senior combo guard Giahny Correa. A deft dribble-driver, slasher and shooter, Correa (17.1, 21 3’s) opens her 12th-grade season with 853 career points — 147 shy of a grand.
Hannah Custer (11.9, 8 3’s) has been around seemingly forever; she earned Cocalico’s starting point-guard duties in her freshman season, and she’s been super steady at that spot. Custer, who has missed some time because of injuries over the years, enters her 12th-grade season with 619 career points, and she’s headed to Richmond to play lacrosse for the Spiders. Custer also wears jersey No. 0, which is pretty cool in our book. Custer’s classmate, from-way-downtown shooter Izzy Mack (8.0, 33 3’s), firmly established herself as one of the league’s most dangerous perimeter threats last winter, and she’ll be back to do more arc damage for the Eagles. … We can’t get enough of those glue kids, and here’s another one: Garden Spot’s Caroline Martin (3.3) won’t wow you in the scoring department. But she’ll defend and crash the boards like mad for the Spartans. … Two Solanco seniors to watch: Paint protector and dribble-drive artist Jade Eshelman (8.3, 3 3’s) is an incredibly tough matchup on the blocks, and sniper Paige Phillips (7.5, 23 3’s) returns to spearhead the Golden Mules’ perimeter attack, as Solanco goes for three section championships in a row. … Speaking of arc weapons, Lampeter-Strasburg senior shooter Emma Drouillard (13.9, 19 3’s) had a pair of 30-point games last season, and she should draw plenty of defensive attention on the perimeter. Drouillard is a Lancaster Bible College commit.
This will be the oddest of the section races this winter, with just four teams on board after Octorara was shifted down to Section 5 for 2020-21. And hey, that’s OK. … Two wily senior vets at Northern Lebanon: Tough-as-nails floor general Emily Hauck (2.6) is another one of those glue kids and in-your-face defenders, and jack-of-all-trades Rachel Papson (3.1) has been a mainstay in the Vikings’ system. … Multiple seniors to keep an eye on at Elco: Ace Amanda Smith (14.1, 7 3's) is a wing scorer du jour; jackrabbit backcourt standout Katelyn Rueppel (5.0, 11 3's) directs traffic and is a crackerjack defender; Ashley Yoh (8.8) has become a legit, go-to scoring threat; and this bit of good news for the Raiders: Cassie Johnson, who missed her entire junior year with a knee injury, is due back for her senior season, and she'll provide plenty of leadership and glue-kid-like abilities. ... Lancaster Catholic will be angling for its fourth L-L League championship in a row, and we’ll have our eyes on senior Sophia Wentz (2.5) to be a low-post threat and big-sister leader for the Crusaders. … And this Donegal duo: Maddie Gohn (6.5) can score off the bounce and defend, and shooter Catie Weber (4.5, 14 3’s) can beat you from the arc.
Still haven’t fully wrapped my head around the fact that Northern Lebanon and Lancaster Catholic were supposed to square off in the PIAA Class 4A state quarterfinals last March. And then, well, you know.
She is a Division I recruit. She is the only current player in the L-L League with 1,000-plus career points. She is a crafty lefty with all the tools: She can score in transition and at the rim, and drill 3-pointers from anywhere around the arc. She can defend, pick your pocket and get out and run in transition. In short, she’s got game — a lot of it. She is Lancaster Mennonite senior Mariah Wilson, and she’s back for her final go-round in the L-L League. Wilson (26.0, 36 3’s) led the league in scoring last winter, and she enters her 12th-grade season with 1,358 career points. Do not miss the Towson University commit in your travels this winter. … A pair of senior key cogs in Annville-Cleona’s attack: Brittney Nye (7.2) and Alyssa Ulrich (8.0) are go-to scorers for the Little Dutchmen.