St. Frances is No. 1 in VSN’s Girls Basketball Preseason Top 20 poll


by Derek Toney
 
Seeking a fourth straight IAAM A Conference championship, St. Frances Academy is No. 1 in the VSN Girls’ Basketball preseason Top 20.
 
The East Chase Street school, which went wire-to-wire No. 1 in the VSN Top 20 poll last season, is No. 9 in USA Today’s Super 25 preseason poll. Led by junior wing Angel Reese, the Panthers have won 38 straight decisions against IAAM A competition.
 
Roland Park Country School, McDonogh School, Long Reach and Poly make up the rest of the Top 5. Howard, Pikesville, Institute of Notre Dame, John Carroll School and Western complete the Top 10.
 
Pictured above:  Seniors Savahn Hughes (front) and E’ma’ree Hinton is part of another talented St. Frances squad. The Panthers are No. 1 in the VSN Girls Basketball preseason Top 20.
 
 
Here is the entire 2018-19 VSN Girls’ Basketball Preseason Top 20:

VSN GIRLS BASKETBALL PRESEASON TOP 20 POLL

1.  ST. FRANCES ACADEMY

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #1

Final 2017-18 record: 24-4

Player to watch: Angel Reese, Jr., forward

In the paint: The Panthers, ranked No. 9 in USA Today’s Super 25 preseason poll, will be again the team to beat in the IAAM A Conference. Reese, a preseason USA Today All-American, moves into a leadership role for the east Baltimore school, which also returns Savawn Hughes, Aniya Gourdine and Madison Hinton.

 

2. ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #3

Final 2017-18 record: 21-7

Player to watch: Mir McLean, Jr., forward

In the paint: Dani Kell Steinbach, a longtime assistant under now-retired Scott Buckley and former Reds standout, has the reigns as McLean and Division I recruits Ja’Niah Henson (Morgan State) and Maria Ferariu (Drexel) look to claim elusive IAAM A crown. 

3. MCDONOGH SCHOOL EAGLES

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #2

Final 2017-18 record: 23-7

Player to watch: Aneah Nelson, Sr., guard

In the paint: Eagles will try for an eighth straight IAAM A finals berth and break St. Frances’ three-year title hold.

4. LONG REACH LIGHTNING 

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #5

Final 2017-18 record: 21-3

Player to watch: Lyric Swann, Sr, guard

In the paint: With UMBC-bound Swann headlining veteran starting cast, Lightning seek return trip to Class 3A state final,

5. POLY ENGINEERS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #7

Final 2017-18 record: 20-5

Player to watch: Dasia Townes, Jr., guard/forward

In the paint: Engineers have solid nucleus in place to reclaim Baltimore City title and capture elusive first state championship. 

6. HOWARD LIONS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #6

Final 2017-18 record: 22-2

Player to watch: Marisa Sanchez-Henry, Jr., guard

In the paint: Lions eyeing another Howard County title, and advancing out of tough 4A North Region.

7. PIKESVILLE PANTHERS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #14

Final 2017-18 record: 22-3

Player to watch: Charia Roberts, Jr., forward

In the paint: After breakout campaign last winter, the Panthers are primed for run at Baltimore County and 1A state titles.  

8. INSTITUTE OF NOTRE DAME PENGUINS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #10

Final 2017-18 record: 22-9

Player to watch: Eniya Russell, Jr., guard

In the paint: After winning IAAM B title last winter, Penguins look to make impact in IAAM A. 

9. JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL PATRIOTS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #8

Final 2017-18 record: 15-8

Player to watch: Jordan Wakefield, Sr., guard/forward

In the paint: The Patriots graduated standout Savannah Simmons (Kansas State) and coach Craig Simmons stepped down, but Bel Air school will contend in tough IAAM A. 

 

10. WESTERN DOVES

Final 2017-17 VSN Top 20 rank: #9

Final 2017-18 record: 18-5

Player to watch: Destiny Hawkins, Sr., guard/forward

In the paint: Despite hit hard by graduation, Doves have promising young cast determined to keep Baltimore City Division I crown.

 

11. ST. VINCENT PALLOTTI PANTHERS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

Final 2017-18 record: 12-14

Player to watch: Jania Hall, Jr., guard

In the paint: The Panthers look to make noise in IAAM A with sixth coach since 2012-13 season in Joe Mathews. 

 

12. CATONSVILLE COMETS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #4 

Final 2017-18 record: 14-15

Player to watch: Gabby Douglas, Sr., guard

In the paint: The Comets graduated VSN Co-Player of Year Jasmine Dickey (Delaware), but ready to reload, led by Douglass and junior post Larri Sydnor and junior guard Aysia Ferguson, a transfer from Indian Creek School.

13. ST. JOHN’S CATHOLIC PREP VIKINGS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #16

Final 2017-18 record: 18-7

Player to watch: Kayla Cooper, Jr., forward/center

In the paint: The Vikings, IAAM B champs in 2016-17 and 2015-16, ready for test in IAAM A.

14. MOUNT DE SALES ACADEMY SAILORS 

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #13

Final 2017-18 record: 19-8

Player to watch: Abby Kuhn, Jr., guard

In the paint: With IND and St. John’s Catholic now in IAAM A, Sailors are clear cut favorite in IAAM B.

15. SOUTH RIVER SEAHAWKS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #12

Final 2017-18 record: 21-4

Player to watch: Ashlynn Burrows, Jr., forward

In the paint: Seahawks ready to challenge for Anne Arundel County championship.

16. COPPIN ACADEMY EAGLES

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #15

Final 2017-18 record: 21-4

Player to watch: Kayla Henderson, Jr., guard

In the paint: Baltimore City charter school looking for big things in 2018-19 after reaching Class 1A state semifinals last winter.

17. OAKLAND MILLS SCORPIONS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: #16

Final 2017-18 record: 17-9

Player to watch: Marley Grenway, Sr., forward

In the paint: Scorpions look to challenge Long Reach and Howard in Howard County and make another run at Class 2A state final four. 

18. CITY COLLEGE BLACK KNIGHTS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

Final 2017-18 record: 16-7

Player to watch: Mya Henson, Jr., guard

In the paint: Knights have solid nucleus back for battle with Poly and Western in Baltimore City Division I.

 

19. SEVERNA PARK FALCONS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

Final 2017-18 record: 17-9

Player to watch: Rachel Ward, Sr., guard/forward

In the paint: Falcons have designs on Anne Arundel County title with experienced nucleus back. 

20. CHESAPEAKE-BALTIMORE COUNTY BAYHAWKS

Final 2017-18 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

Final 2017-18 record: 19-4

Player to watch: Kayla Cabbagestalk, So., forward

In the paint: The Bayhawks should make noise again in Baltimore County with one of the area’s up-and-coming stars in Cabbagestalk.