After runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2013, New Berlin Eisenhower's girls basketball team broke through to win the second state championship in program history in 2016.
The Lions enter this season having to replace three starters from the title team, but veteran coach Gary Schmidt also returns 10 letter winners.
Eisenhower went 23-5 overall and finished in second place in the Woodland West with a 13-3 mark before taking out Greendale, New Berlin West, Pewaukee and Pius XI to reach the WIAA Division 2 state tournament for the third time in five years.
After downing Green Bay Notre Dame in overtime in the state semifinals, the Lions pulled out a 46-42 win over Stoughton in the championship game.
Eisenhower will be faced with the task of replacing starters Chelsea Brackmann (14.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG), Emalie Hahn (8.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG) and Kasie Erenyi (4.9 PPG) and key reserve Abby Thyne. To do so, the Lions will rely heavily on the backcourt duo of sophomore Julia Hintz and junior Katie Ludwig.
Hintz earned second team All-Woodland West honors after averaging 8.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals as a freshman, while Ludwig averaged 7.8 points, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals as a sophomore.
"We should be a good defensive team that can put points on the board," Schmidt said. "We're going to be going from a big team last year to a very athletic team this year."
With the frontcourt losses of Brackmann and Hahn, 5-foot-11 junior Hannah Plockelman and 6-foot-1 senior Jasmyn Somarsingh will be tasked with taking on a bigger role.
Juniors Olivia Canady and Alicia Putney and senior Abby Szukalski are expected to be backcourt contributors for Eisenhower.
The Woodland West figures to be a loaded division again in 2016-17, as Pius XI, Pewaukee, Eisenhower and New Berlin West all are contenders to make a run in Division 2.
Eisenhower will open its season against a talented Divine Savior Holy Angels squad on Nov. 22. The Lions will then face Madison Edgewood, which reached the WIAA Division 3 state tournament in 2016, at the Brookfield Central Thanksgiving Shootout on Nov. 26.