ESPN RISE takes a look at the teams to watch this month in this area:
Girls' Basketball -- College Park
College Park has gone from a brand new school in 2005 to a girls' basketball state title contender in 2008. And head coach Kip Anderson believes a team-first attitude has keyed that ascension. But to Anderson and the Cavaliers, "team" is more than just a buzzword. Anderson puts her players in charge on the floor, allowing them to determine substitutions on their own with a rotation that typically includes 10-12 players. "This team takes care of each other," Anderson says. "They're all in it together, and they understand that."The unconventional strategy has helped the Cavs win back-to-back district championships and develop a few Division I prospects along the way. Leading the charge is senior Texas Tech commit Monique Smalls, a versatile guard who averaged 13 points, eight assists and six steals per game last season. Senior guard Allie Messimer has a few Division I offers as well after pouring in 12 points per game last year. Junior Nicole Morgan and sophomore Megan Shafer patrol the paint and both have Division I hoops potential, though Morgan has already committed to Texas A&M to play softball. Seniors Sarah Priesmeyer and Kristen Haberern are two more interior forces, and senior Megan Janousek is a crucial player who will return from injury in January. Kelly McClure, a senior, and Priyanka Duvvuru, a junior, are two of the Cavs'most versatile contributors. The senior trio of Jaz Colon, Catie Laughlin and Whitney Stone provide much-needed depth.
Boys' Swimming -- John Cooper
The Dragons needed only to finish second in the final event of last year's SPC Championships to snap St. Mark's 12-year run of conference supremacy. But the team went out and won that event, the 400 freestyle relay, to put an exclamation point on the championship. Seniors Bryce Poeter and Andrew Ghazi were on that relay team and return alongside senior James May as John Cooper looks to start a streak of its own this winter.
Girls' Swimming -- Seven Lakes
The Spartans went from 39th at the Class 4A state meet in 2006 to eighth in '07 to second in '08. But the team faces a new challenge this winter as realignment has sent it up to Class 5A. Junior Kyra Jones and sophomore Anne Steele are capable of leading Seven Lakes to instant success, however. Jones won the 100 back and took second in the 500 free at state last year and Steele was third in the 100 fly. They teamed with senior Kara Wilkerson and sophomore Bri Dillon to win the 200 medley relay.
Boys' Basketball -- Hightower
The Hurricanes were great last year, but it may have only been a warm-up for this season. After reaching the Region III-5A semifinals and finishing 30-9 in 2007-08, Hightower returns three ESPN RISE All-Area selections, including 6-foot-7 Pittsburgh recruit J.J. Richardson. Senior playmakers Daryell Taylor, the team's lone returning All-District first team pick, and Garlon Green, a TCU commit, are also key to the Hurricanes' attack.
BREAK OUT TEAMS
GIRLS' BASKETBALL -- NORTH SHORE
Texas pledge Lauren Flores heads a Mustangs team that returns five All-District picks.
WRESTLING -- KLEIN OAK
Seniors Garrett Smith, Austin Davis and J. Kristofer Fortner pace the Panthers.
GIRLS' SWIMMING -- CLEMENTS
Senior freestyle specialist Danielle Yoho looks to push the Rangers into the Top 10 at state.
BOYS' BASKETBALL -- BELLAIRE
Junior forward Tobi Oyedeji leads the young but explosive Cardinals.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Cowboys cut ties with top pass-rusher Ware
- Sources: Browns, Raiders inquire on Revis
- Sources: Browns add LB Dansby, S Whitner
- Bynum to make Pacers debut against Celtics
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Rank School (City, State) Rec 1 Don Bosco
11-0 2 Armwood
15-0 3 Trinity For Boys
14-0 4 Grayson
15-0 5 Good Counsel
13-0 See the full football rankings »