Girls basketball season tipped off on Monday. Once again, the area is filled not only with talented teams, but talented players. Here is a look at some of the top returners in Tampa Bay:
G Brylee Bartram, So., Seffner Christian: Bartram averaged 14.5 points per game as a freshman. A deep scoring threat, she made 48 percent of her 3-pointers last season. On a team stacked with shooters, Bartram may be the best.
G Mia Blocker, Sr., Tampa Catholic: Blocker was the Crusaders’ top scorer last year with 19 points per game. She also grabbed six rebounds per game. There is no reason to think she will slow down this season.
F Stephanie Brower, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch: Brower averaged 11 points per games last season on a team that went 29-3. Leading scorer Trakyra Kidd has graduated, so Brower will be counted on even more. She averaged 11 points in two preseason games.
C Kiana Chew, Sr., Palm Harbor University: At 6-foot-4, Chew is a pure center who is committed to Arizona. She ran into foul trouble often last season, so she must be more disciplined this year. Chew averaged 9.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.9 blocks per game as a junior. Expect those numbers to go up this season.
F Alise Davis, Sr., Tampa Catholic: Davis was second on the team behind Blocker with 15 points per game. She was especially good on the boards, with 12.2 per game. A tough player, she gets the hard points for the Crusaders.
G Amaka Eziakonwa, Sr., King: Eziakonwa was outstanding for the Lions last season. She averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks as a junior. She is already off to a good start this season, so she will again be King’s main threat.
G Emily Gregson, Sr., Keswick Christian: Gregson averaged 12 points per game last season and will be relied upon even more this season. A 3-point threat, Gregson made 33 percent of her tries last season.
G Chelsie Hall, Sr., Seffner Christian: One of the top players in the area last season, Hall has committed to Vanderbilt. She averaged 21.4 points per game on a team that went to the Class 3A state semifinals. She is a speedy guard who has a knack for getting to the basket.
G Julia Ingram, Sr., Palm Harbor University: Ingram is in her fourth season as a starter for the Hurricanes, and this could be her best season yet. She averaged 22.4 points per game as a junior. Ingram is a good shooter but most of her points come from darting to the basket and getting layups. She is committed to the University of Tampa.
F Kayla Langley, So., Nature Coast: She averaged 10 points and 11 rebounds as a freshman. With the loss of seniors Courtney White and Latavea Sesler, Langley will have to pick up the scoring load this season.
G Audra Leipold, Jr., Seffner Christian: Leipold is a transfer from Academy at the Lakes. She has played varsity basketball since the eighth grade, so the transition to Seffner should not be a big one. She starts the season with 1,798 points, which means she should surpass 2,000 at some point.
G Lyndsey McWhorter, Jr., Anclote: As the Sharks’ shooting guard last season, McWhorter averaged 16.5 points per game. She did more than just shoot. McWhorter charged the basket as well. She got to the free-throw line a team-high 162 times.
F Sarah Moore, Sr., Middleton: Moore was hard to stop last season. She was tops on the team with 18.7 points and 16.7 rebounds. If her production continues and her teammates step up, the Tigers can improve on last year’s 12-8 season.
F November Morton, Jr., Countryside: Morton was the team’s scoring leader last season and that likely won’t change this season. She has switched to point guard, but if the preseason is any indication, she should be fine. Morton averaged 27 points in two preseason games. The Cougars should be much improved, and Morton is a big reason why.
G Alexandrya Myers, So., Bayshore Christian: Myers was not intimidated by varsity basketball as a freshman. She scored 19.9 points per game, far and away the best on last year’s 13-8 team. A 5-foot-4 guard, she will be counted on again this season.
G Tiara Myrick, Sr., St. Petersburg: The Green Devils had a losing season in 2015-16, but Myrick stood out. She averaged 19.4 points per game and 4.5 rebounds. A physical player, she will be paired with Northeast transfer Aryka Gamble.
G Alyssa Nieves, Sr., Brooks DeBartolo: Nieves played a big role in last year’s 28-win season. She scored 12 points per game on a team that spread out its scoring. She also hit 41 percent of her 3-pointers.
G Misha O’Neal, Jr., Clearwater: O’Neal played in one game last season before missing the rest of the year due to injury. She scored 19 points in that game. Perhaps one of the quickest guards in Pinellas County, O’Neal may have to pick up some of the scoring load because Cheyanne Williamson is out with a knee injury.
G Alexa Rodriguez, Sr., Bishop McLaughlin: She played in all 23 games last season and averaged 7.3 points per game. She was usually the second option behind senior Brielle Downing. This year, Rodriguez should be even better as the top scorer.
G Toi Smith, Jr., Lakewood: Smith has played since her freshman year, which is not easy to do at Lakewood. She can shoot, she can dribble, she can pass. With a talented team around her, Smith could have a breakout season.
C Imani Thomas, Sr., Academy at the Lakes: The Wildcats lost coach Karim Nohra and top scorer Audra Leipold, but Thomas remains. She was a workhorse under the basket, with 12.6 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.
G Ayanna Trigg, Sr., Strawberry Crest: Teamed with her twin sister, Briana, Ayanna averaged 14.2 points and 7.8 rebounds as a 5-foot-10 guard. She also hit 34 percent of her 3-pointers to lead the team.
F Briana Trigg, Sr., Strawberry Crest: Averaged 16.1 points and 5.3 rebounds last season for a team that went 26-1. There are four seniors on this year’s team, and Briana is the one with the best scoring ability.
G Paris Williams, Jr., Lakewood: Williams was Boca Ciega’s top player last season, averaging more than 20 points per game. She will not be asked to carry the load now that she is at Lakewood, but she can score in bunches thanks to her speed and ball handling.
G Micaiah Young, Sr., Pasco: She led the Pirates last year with 13.8 points per game and five rebounds. Should be the team leader against this season.