With just one player from last year lost to graduation, Grove City High School girls basketball coach Dale Corbett is optimistic about this season.
A year ago, the Greyhounds finished 5-16 overall and 2-12 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
Grove City lost to Watterson 69-34 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
"We're better than what we were last year," Corbett said. "Everybody else may be too, but we're better than what we were."
The lone player lost to graduation was guard Danielle Terry. Grove City returns eight players with varsity experience, led by 5-foot-5 senior point guard Miranda Frase.
"She's come leaps and bounds in a lot of ways," Corbett said of Frase. "She's come back in incredible shape. We're going to rise and fall on her. I really believe that. If she plays well, we're going to do well."
The Greyhounds, who opened against Beechcroft on Nov. 27, begin league play at home against Pickerington North on Thursday, Nov. 29.
"This year we have a lot more chemistry with each other and a lot more talent, and I think we're going to win more games this year," Frase said.
Also back is 6-4 senior center Kristen Mesler, who averaged 7.0 points and 7.0 rebounds last season.
Other returnees are seniors Ashley Antrobus (5-6, guard) and Bailee Smith (guard), juniors Megan Darst (5-9, forward), Bree Kilgus (5-11, forward) and Jordan Sargent (5-6, guard) and sophomore Kayla Mitchell (5-10, guard).
Also on the team are senior Madi Wells (5-5, guard), junior Michaela Antrobus (5-6, guard), sophomores Hannah Hawkins (5-8, forward) and Cayla Maddy (5-6, guard) and freshman Ally Hutchison (5-3, guard).
"One of the strengths of the team is the depth is good," Corbett said. "We should not be walking into the season wide-eyed because most of these kids have played."
Last season, Grove City finished seventh in the OCC-Ohio behind Reynoldsburg (14-0), North (12-2), Gahanna (9-5), Newark (8-6), Pickerington Central (6-8) and Lancaster (5-9) and ahead of Groveport (0-14).
Both of the Greyhounds' league wins came against Groveport (64-62 and 67-64).
Corbett, who is in his 26th season, expects Reynoldsburg and Gahanna to be the top contenders in the league, with Newark also in the mix.
Reynoldsburg reached a state semifinal last season before losing to eventual state champion Twinsburg 49-41. Gahanna lost to Northland 53-38 in a regional semifinal.
"We want to beat the people that we're better than, whoever that might be," Corbett said. "Our girls know what this league is all about. I enjoy coaching against these teams. They're good yardsticks."
"It's a challenge, but it just makes us better because we play against people that are really good," Frase said of the league competition. "It challenges us to be the best that we can. We're just going to have to do our best and give it all we have. That's all that we can do."