Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball coach Tony Bisutti isn't surprised how his team fared the past two seasons.

Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball coach Tony Bisutti isn't surprised how his team fared the past two seasons.

After reaching a Division I regional final in 2009, the Irish endured back-to-back losing seasons, finishing 8-13 overall a year ago after going 5-16 in 2009-2010. Both seasons, Scioto's lineup was dominated by inexperienced underclassmen.

"(The players) knew what the deal was," said Bisutti, who is in his 17th season leading the Irish. "They knew we were in a tough situation. We were young and that's just the way it was and there were times when it wasn't very much fun, that's for sure."

Scioto, which opens Saturday, Dec. 3, at Worthington Kilbourne, expects to be led by its junior class, but it won't be without experience.

The Irish return five players who are in their third varsity seasons in junior guards Joshua Ashwill (6-foot) and Antonio Bisutti (6-0), junior post player Travis Yates (6-3) and senior wing players Gabe McGlone (6-1) and Ryan Duncan (6-0).

Also on the team are senior guard Dominic Madison (5-8), junior post players Grant Anderson (6-4) and Travis Wehder (6-4) and junior wing players Aaron Strausbaugh (5-10) and Chase Sult (6-2). Wehder is a transfer from Virginia, and Strausbaugh and Sult are first-year varsity players.

"I think our chemistry is a lot better this year," Antonio Bisutti said. "We like each other and everybody gives it their all. It's really not about how we do individually."

"This team kind of resembles that 2009 team in style of play," coach Bisutti said.

"We're not overly big, but if we have all the parts together, I think the total sum can be greater than an individual. We're going to have to scrap and we're going to have to hit shots."

The Irish lost their leading scorer from a year ago to graduation in wing player Raneal Ewing, who averaged 15.6 points last season and was named first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division. He scored a career-high 35 points in a 64-58 loss to Westerville North on Jan. 28.

"Right now, it's pretty spread out offensive-wise," Antonio Bisutti said. "The offense we're running pretty much gets the ball to everyone. A lot of it comes from Josh and I up top and Duncan."

Scioto saw its defense improve last season, as it held opponents to 42.7 percent from the field, compared to 48 percent in 2009-10.

"I anticipate a lot of close games for us," coach Bisutti said. "Depth-wise, we might be a little tougher physically. Our overall team shooting will be better, but we can't bank on that every night and the defense is going to have to get even better."

Scioto went 4-10 in the OCC-Cardinal last season to tie Dublin Jerome for fifth, behind Westerville South (13-1), North (10-4), Olentangy Liberty (10-4) and Westerville Central (10-4) and ahead of Olentangy (3-11) and Marysville (2-12).

South reached a Division I regional final last season, while Central reached a district final and Liberty was a district semifinalist.

Scioto, which opens league play Tuesday, Dec. 6, at home against Olentangy, lost to Teays Valley 48-39 in the first round of the district tournament a year ago.

•The girls team will open OCC-Cardinal play Saturday, Dec. 3, at Marysville.

The Irish, who opened Nov. 29 against Watterson, also will play a league game Friday, Dec. 6, at Olentangy.