Although his team lost its top player from last season to graduation, Central Crossing High School girls basketball coach Neil Hohman believes the Comets can be contenders in the OCC-Central Division.
Jalynn Graham, a guard who averaged 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds last season and was named first-team all-league and third-team all-district, is playing at Division II Walsh University in North Canton.
"I'm pretty confident with our ability and our team," Hohman said. "We're pretty good at defense and taking care of the ball. We're still working on some ball-handling things, but we're where I'd thought we'd be right now. It's just kind of fine-tuning stuff to get us to that next level where we need to compete and fight for a league title."
Central Crossing, which opened Nov. 23 with a 47-25 loss at Washington Court House Miami Trace, plays host to Westland on Friday, Nov. 29, in its league opener.
Leading the returnees is 5-foot-9 senior point guard Michaela Dorsey, who was honorable mention all-league last season.
"I'm excited for the season," she said. "I know we're kind of young, but we're catching on fast. With our scrimmages, we're doing really well and learning the plays. We'll be just as a good or better as last year."
Other key returning players are seniors Hunter Taylor (5-9, guard/forward) and Danazjha White (6-0, post player).
Also back is 5-7 senior guard Alison Amos.
Other players are seniors Brittany Craig (5-8, guard), Francesca Elizalde (5-6, guard), Sorpresa Jones (5-6, post player) and Analyza Rosado (5-4, guard), juniors Cari Allen (5-8, guard), Allyson Johnson (5-4, point guard), Demi Knight (5-6, guard) and Mackenzie Pugh (5-10, post player) and sophomores Antishay Rahim (5-10, post player) and Hayley Whitt (5-9, forward). Whitt transferred from London.
Last season, Central Crossing tied Westland for fifth in the OCC-Central at 6-8, behind co-champions Dublin Coffman and Hilliard Davidson (12-2).
Hohman expects Coffman and Upper Arlington to be the top contenders in the league.
"We want to improve on those 13 wins," said Hohman, whose team was 13-10 overall last season. "You always want to be above .500, so that's a pretty good goal for us, to be that many wins or better this year."
Graham achieved a milestone in a 59-51 loss to Dublin Scioto in the second round of the Division I district tournament, as her late basket helped her reach 1,000 career points. The only other Central Crossing player to reach that mark was 2006 graduate Andrea Moore.
Also lost to graduation was guard Brooklyn Wooten, who averaged 11.5 points and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. She also is playing at Walsh.
"It's different than years past," Hohman said. "I had that other group from last year who were seniors. It looks a little different, but they're working hard. We're getting where we need to be. It's just getting the right mix of people with some younger players coming up and playing some varsity."