Coloma has lofty goals heading into the 2019-20 girls basketball season.

The Comets have their sights set winning the first Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in program history. The program is coming off an 8-14 season in 2018-19 that ended with a 42-41 overtime loss to Berrien Springs.

The Comets return two all-conference performers in Megan Koenigshof and Megan Neubecker, along with Marissa Sherburn and Mia Cole.

“(Megan Koenigshof) is a point guard who has a lot of speed and is a strong defensive player,” Coloma coach Kim Gear said. “(Megan Neubecker) returns as our center. She has powerful low-post moves and defends the ball well. Marissa Sherburn will be a key to our success this year as our shooter along with Mia being able to shoot and play in the low post.”

Coloma will be counting on a trio of newcomers in sophomores Taylor Brown, Adrian Allmon, and Addy Kimmerly to see key minutes.

“(Taylor) is a sophomore and backup point guard with a nice shooting touch,” Gear said. “It will take her some time to adjust to the game speed of varsity but I look forward to watching her develop. Adrian and Addy can do a little of everything.

“Abby Vandermolen took a year due to an injury but I am excited to have her quickness back.”

According to Gear, shooting and quickness will be strengths for this year’s group while ball security will be something the team must address if they are to meet their goals.

Watervliet is aiming to return to its winning ways in 2019 under second-year coach Ken Dietz.

The Panthers are coming off a 4-16 campaign in 2018-19, which included an 0-9 record in Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore play.

“It will have to be a total team effort on both sides of the ball,” Dietz said. “Hopefully some defense will turn into some offense for us. We knew we had to have a good summer and I was impressed with the effort the kids put in. It started in June and I love the steps we’ve taken.”

Dietz will lean heavily on experienced seniors Alex Worley and Serena Reyna. Junior Madison Saunders will be a key contributor.

“(Alex) had significant playing time last year,” Dietz said. “We look forward to her senior leadership on the floor. We’re expecting (Serena) to contribute on offense this year. She has a nice perimeter shot. We had eight seniors last year, so we’re expecting her experience last year to pay off.

“(Madison) will play guard for us. She got playing time last year as a sophomore. That’s been big for us.”

The Panthers graduated eight players from last year’s team. Sophomore Addison Riley, junior Adriyanna Winters, and junior Sophia Warsko will see key minutes along with the freshmen trio of point guard MJ Flowers, center Miah Hobson, and guard Samantha Dietz.

“We want to improve every day,” Dietz said. “We have some challenges in front of us, but we realize we have a great opportunity. It’s up to us to show what we have. We have a good mix of players. I like how they’re working with each other and I like the energy we have in practice.”

Contact: mharden@thehp.com, 932-0371, @HPMaxwellHarden