In its fifth season, the Hilliard Bradley High School girls basketball team believes it has what it takes to challenge for the OCC-Cardinal Division championship and make a run in the Division I district tournament.
The Jaguars return eight players, including four starters, from last season, when they finished 12-11 overall, went 8-6 in the league to place fourth behind champion Westerville North (14-0) and lost to Teays Valley 68-54 in the first round of the district tournament.
"We definitely have a lot of potential," 5-foot-8 senior guard Christy Tieman said. "The key for us will be to work together as a team. We have strong players in the post and I think if we work hard and each of us does our role, we can contend for an OCC championship."
The returning starters are Tieman, 5-8 senior guard Jenna Fodor, 6-1 junior post player Meredith Miller and 5-11 junior guard and post player Ashley Hummel. Tieman is in her third season as a starter.
"Christy Tieman can play four positions and is a great leader who has been a four-year contributor," said fifth-year coach Kathy Lindsey, whose team opened Nov. 22 with a 38-16 win over Davidson and began OCC-Cardinal play Nov. 26 at Darby. "She is an excellent all-around player.
"Meredith Miller played as a freshman and she led the team in scoring and rebounding as a sophomore. Hummel also played as a freshman. Those two provide a strong 1-2 punch in the post area."
Miller was named first-team all-league and Hummel was honorable mention all-league last season.
Also back are senior Shelby Haworth (5-7, guard), junior Ashley Rondy (5-6, guard/post player) and sophomores Grace Fodor (5-7, guard) and Juliet Allen (5-10, post player).
Rounding out the roster are senior Jennifer Espenschied (5-6, guard) and sophomores Haylie Phillips (5-9, post player) and Alex Yee (5-5, guard).
"We must have strong senior and junior leadership from our returning players to have success," said Lindsey, whose team won seven of its final 11 games last season. "We also need to have strong defense and rebounding, which will lead to our offensive production."
Bradley, which doesn't play again until Dec. 6 when it travels to Dublin Jerome for a league game, will continue to use the strategies and philosophies that Lindsey installed during the program's inaugural season.
"We like to play a pressure-oriented, player-to-player defense," she said.
"We will play some zone defense and we will use full-court pressure. Our offense and transition starts with good defense. We like a motion offense with selected quick-hitters."