The consensus is the race for the Suffolk Class AA championship will come down to North Babylon and Sachem East. UConn-bound Bria Hartley leads the way for North Babylon, while Kristen Doherty, who will play at Boston College, will attempt to end her career with her first county championship.
Stony Brook, which lost in the Class C state semifinals last season, is the top team in Class C.
North Babylon is going for its third county championship in four seasons. Hartley and senior Katrina Plummer are the returning starters. The Bulldogs have eight players on the roster that are freshmen or younger, including two eighth graders that started in the opener.
Sachem East won 22 consecutive games before losing in the county final for the second consecutive season. Kristen Doherty, sophomore Meagan Doherty, senior Caitlin Hopkins and junior Kelsey Ferguson are returning starters.
Northport graduated key players, but always has talent and depth. Senior point guard Grace Schilling gets her chance to shine and 6-3 junior Stephanie Leon, who has received interest from Division I schools, has improved offensively.
Ward Melville should be one of the top teams. Senior point guard Georgia Holland handles pressure well and senior forward Kaitlyn Carballeira is a force in the paint. The Patriots are a very strong defensive unit and often turn turnovers into points in transition.
Smithtown West has two Division I players. Senior forward Shneeka Center, who will attend Davidson, is an explosive scorer and relentless rebounder. UMass-bound Sara English, a 6-5 center, will be a tough matchup for many teams. If the Bulls can get good guard play, they will be dangerous.
Whitman, one of the best defensive teams, could make a deep run with four starters back, including senior Meghan Foehl and junior Ally Leftridge.
Brentwood will be in the mix because of strong defense and physical play. Seniors Jasmine Burwell and Ruth Vargas are the linchpins.
Longwood could be a sleeper with most of the team returning, including seniors Kara Nenos and Siah Davis.
Riverhead returns all starters, including freshman Shanice Allen and sophomore Jalyn Brown.
If there is a favorite, it could be Kings Park, which returns all starters, including senior Jamie Romano and junior Marion Kawecki.
Harborfields has a very young team with junior Jana Amchin and freshman Bridget Ryan leading the way.
Huntington lost all five starters, but hopes defense and the tandem of junior Emma Hayes-Hurley and senior Meredith McCourt can help them contend.
Sophomore 6-1 center Allison McKenna will be the focal point for Glenn.
Comsewogue could be good if healthy. Junior Michelle Rubino is an excellent point guard, but junior Samantha Kane has been out with a broken left foot.
Wyandanch has won four of the last five county championships. As always, they will run and press and are led by seniors Kim Weathers and Jessica Little.
Center Moriches is off to a fast start and with the duo of junior Amber Davis and senior Jessica Bandrowski along with two other starters back, it could finally beat Wyandanch after losing to the Warriors three times last season.
Stony Brook returns senior Sadie Singer, junior Brannon Burke and added freshman Emily Carmel and should make another run at the state championship.