Two have become three, as the Trailways Conference has altered its basketball configuration from North and South leagues into East, West and South conferences.
And that means an almost entirely shifted landscape for a lot of area teams, as Fall River and Rio will now compete with the likes of Randolph, Cambria-Friesland and Markesan in the Trailways West, while Hustisford and Deerfield — two of the Pirates’ and Vikings’ top competitors the last handful of years — will duke it out for the Trailways South title and up-and-comer Horicon will try to claim gold in the Trailways East.
The following is a closer look at the area teams in the Trailways West:
FALL RIVER (21-6 last season, 16-2 Trailways South)
The Pirates lost an unbelievable amount of talent from their 2015-16 team, but with help from Kaycee Bull (12.6 points per game last year), Samantha Liesemann (10) and Morgan Tramburg (9.6), they tied with Rio atop the conference last year to claim their fifth straight Trailways South title.
Bull graduated, costing Fall River its leading scorer and second-leading rebounder (6.8 per game).
Liesemann and Tramburg return, though, and have put on a show so far to help the Pirates to a 2-0 start.
Liesemann has really picked up her game averaging a double-double at 13.5 points and 10 rebounds a game, while Tramburg has scored a total of 25 points in the two outings. Karlee VanGysel returns as well for the Pirates and has averaged eight points.
Fall River head coach Jim Doolittle said he wants his team to “be better versions of ourselves.”
MARKESAN (15-9, 14-4)
Head coach Skip Laper led the Hornets to a second-place finish in the Trailways North last year, trailing only undefeated Oshkosh Lourdes.
The Hornets return 12 girls from that squad, including leading scorer and rebounder Alex Dornfeld (13.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last year). Lauren Winchell, who was second on the team in both categories at 9.2 points and 5 rebounds, also returns.
So does Hanna Gibbons after averaging 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds a game.
The Hornets started the season off on the wrong note with a 52-28 loss to Laconia a week ago and they travel to Pardeeville — which tied with Markesan for second in the North a year ago — Friday to open conference play.
RANDOLPH (11-12, 10-8)
The Rockets finished last season with a 49-37 loss to Argyle in their postseason opener, dropping their record below .500.
But they could compete with just about anyone on the court with JoLea Woreck and Morgan Paul, the latter of whom has since graduated.
Woreck is back, though, and she’s averaging eight points and 11.3 rebounds per game in three games so far. Brianna Prieve has averaged 14 points a game in the young season, doubling her output from last year.
The Rockets also return Courtney VanderGalien (7 points a game last year) and Lily Alsum (7.7).
The Rockets have opened the season 1-2 under new coach Chad Kaufman, who has implemented an offense that will be centered around setting up the post in order to work inside out and get more opportunities on the perimeter.
“My goal for this year’s team is for them to compete in every single game we play,” he said. “This group of girls works hard and plays unselfish basketball.”
CAMBRIA-FRIESLAND (2-20, 2-16)
The Hilltoppers had a rough season in the Trailways West and ended the season with a 68-35 loss to Fall River, a team that advanced to the sectional finals before losing to Milwaukee School of Science, 78-76.
The Hilltoppers lost Olivia Bancroft-Hart, their top scorer (6.9 points per game) and rebounder (5.3), to graduation, but they do return Lindsey Baur, who averaged 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds a game.
Devon DeYoung (3.9 points, 2.4 rebounds) and Chloe DeYoung (3.1, 4) also return for the Toppers, who have dropped their first two games of the season.