The Mars girls' basketball team had a solid season a year ago, placing second in Section 1-AAA with a record of 8-2 and and finished with an overall mark of 14-9. The strong effort qualified the Fightin' Planets for the WPIAL Class AA playoffs, where they dropped a preliminary-round game to Laurel Highlands.
Apparently, the Planets are hoping that two early challenges will help them negotiate a once-again solid schedule after finishing one game behind Kittanning in the section race a year ago. Mars opens the season at home against Keystone Oaks next Tuesday and visits Montour the following night.on Wednesday night.
Keystone Oaks is a Class AA team, but that classification shouldn't fool anyone. The Eagles placed fourth in a section last year that featured WPIAL Class AA champion Seton-LaSalle and WPIAL semifinalist Bishop Canevin. Steel Valley, the third-place team in the section, lost to Jeannette in first-round game.
Montour had a solid season a year ago, tying with Chartiers Valley for first place in Section 5-AAA. Each time had section record of 8-2, and both the Spartans and the Colts had identical overall records of 17-6.
The two teams split their regular-season games with each team winning on the other team's floor. Montour fell to WPIAL finalist Ambridge in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA tournament. The Spartans' top player is Cody Dugan, a 5-9 senior forward.