The past few years the Section 9 girls' basketball tournament has been almost predictable. Not this year.

The past few years the Section 9 girls' basketball tournament has been almost predictable. Not this year.

Classes AA, A and B have been dominated by Kingston, Cornwall and Highland, but this year they should be wide open — plenty of teams and players have legitimate shots at capturing their first Section 9 championship.

Senior Shannon Allan has Warwick, the No. 2 seed, as the slight favorite in Class AA and is looking for her first section title. So are Tri-Valley's Jakki Pugh, Wallkill's Kailtlyn Ponesse, Monroe-Woodbury's Danielle Waldron and John A. Coleman Catholic's Makenzie Burud.

One or more of them could be holding the trophy by the end of next week.

Here is the breakdown of what should be a very competitive Section 9 tournament.

The three favorites are Kingston, Warwick and Monroe-Woodbury, and very little separates the three powerhouses.

Kingston is the four-time defending champion and earned the No. 1 seed with an overtime win over Warwick in December. For Kingston, getting the top seed was crucial because, if the seeding holds up, Warwick and Monroe-Woodbury would battle each other in the semifinals and then have to play Kingston in the finals. That's a tough task for either team.

Kingston struggled to beat Monroe-Woodbury and Newburgh Free Academy and then lost to Cornwall at the end of the season. The Tigers commit a lot of turnovers and struggle to score during stretches. The key for Kingston is to use its one big advantage over Warwick and Monroe-Woodbury: its size in the front court, including 6-foot centers Sarah Longto and Sarah Galloway.

Galloway, who has played more aggressively this season, and Longto are each averaging around 10 points and 10 rebounds a game. Sophomore point guard Heavenly Rayford is also averaging 10 points, and Shamari Brodhead is averaging seven points and four assists and is a good defender.

Warwick, the No. 2 seed, doesn't have a lot of size but does have a lot of versatility. Senior guard/forward Shannon Allan is the key for Warwick to make a run. Allan (17 points per game) can play on the perimeter and in the post and absolutely has to stay out of foul trouble. When Allan is aggressive and plays her game, Warwick wins. And Allan knows that.

"I feel the pressure," Allan said. "It's all I think of every day (of winning the section). If we don't win sections, we'll be so mad."

Talented point guard Nicole Victor (11 points per game) and forward Veronica Winters (9 ppg) are going to have to step up for Warwick and score because teams are going to try to take Allan out of the game. Sarah Lennon (8 ppg) is the team's threat from 3-point range.

Warwick, which would host Monroe-Woodbury in the semifinals, beat the Crusaders by 10 at home on Feb. 4. These two teams are so close that home court could provide the advantage. Warwick coach Jim O'Brien said he is very concerned with the matchup because of the Crusaders' great defense and good guard play.

Third-seeded Monroe-Woodbury is led by senior center Waldron, who has been playing with a facemask to protect a broken nose. Waldron averages 11 points, and guards Chrissy Clarkin (8 ppg), Michelle Burke and Kerrie Walsh (7 ppg) can score.

Monroe-Woodbury, which split with Kingston this season, is balanced offensively and plays a great matchup zone on defense.

Monroe-Woodbury will play No. 6 Valley Central in the quarterfinals. Valley Central is making its first section appearance in four years and is led by sophomore guard HaliAnn Fitzgerald, who is averaging 12 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Prediction: Warwick

This bracket is a tossup, and Cornwall, Wallkill, Marlboro or Red Hook could take the title.

Cornwall, the four-time defending Class A champion, is the top seed, and the strength of this year's team is the full-court press that also helped it win a title last year. Cornwall has played the toughest schedule of the four teams, but its only good win is against Kingston.

The press is on for the entire 32 minutes and is used to slow down opponents because Cornwall can't get into a half-court game. Cornwall is small, scrappy and athletic and has to hit its 3-pointers and free throws to win. Cornwall is led by Jenna Wood (12 ppg), Morgan McDonald (10.7 ppg), Megan Staudle (9.9 ppg) and Caroline Staudle (7.2 ppg). Wood and McDonald are the key 3-point shooters. Savannah Hart is a great on-the-ball defender.

"We're a little more balanced," Cornwall coach Chris Miller said. "It's so even. We have as good a chance as anyone."

Wallkill, the No. 2 seed, has the most talent in Class A and finally broke through in a big game against John A. Coleman Catholic to win the MHAL championship this season. That confidence could carry over to sections as Wallkill tries to erase coming up short the past two seasons.

Wallkill is led by its talented front court, with Kaitlyn Ponesse (10.7 ppg) and Lisa Bouffard (9 ppg). Junior Kristen Lundy (7 ppg) is the defensive stopper. The back court of Raven Pentz and Allison Baldwin could be the key and will have to play well like it did in the MHAL tourney.

Third-seeded Marlboro, which moved up to Class A this year, is going to be dangerous and is the dark horse in the tournament. The Dukes have the best back court in Class A with Erin Cunningham and Emily McDonough. The team is also strong and physical and plays a tough 3-2 defense. The Dukes are inconsistent offensively and will need to get contributions from inside players Yazmin Lewis, Nicole DeSantis and Marissa Howlett. Marlboro split with Red Hook and lost to Wallkill during the season. If the seedings hold up, Marlboro would play at Wallkill in the semifinals.

"It's a wide-open bracket," Marlboro coach Scott DeGeorge said. "If one team gets hot, they can win it."

Red Hook, the No. 4 seed, was inconsistent at the end of the regular season. The Raiders lost to Marlboro and Coleman and then lost to Wallkill in the MHAL semifinals. Red Hook is led by senior center Sabrina Eggink (16 ppg and 9 rpg) and guards Jordyn Dezago (8 ppg) and Sienna O'Han (11 ppg). Dezago can shoot the 3-pointers, and sophomore point guard Kyla Gabriel (8 ppg) will be key. Red Hook would have to play at Cornwall in the semis, if the seedings hold up.

Prediction: Wallkill

Class B is always deep and brutal. There are eight teams in the tourney, and three have a legitimate shot at the title. Two-time defending Class B champion Highland is the No.1 seed, followed by No.2 Tuxedo and No. 3 John S. Burke Catholic.

Highland is a vastly different team than in the past two seasons. The Huskies, who made it to the MHAL final four, are more of a defensive team this season, and their best player is guard Alex Garcia (13 ppg). Jen Porter, a senior point guard, can put up seven to 10 points and three steals a game, and Kelly Murphy, a junior center, is averaging about eight points and eight rebounds a game.

John S. Burke Catholic and Tuxedo split during the regular season, with each team winning on its home court. Burke is athletic and physical and plays a style very similar to Cornwall's. The Eagles play great man-to-man defense, and their big three includes Amanda Lynch (16.6 ppg), Tara Sullivan (7.3 ppg) and Jessica Ayala (6.4 ppg). Burke's last section title was in 2008, and it has a good chance to reclaim the title.

Tuxedo was the Class C champion last year and moved up to Class B this year. Its big three scorers are Mae Comerford (14 ppg), Katie Sovak (10.7 ppg) and Stephanie Purdy (8 ppg). If the seedings hold up, Tuxedo would host Burke in the semifinals, and that's a definite advantage for Tuxedo. But first Burke has to get by No. 6 Onteora, which could be dangerous behind senior guard Julia Hinchey, who averages 15.8 points, five rebounds, four assists and six steals.

No. 7 Ellenville could be tricky with its size up front, including Mercedes Wilson (11 ppg) and Regina Steele (17 ppg). Ellenville plays at Tuxedo in the quarterfinals.

Prediction: Tuxedo

Top-seeded Tri-Valley is the heavy favorite to win the title. Tri-Valley swept its regular-season meetings with Eldred and Fallsburg on its way to winning the OCIAA Division V title.

Senior point guard Jakki Pugh has been a star this season and averages about 23 points a game. Pugh's season is more impressive because Tri-Valley lost a lot of players from last year's team, which went to the championship game. But younger players like Mareena DiMilia (7.6 ppg) and Katlynn Greffrath (6.5 ppg) have stepped up.

No. 2 Eldred has some size and talent. Sage Owens (17 ppg) is the big center inside and teams up with guards Kim Elvin (9 ppg) and Meghan Hazen (9 ppg).

No. 5 Fallsburg is led by junior Sheryl Pinder, who averages 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and five assists. Shanice Mack averages seven points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

Prediction: Tri-Valley

Top-seeded John S. Coleman Catholic is the heavy favorite to capture its fourth consecutive Class D title. Coleman is led by junior guard Makenzie Burud, who is averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

Coleman also has junior guard Kate Shults, who is a good defender and has big-game experience, and the 6-foot Curley twins, Emily and Nicole. Both average double-doubles.

The only concern for Coleman is that the team is young, and several of its players are playing in a section championship for the first time.

Livingston Manor/Roscoe should get by Chapel Field in the semifinals and play Coleman in the finals. Livingston Manor/Roscoe senior Marissa Diescher is a great athlete and is averaging 20 points.

Prediction: Coleman Catholic