Forgive Canal Winchester High School girls basketball coach Adam Twiss if he can't describe what kind of team the Indians will be. After all, they must replace three graduates who were the main sources of scoring, rebounding and defense.

Forgive Canal Winchester High School girls basketball coach Adam Twiss if he can't describe what kind of team the Indians will be. After all, they must replace three graduates who were the main sources of scoring, rebounding and defense.

Yet Twiss doesn't refer to this as a rebuilding year.

"If we said that, it'd be a slap in the face to the seniors," Twiss said.

"I want us to make sure that we go out and do what we do. We're going to be a hard working group and it will be that hard work that hopefully will garner us some wins."

Last season Canal Winchester finished 6-15 overall and was sixth at 5-9 in the MSL-Buckeye Division behind Circleville (12-2), Logan Elm (11-3), Hamilton Township (10-4), Amanda-Clearcreek (8-6) and Fairfield Union (7-7) and ahead of Bloom-Carroll (3-11) and Teays Valley (0-13). The Indians lost to Whitehall 43-38 in the first round of the Division II district tournament.

For a team that is so young, Twiss said the team focused on fundamentals when practices began earlier this month, and has started building from there.

"One thing we have working for us is that every night we go into the gym, the girls are doing a good job working on the game and doing the best they can to prepare," Twiss said. "We work on fundamentals every day and it's starting to pay off. We're shooting the ball better and that never hurts."

Last year the team relied on defense and post play. The Indians again will be strong in those area, particularly in the post where they will be led by senior Rebecca Clippinger, junior Tykia Savage and sophomore Ashley Dexter. Rounding out the roster will be senior Arielle Harris (guard), junior Emily Barnhart (guard) and sophomores Tay Stokes (guard), Christy Wildermuth (forward) and Cayden Krauss (forward).

"It seems as if we've always been blessed with good post play and that doesn't change this year," Twiss said.

"We don't have much depth but we've got some good players there."

Having lost all three starting guards from last season, Twiss is continuing to experiment with rotations and combinations. The shooting has improved since the team started practicing, but it remains area that Twiss said he would like to see improved. Other areas of weakness that could affect the team negatively is turnovers.

"We need to learn to take care of the ball a bit better, and part of that comes with patience. We need to learn to be more patient at times," Twiss said.

A lot of focus this season will be getting the younger players experience and getting them acclimated to playing at the varsity level. Twiss is hoping that players who played for the freshman team last season gained some experience from winning the junior varsity division of the MSL-Buckeye.

"I think we're working well together as a team," Savage said. "We pick each other up."

"We have lot fun together on and off the court so that will help us," Clippinger said.

Having a team with so many young players has forced Twiss to handle practices and the preseason different than in the past.

"I can't get a good read on the group yet and we have moved slow this year with the lack of experience we have," Twiss said. "It's been important to keep them on the same page and to move in the a direction that's not going to lose anybody or drop them behind."

"It's going to be a work in progress and the team will kind of mold itself. We're giving them the opportunity to come in and continue to work hard and they've latched onto that idea. They're having fun, too. They're a loud, boisterous group and we're allowing them to kind of find their way on their own in terms of what kind of team they want to be and where they want to go. They just need to continue to stay positive."

At a glance

•Coach: Adam Twiss, 12th season

•Opener: Saturday at Licking Heights

•Key players: Rebecca Clippinger, Ashley Dexter and Tykia Savage