There is lots of returning talent to the Poway High and Del Norte girls basketball teams.
Arguably the top point guard in the county, Mandy Castro, will lead the Titans, while returning leading scorer Lexi Reddick leads the way for the Nighthawks.
Poway's string of three straight Palomar League titles was snapped last season by Mt. Carmel.
But the Titans are loaded again and should be in the mix with usual suspects Torrey Pines, Mt. Carmel and Westview.
“Unfortunately, there will be a good team that comes in fourth place in our league,” Poway coach Jay Trousdale said. “Our goal is to compete for a league title and a Division I championship.”
Rancho Bernardo is still trying to get its program back on track, while the door is open for Del Norte to win its first league title in the Valley League.
Maranatha Christian is coming off a 17-win season, but lost three of its starters and could have a challenging first year in the Pacific League.
Here is a closer look at the local teams:
Jay Trousdale, 26th year
22-8, eliminated in semifinals of Division I playoffs.
F, Sam Jones, Sr.; PG, Mandy Castro, Sr.; F/G, Brooke Hulett, Jr.; G, Bri Molnar, Sr.; F, Park Masterson, Sr.
The Titans came up one win short of reaching the Division I finals last season, but return seven players and have the talent to make another run at the crown this year.
Poway will be led by Castro, arguably the top point guard in the county. Castro has great vision, can distribute the ball and shoot with the best of them. She will often be feeding the ball to
forward Masterson and wing player Hulett. But as usual, the Titans’ strong play will start on the defensive end of the floor.
“We are always going to do what Poway teams do — play defense first,” Trousdale said. “We will play multiple defenses well and then we are going to fast break when it is there and share the ball offensively.”
Poway has five returning seniors, two juniors and four sophomores. It could take some time for the young players to find their groove at the varsity level, but Trousdale hopes the team will be firing on all cylinders by the time Palomar League play rolls around in January.
Kai Harris, 2nd year
2-22, did not make playoffs.
G, Kathy Rudkin, Jr.; G/F, Cara Reynolds, Sr.; Cassy Cunningham, Jr.; G, Haley Alexander, Jr.
The Broncos struggled through last year, but are hoping to turn the program in the right direction.
The record might not be stellar again this season, but being competitive in most games will be the goal.
The team is hoping to turn a corner in Palomar League play, too, as last season it went 0-10.
Finding scorers could be tough after the loss of Aliyah Potts to graduation. Returners Cunningham and Rudkin figure to do most of the scoring.