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Five story lines for the upcoming girls basketball season

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By Michael Hicks

The following are just five story lines to follow as the high school girls basketball season gets ready to commence:

1. SPEED, YES. HEIGHT, NO. That’s what a majority of the teams — four out of five — said they have going into the season. Columbine, Chatfield, Front Range Christian and Littleton will have to rely on their speed, quickness and court awareness to overcome their lack of size. Dakota Ridge is the one anamoly of the group, hosting a wealth of height behind seniors Lauren Wood (5-foot-11) and Jae Ferrin (6-0) and junior Jessica LeBaron (6-0).

2. NEW FACE IN NEW PLACE. Littleton High School is the beneficiary of adding junior guard Alexiss Orona, a 5-foot-6 transfer from Stratton. Orona was the third-leading scorer for the Lady Eagles, averaging 6.7 points per game. She also was third on the team in rebounds with 66 and second in assists (22) and steals (32). Head coach Adam Williams is hoping for some early contributions from her.

3. FERRIN IS BACK. Jae Ferrin is back for Dakota Ridge. The 6-foot senior forward/center returns to the team after a one-year absence. During her sophomore season, she averaged 6.9 points per game, tied for the team lead with 53 assists and was third in rebounding (124) and steals (44).

4. INJURIES GALORE. The season hasn’t even started yet, but injuries are already taking their toll on teams. Columbine’s Claire Neugebauer has been sidelined. So has Chatfield’s Emily Lachenmayer (ankle) and Gabby Miller (thumb), though Miller should be ready to go any day now. Here’s hoping their recoveries are quick and swift and that they’ll be back on the hardwood sooner rather than later.

5. KEEPING YOUR COMPETITION CLOSE. Though Dakota Ridge first-year head coach Doug Maier noted the importance of his team’s early-season schedule, other teams are circling showdowns with rivals Columbine-Chatfield, Littleton-Heritage, Front Range Christian-Denver Christian as crucial games on the slate. For Littleton, one crucial game will be at Conifer on Dec. 10. Why? Next year, the Lady Lions relocate to the 4A Jeffco League for the 2014-15 season.