Kaeti Butterfield of Monmouth Academy grabs a pass over Kathryn Ross of Winthrop High School in Monmouth last season. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

The past few years, Boothbay and Monmouth have been setting the standard in Class C South. The Mustangs emerged the past few season as region champions and then went on to win back-to-back state championships.

Heading into this season, Boothbay seems like the clear favorite because the Seahawks bring back Faith Blethen (16.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 5.8 steals and 2.5 blocks per game), last season’s MVC co-Player of the Year.

“Boothbay is going to be really tough,” Michael Labonte, coach of Class B MVC foe Oak Hill, said.

Monmouth returns some experienced, talented players, such as Julia Johnson, Kaeti Butterfield, Abby Ferland and Audrey Fletcher, and should still be near the top of the region. But the Mustangs must figure out who will replace the production of Tia Day, Abbey Allen and Hannah Anderson.

Old Orchard Beach, which finished third in the Heal point standings last year, is expected to be in the thick of the battle for high seeds, as should last year’s No. 4 Madison.

Look for NYA to make a large leap in the standings after gaining players from the closure of Maine Girls’ Academy over the summer.

Winthrop returns several key players — juniors Aaliyah WilsonFalcone, Jillian Schmelzer and Kena Souza, and seniors Layne Audet and Kate Perkins are only a few — and might be poised to become one of C South’s finest after a season that fell below expectations last year.

Mountain Valley coach Craig Milledge said Dirigo could be a darkhorse after a two-win season in 2017-18. The Cougars have a lot of experience returning.

Hebron is always a mystery because it doesn’t play many C South teams, but it has added a few more to his schedule this season. The Lumberjacks return top player Franceska Halloran.

St. Dom’s will try to continue it progression of the past two seasons by again earning a winning record and reaching the postseason.

Mt. Abram plays a physical brand of basketball and returns top scorer Summer Ross.

Telstar and Buckfield are in each in building mode and coming off one-win seasons. Their success will be measured in improvement.

“A lot will have to do with how we do with some of our games against teams like Kents Hill and Hebron and Sacopee Valley — teams that some of those other Class C schools don’t play that we do. It’ll be an uphill battle,” Bucks coach Ryan Wilkins said.

The Rebels are hoping to make strides for the future, led by junior Luci Rothwell (13.1 rebounds, 11.6 points per game last season).

Richmond has to replace co-Player of the Year Sydney Underhill-Tilton, but hopes to stay in the top half of the region.