LOWELL -- The 2013-14 high school basketball season began this past week and locally there are many girls teams which should once again be very competitive in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Girls basketball preview
Central Catholic comes back as the defending Division 1 state champions and Tyngsboro returns as the Division 2 Central Mass. finalists. Central should be in the mix again for both the Merrimack Valley Conference title and in the state tournament.
Billerica finished 20-3, returns a good amount of experience and should also be in the mix in the MVC Large School Division, while Lowell will look to get back to its usual winning ways behind sophomore Alexi Schecter.
In the MVC Small, Tewksbury returns twin sisters Sara and Shannon Semenza, as well as center Chelsee Porcaro.
In the Dual County League Large, Westford Academy returns a bevy of talent -- including senior stars Samantha Hyslip and Hannah Hackley -- from a Division 1 North finalist team which went 21-5. This year the Grey Ghosts will play in the Central Mass. Div. 1 tournament.
In the DCL Small, Bedford is a favorite to repeat as champs as well as to go deep in the tournament with talented players Samantha Cowan and Alaina Greaney.
Concord-Carlisle has a new coach in Maureen Sullivan.
Over in the Middlesex League, Brie Karow takes over as the head coach in Wilmington and she returns starters Carli and Christa Brent (twin sisters) and Rachael Mara from a 14-9 team.
In Central Mass., Tyngsboro is under the direction of new coach Daniel Sargent, who takes over for Mike Crowley, who shifted gears to become Tyngsboro's boys coach. Littleton is coming off a 14-win season and returns 11 letterwinners. Finally, Groton-Dunstable will look to be competitive.
In New Hampshire, Alvirne has been ranked in the top 10 teams in the state two of the last three years and will look to all-state point guard Sandi Purcell, as well as Brittney Lambert and Vernica Jacques, to keep the winning ways going.