Hannah Fecht has heard that people outside the program don't expect much from the Hilliard Davidson High School girls basketball team this season.
The 5-foot-9 junior guard said that doesn't bother her or her teammates. After all, not many people predicted that the Wildcats would have the season they did last year when they went 20-4 overall and won their first league title since 1998.
"I think people are going to underestimate us again this year because we lost some good players and we have a small team," Fecht said. "But we (exceeded expectations) last season and I think we're going to be better than most people expect us to be again this season because we have great team chemistry and everyone's working hard in practice."
Davidson, which opened Nov. 22 with a 38-16 loss to Bradley and began OCC-Central Division play Nov. 25 against Marysville, returns two starters in Fecht and 5-5 senior point guard Lea Edler.
Also on the team are senior Charlee Clark (5-10, post player), junior Anne Schroeder (5-10, post player), sophomores Cambree Friedman (5-10, guard), Baylee Lawson (5-9, guard/forward), Maddie Oakley (5-11, post player), Cassidy Rowe (5-5, guard) and Madison Smith (5-5, guard) and freshman Cassie Koenig (5-4, guard).
Junior post player Faryn Buchanan (5-10) likely would have been a starter but is expected to miss the entire season with a knee injury.
The Wildcats lost three starters to graduation in Lauren Bates, Bri Ekanem and Ashley Hurt.
Bates averaged 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds last season and was named OCC-Central Player of the Year and third-team all-district in Division I. Hurt averaged 11 points and 6.2 rebounds.
"Our biggest strength is that we are athletic at every position," coach Joy Taylor said. "We need to grow up quickly because we are also a very young team. I think a big key for us is that our girls learn how to play hard consistently and we need new leaders to step up. We lost a lot of leadership last year and we are expecting our younger players to fill that void."
Davidson went 12-2 in the OCC-Central last season to tie Dublin Coffman for the league championship. The teams split their two meetings, with the Wildcats winning 42-20 and losing 46-40.
"Coffman is a big rival for us and will be a good team this year with the majority of their team from last year coming back," Taylor said.
"But in our league, every game is intense and it will be a challenge every night to get wins."
Davidson plays host to Pickerington North on Monday, Dec. 2. Its next league game is Dec. 6 at Coffman.
"We're just going to do the best we can to knock teams off," Edler said. "We'd rather score more in transition and play a little more outside the paint because we have a really small team.
"Defensively, we need to bring a lot of pressure because we need to keep the ball out of the paint."