Delaware Christian School girls basketball coach Jackie Boggs liked the way her team was playing late in the season.
The Eagles won six of their first eight games despite missing one of their top players in senior guard Katie Morgan, who was recovering from knee surgery. A four-year letterwinner, Morgan returned to the lineup in a 29-25 loss to eventual MOCAL champion Granville Christian on Jan. 9.
Delaware Christian went 3-5 in its first eight games with Morgan in the lineup, but won seven in a row before losing to top-seeded Newark Catholic 50-26 in a Division IV district semifinal Feb. 27 at Whitehall to finish 16-8 overall.
The Eagles, who were seeded ninth of 20 teams in the district, opened the postseason with a 49-46 win over 10th-seeded Tree of Life in the second round Feb. 19 before falling to eventual district champion Newark Catholic.
According to Boggs, Morgan's return to the lineup brought about changes to the roles of other players.
"It took about three weeks for all of the girls to get acclimated and adjusted (to the changes), but then we started to play the way we knew we could've all season long," Boggs said.
Delaware Christian avenged its loss to Granville Christian, winning 47-46 on Feb. 7 to hand the Lions their only MOCAL loss. The Eagles finished 4-2 in the league to place second, behind Granville Christian (5-1) and ahead of Tree of Life (3-3) and Madison Christian (0-6).
The MOCAL's other member, Gahanna Christian, did not field a team this season.
Delaware Christian will be losing four players to graduation, including two of its top three scorers in senior guard Bethany Kuykendall and Morgan.
Kuykendall was the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 10.7 points, and averaged 7.2 rebounds, two assists and 3.5 steals. Morgan, the team's third-leading scorer, averaged 8.9 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Both players were named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
The Eagles lose a third starter in forward Alix Stone, who averaged 2.9 points, four rebounds and 2.3 steals.
Among those expected to return is sophomore forward Erin McCullough, who averaged a team-high 11.2 points, nine rebounds and 3.5 steals and made first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Also expected back are junior guards Emily Cornelius (4.8 points), Rachel Kirby and Brianna Kuykendall, sophomore forwards Liz Sullivan (2.3 points, 4.1 rebounds) and Elizabeth Blackburn (2.7 points) and freshmen Abbey Evans (forward), Olivia House (guard), Madison Morgan (guard) and Caitlyn Ruminski (forward).
Kirby missed most of the season with an injury.
"It'll be hard to replace Katie Morgan and Bethany Kuykendall, who was a three-year letterwinner," Boggs said. "They worked extremely hard and pushed the others throughout the offseason to get into the gym and work. The seniors had a great season. Alix Stone was our best defender and (senior guard) Carmon Weldi was a two-year letterwinner.
"We were 17-7 last year and had one starter back (this season) and ... finished with 16 wins, but I truly believe if the young girls work hard (during the offseason) that we could have a better season next year."
Boys basketball team losing four seniors
The boys basketball team is losing four seniors, including forward Austin Roden, who was first-team all-MOCAL and honorable mention all-district, and guard Brock Bishop, who sustained a season-ending injury during a scrimmage.
Delaware Christian, which finished 6-16 overall, lost 13 of its first 15 games but had a stretch late in the regular season in which it won four of five games.
The Eagles went 2-6 in the MOCAL to tie Madison Christian for fourth behind Gahanna Christian (8-0), Tree of Life (5-2) and Granville Christian (2-5). The Trojans and Lions did not make up a postponed game.
Delaware Christian lost to second-seeded Newark Catholic 49-29 in the second round of the Division IV district tournament Feb. 26. The Eagles, who had a first-round bye, were seeded 20th of 21 teams in the district and had a first-round bye.
Among the players expected to return are 6-foot-9 junior post player Ben Evans and sophomore forward Wes Blakemore. Evans made first-team all-league and Blakemore was honorable mention all-league.
Also expected back are sophomores Daniel Gaudio (guard), Gabe Hedges (guard) and Drew Sedoti (forward) and Andrew Standley (forward) and freshmen Austin Evans (forward), Roger Gill (guard) and Adam Standley (guard).