A familiar face returns to the sideline at Whitesville Trinity, where former Lady Raiders coach and star player Emily Hernandez once more takes the reigns.
Trinity was 12-19 in John Paul Cummings' final season as coach, advancing to the 3rd Region Tournament after knocking off Grayson County in the first round of the 12th District Tournament.
Now, Hernandez -- also a former girls' coach at Owensboro -- will try to parlay that momentum into even more success on the hardwood for the Lady Raiders.
"We have some talented players returning," Hernandez said. "They are a great group to work with, and I look forward to a fun season."
Part of the optimism stems from the return of 5-9 sophomore guard Cassidy Morris, who averaged 18.4 points and 11 rebounds per game as a freshman.
Also back are 5-3 freshman point guard Josie Aull (11.3 ppg, 2.2 apg), 5-9 senior center Morgan Kinsey (7.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg), 5-9 sophomore forward Katherine Hibbit (1.5 ppg, 6 rpg), and 5-4 sophomore guard Hadley Hatfield, one of the team's top defenders.
Five-foot freshman guard Allie Graham will also make an impact.
"She's a shooting threat for us," Hernandez said of Graham. "She brings tenacity and determination to our team."
The youth-laden Lady Bears will be looking to improve on last season's 6-22 record under second-year coach Lexie Belcher.
Butler County went on a 10-game losing skid last season and opened with just two victories in its first 15 games, but were considerably more competitive over the final six weeks of the season.
Leading scorer Jaelyn Taylor, a 5-7 sophomore guard, returns after averaging 11.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season.
Also back for the Lady Bears are 5-6 senior point guard Jacie Ward (6 ppg, 3.2 rpg), 5-7 sophomore guard Gracie Cardwell (3.7 ppg, 4 rpg), 5-5 sophomore guard Graci Leach (3.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and 5-9 sophomore center Taylin Clark (2.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg).
Last season, Butler County won three of its final eight regular-season games before being defeated by Edmonson County (59-43) in the first round of the 12th District Tournament.
The Lady Cats return four starters from last year's team that went 24-8 and won the 12th District Tournament championship.
"We want to get better each day and want to be the first in school history to go back-to-back-to back district champs," Edmonson County coach Bart Weaver said. "Our bread and butter is good defense and rebounding."
Edmonson returns four starters from last season, including leading scorer Katie Lindsey (11.1 ppg), a 5-2 junior point guard who produced over 100 steals and assists. Also back are 5-7 senior guard Lauren Balance (9.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg), 5-10 senior center Emma Vincent (8.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 69 blocks) and 6-foot senior forward Madison Harrison (6.2 ppg, team-best 6.9 rpg).
Others expected to contribute include 5-9 senior forward Mia Goad (5.1 ppg), 5-5 junior guard Macy McCombs, 5-10 freshman center Lily Vincent and 5-9 sophomore guard Jae Simon.
"We like to get up and down the court, but we'll slow it up when we need to," Weaver said. "We'll mix up our defenses a lot."
Ted Hill takes over for Josh Basham at Grayson County, where optimism has returned for the Lady Cougars, who went 11-16 in 2018-19.
"The expectations are high," Hill said. "With all the experience and everyone back we should turn in a solid campaign -- this once-proud program is in full revival mode, and we are excited to get started."
Top returnees include senior forward Laura Vincent (9.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg), 5-2 senior guard Kenzie Renfrow (12.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and 5-10 junior forward Rachael Snyder (10.1 ppg, 7 rpg).
Others expected to make big impacts include 5-11 junior center Ella Robinson, 5-10 sophomore wing Raigan Cave and 5-4 freshman guard Annie Kiper.
"Our veteran players have to buy in to the new system and culture," Hill said. "Our defense in one-on-one situations has to get better, and we have spent a long time (working) on that."