1. St. Mary’s: Too deep, too talented, too experienced after last year’s championship game appearance. Can anyone stop their fastbreak or pressing defense?
2. Chandler: Plenty of athleticism and speed with three starters returning for Zon Thompson’s crew. Can the Wolves make outside shots and avoid bushels of turnovers come tournament time?
3. Hamilton: Possibly the best starting lineup outside St. Mary’s. The Huskies can score and swarm defensively, so the challenge will be defending the interior and rebounding.
4. Xavier: New coach Mary Hauser is a proven winner from California. The loss of Shay May is big, but most of the rest of the Gators return. A handful of teams could fit in here and No. 5 as well.
5. Mountain View: Lost a ton, but ASU-bound Arnecia Hawkins, Rene Coggins and Jordan Jensen are loaded with potential. Also keep an eye on Highland, Red Mountain and Mountain Pointe.
1. Tolleson: Even with loss of Rebecca Woodbery, too much returns from 2009-2010 championship team.
2. Pinnacle: Early-season loss to yearly-nemesis Tolleson and difficult schedule shouldn’t sway Pioneers, not with Aley Rohde, Sydney Wiese and Kenna McDavis back from last year’s runner-up squad.
3. Horizon: Poised to make the next step from last year’s quarterfinals with Madison Austin, Paige Picciotti and Mandi Yanovitch returning. Depth and balance are key for Huskies in brutal Desert Valley Region.
4. Chaparral: If the Firebirds survive an early rough tournament schedule and the Desert Valley Region, they’ll be better for the wear come February.
5. Perry: Depth an issue after 21-9 season, but Sarah Beth Hock and Megan Crenshaw form solid duo.
1. Apollo: Amukamura sisters (Peace and Promise) lead a stacked squad.
2. Peoria: Raven Boone and Cecilia Pearl could be best inside-outside combo in 4A-I.
3. Shadow Mountain: Lexi Kresl (University of Colorado) was best player in 4A-I as a junior for defending champions.
4. Sahuaro: Cashala Thompson (15.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists) and Rachel Holmes (9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.3 apg) are back.
5. Cactus Shadows: A number of teams could fit in here, but development of Kate Accola and Kaylee Paciola will decide Falcons’ fate.
1. Seton Catholic: Kayla Bustos and Theresa Wirth are the best combo in 4A-II, and two other starters return from last year’s championship team.
2. Flagstaff: Return practically the entire roster from last year’s semifinal appearance.
3. Page: Arguably the best backcourt trio in all of 4A and Sarah Mong inside returns from state runners-up.
4. Williams Field: The football team is doing it, why not the basketball team? 24-6 last year with the same core group returning. Can they rebound and make enough shots?
5. Thunderbird: Difficult schedule early (Desert Mountain, Apollo, Williams Field, Shadow Mountain) will pay dividends later.
1. Window Rock
4. Monument Valley
1. Valley Christian
3. Arizona Lutheran
4. Scottsdale Christian
5. Pusch Ridge Christian
2. Ft. Thomas
3. Salt River
4. Valley Lutheran
5. Gila Bend