Here is a projection for the Suburban Conference girls basketball season, according to Sam McDowell, who is The Star’s Missouri high school reporter. Teams are listed in projected order of finish.
Suburban Gold Conference
1. Lee's Summit West
2. Blue Springs South
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3. Blue Springs
4. Lee's Summit North
5. Lee's Summit
Outlook: The big-class conference is wide open this season, with defending champion Lee's Summit North returning only three varsity letter winners. Lee's Summit West, the newcomer to the league, returns the most experience and could be the early favorite. The Titans won 18 games last season, and they welcome back a trio of scorers in De’Jionae Calloway, Taylor Jackson and Austin Richardson.
Blue Springs South, however, may feature the top player in the league with Cloe’ Lane, a senior post player who is a handful on the block. She averaged 14.5 points per game last season.
Blue Springs was a fixture in the Missouri Class 5 Final Four before enduring a sub-.500 season in 2013-14. The Wildcats may be poised for a bounce-back year.
Suburban Red Conference
3. Park Hill South
4. Park Hill
6. St. Joseph Central
Outlook: Liberty drops down to the Suburban Red Conference this season, and the Blue Jays become a contender to de-throne three-time defending champion Truman, which lost 1,000-point scorers Becca Jonas and Abby Hix to graduation.
Liberty is led by two-time all-conference forward Morgan Fleming, along with Chiarra Franklin and Sydney Offield. Fleming posted 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
But Truman won't relinquish the crown easily. The Patriots still feature plenty of talent, with returning starters Bri Savidge and Sydney Paialii, forward Lexi Hart and a transfer point guard Kierra Collier.
Suburban White Conference
1. Fort Osage
2. North Kansas City
4. William Chrisman
6. Liberty North
7. Oak Park
Outlook: The Suburban White Conference proved to be one of the most competitive in the area last winter, with four teams winning at least eight league games. Fort Osage and Staley tied for first with nine victories apiece.
After dropping its season opener, Fort Osage bounced back to win the Winnetonka Tournament over the weekend. The Indians are poised to make another run this season.
Staley will have a tougher time remaining atop the standings after losing point guard Monique Townson, who averaged more than 20 points per game in consecutive seasons.
With her departure, Raytown senior Kyessence Collins is set to emerge as the top point guard in the league. She’s a pass-first guard who averaged nearly eight assists per contest in 2013-14.
Suburban Blue Conference
5. Platte County
6. Raytown South
Outlook: Kearney dominated its conference last season, and there’s little evidence to believe it can't repeat as the Suburban Blue Conference champions this season. The Bulldogs are a team built on defense — a factor that won't change anytime soon — and center Taylor Doan offers a reliable option offensively. But to become a more formidable postseason team, the Bulldogs need their perimeter game to make opponents pay for double-teaming Doan in the post.
Grandview was a pleasant surprise last season with 22 wins, and it’s set to prove that was no fluke. The team returns five players, including second team all-conference selection Tatiana McCree.