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Head coaches: Tim Gabbard (Waynesville), Kevin Schaeffer (Preble Shawnee), Brian McGuire (Madison), Katie Roose (Milton-Union), Tony Phillips (Carlisle), Robyn Meinking (Dixie), Ken Ford (Northridge).
• Second to Beavercreek’s Ed Zink as the dean of area girls coaches is Gabbard. In his 39th season, he has amassed 548 wins, good for No. 14 among the all-time winningest girls coaches according to Ohio High School Athletic Association records.
• Schaefer is in his third season with the Arrows and returns all five starters.
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• McGuire is another veteran SWBL coach, with 30-plus seasons in coaching.
• This is the sixth season for Roose at Milton-Union, which won its first playoff game in nine years last season.
• A former Bethel boys assistant, this is Phillips’ first season as Carlisle’s coach. He succeeds Randy Glover.
• It can only get better for Meinking and Ford.
Notable from last season: Defending champ Waynesville takes a 14-game divisional win streak into this season. The Spartans are a combined 34-2 in divisional play over the last three seasons.
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Waynesville lost only to Ashland (Ky.) Paul Glazer in the regular season and was eliminated by eventual D-III state runner-up Versailles in a D-III regional final.
• Shawnee lost its opener, then mounted a pair of six-game win streaks to have its best season since 2013-14.
Top returning scorers: Rachel Murray, sr., G, Waynesville, 17.0 points; Kenzi Saunders, jr., G, Madison, 15.8; McKinlee Ruppert sr., G, Dixie, 16.1.
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Top returning rebounders: Marcella Sizer, sr., C, Waynesville, 11.9 rebounds; Sydney Creamer, sr., F, Dixie, 8.9; Cami Glover, jr., C, Carlisle, 7.4.
What to know: Expect more of the same from Waynesville, which returns three starters in Murray, Sizer (11.9 points) and Lynzie Hartshorn (7.6). Murray has tallied 1,245 career points and enters her senior season as the Spartans' all-time career scorer.
• Milton-Union senior Kristen Dickison is among the area’s best guards after averaging 14.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season.
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Season opener: Badin at Preble Shawnee (Mon., Nov. 26);
Next games: Northridge at Miami Valley (Tue., Nov. 27), Dixie at National Trail (Tue., Nov. 27), Carlisle at Dixie (Thu., Nov. 29), Madison at Waynesville (Sat., Dec. 1).
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