The Columbus School for Girls basketball team is looking to build off of last season.
The Unicorns finished 4-19 overall after going 1-20 in 2011-12. With four starters having returned, senior point guard Ashley Harrington is confident that the team will win more games than it did last season.
"I feel very optimistic that we're going to be better than we were last year because we have a lot of fast guards and a lot of experience back," Harrington said. "We're a small team, but we're really fast and we're going to play good defense."
For the second year in a row, CSG underwent a coaching change during the offseason. Caren Truske has taken over as coach, replacing Lindsey Smith, who resigned after one season to become the athletics director at Wellington.
"Our players have been taught all kinds of different things and that makes it tough on them," Truske said. "Right now, we're working mostly on teaching fundamentals. We may take our lumps early while we develop our fundamental skills, but once we've improved our basic skills, we're going to be a much better team."
The returning starters are senior guards Lindsay Hester (5-foot-8) and Myrial Holbrook (5-6), senior post player Annie Parkhill (5-9) and junior post player Kameron Millner (5-8).
Harrington (5-5) has returned after missing the last two seasons with a knee injury. Also back are senior guard Kelsey Warren (5-7), junior guard Sai Alapati (5-6) and sophomore post player Reagan Moran (5-8).
Rounding out the roster are freshmen guards Sadiyah Babatunde (5-4), Nia Caldwell (5-5) and Megan Wong (5-4).
"Our tallest player is 5-9, so we're a team full of guards," Truske said. "You need a lot of reps to become a good offensive player, but anyone can become a great defensive player if they have the heart to become one.
"We're looking to develop our team defense right now. We're using a lot of zone."
CSG lost 11 of its first 12 games last season but went 3-8 in its final 11, including a 69-20 loss to fourth-seeded Fredericktown in the opening round of the Division III district tournament as the 20th seed.
The Unicorns are looking to move up in the CCL standings after going 0-8 last season as DeSales, Hartley and Watterson each went 6-2 to share the league title.
"I'm hoping we can score in a lot of different ways and I'm hoping we can surprise some people," Truske said. "The CCL is tough, but as a competitor, that's what you want because it makes you rise to the level of that challenge."