The girls' high school basketball season has already tipped off and several teams have reason to be optimistic about 2013.
Gloversville High School's varsity program is returning this season after being inactive for the previous two years.
"We are rebuilding the program," said eighth-year head coach Robyn Guzielek.
Johnstown’s Megan Anagnostopulos (12) dribbles the ball upcourt against a Scotia-Glenville player during Foothills Council action. (The Leader-Herald)
Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville’s Merari Freeman (24) sets a pick against Canajoharie’s Dainara Veeder (3) for Kirsten Raux (12) during the Canajoharie Tip-Off Tournament. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
The Lady Dragons will look to do so with a large contingent of newcomers: Emily Gifford, Natasha Simon, Stacia Griesemer, Natalie Kucel, Whytne Stover, Emma Botch, Angela DiMarco, Emily Washburn, Emily Ross and Tecey Jiminez.
The Fort Plain Lady Hilltoppers had a perfect record in league play a year ago and finished 16-3 overall. Abby Boyer and Haley Kilmartin, who both averaged at least 13 points, return from that team.
Four newcomers join the roster, including Cheyenne Munson, Soren Shirley, Caitlyn Porter and Gabby Bridgewater.
Fort Plain is short on numbers this season, with only eight players at all three levels of competition.
"Despite the lack of numbers, we will continue to play hard and continue to improve every day," said head coach Phil Karker. "Based on our past success, this challenge is nothing new to the Lady Hilltoppers basketball program."
The Lady Bills of Johnstown finished third in the Foothills Conference last season and played to an 11-9 overall record. They will play this season without Courtney Cirillo, who scored 228 points for Johnstown last season.
Hope Cerasuolo returns this year along with Annie Stock, Brianne O'Rourke, and Megan Anagnostpulos.
"The returning players are hardworking and athletic," said head coach Tim Derwin. "We should be competitive every night in the Foothills."
The Lady Bills have also added four new players.
After one of their best seasons in a decade, the Mayfield Lady Panthers will look for continued success this season.
"We are very excited about this upcoming season," said head coach Brian Moore. "The Mayfield girl's basketball program is looking to take another step forward this season."
They will be without Nicole Little who averaged 8.7 points and five rebounds, and Jen Little who averaged 5.1 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Alex Sheldon highlights a returning class of four.
"They are up for the challenge the WAC season will bring," Moore said.
Canajoharie went 11-9 last season under first-year coach Joe Fowler. Fowler and the Lady Cougars will be without three girls from last season in Kayla Bowerman, Katherine Rockwell, and Kara Schwab.
A solid group of eight girls returns this season, along with three newcomers.
Tom Nethaway is filling in as the head coach of the Fonda-Fultonville Lady Braves while Wendi Waters takes a break due to her pregnancy. The Lady Braves have a high-powered offense led by returners Emily Parslow, Monica Derby, Cassandra Egelston, and Jeananna Warner.
"With Emily Parslow we have the scorer that we look forward to returning," said Nethaway.
Miranda Nethaway, Samantha Auriemma, Hailey Beddig, Julianna Taylor figure to play big minutes in their first seasons at the varsity level. Taylor is the only freshman on the roster.
"We have been practicing very hard and I think we are going to surprise a lot of teams," Nethaway said.
Amsterdam will look to build on a 7-11 season in 2012 without point guard Ashlee McDonald and Cristiana Johnson. McDonald dished out 84 assists and Johnson averaged 8.3 points. Monica Rouse and Caitlin Gannon return and will be joined by four newcomers.
The Lady Rams plan to play an up-tempo style of offense in order to take advantage of a young, athletic group of girls.
The Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots finished just 2-10 in league play a year go, but went a perfect 6-0 in non-conference matchups.
The Lady Patriots are welcoming five new girls including sophomores Zoe Simonson and Erica Kordjyak as they lost three seniors to graduation. Senior guard Katie Herba may miss the entire season with an injury.
"BP is looking to take this young bunch of girls who are very dedicated and eager to play the game of basketball and develop them into fundamentally sound players," said head coach Michael Magliocca.
Nicole Trauer, Briana Westfall, Crista Decker, and Savannah Vedder are returners for Broadalbin-Perth.
Shane Morrill hopes to build on a 9-9 season from a year ago in his second season at the helm of the Dolgeville girl's basketball team.
They will be without two girls who averaged 10 rebounds last season in Tereza Van Olst and Marissa Chavez. Lyndsey Stoechner, Mary Reardon, and Crystal Barton also graduated.
"We graduated five starters so we will look to reload with younger players who will be expected to step in, play, and contribute," said Morrill.
Jackie Bange, who averaged four points last season, returns along with Jackie Fake, Matina Mouyas, and Amanda Carpenter.
Allison Gonyo is set to embark upon her first season as head coach of the Wells Lady Indians basketball team.
They are welcoming five new girls to join returning players Kaeli Brenan, Breanna Mayer, and Chelsea Simons. Samantha Zemken, a junior, will miss the entire season with a torn ACL.
"I have five new players that we will be working hard to get used to the pace of the game at the varsity level," said Gonyo. "I will be looking for this team to be competitive and build their skills at the team and individual levels."
The Northville Lady Falcons are returning first team WAC North player Lyndsey Wadsworth along with five others after finishing 6-11 overall last season.
"With the leadership of Lyndsey Wadsworth and Mary Ryan, plus a good mixture of young talent, I am looking forward to a very promising year," said head coach David Bush.
Northville is losing three seniors but will add newcomers Jesse VanNostrand, Taylor Fancher, Mallory Hook, and Elizabeth Pinkerton.