Replacing the scoring of graduate Laura Carey is the biggest challenge facing the Licking Heights High School girls basketball team.

Replacing the scoring of graduate Laura Carey is the biggest challenge facing the Licking Heights High School girls basketball team.

The Hornets finished just 7-14 overall a year ago but enjoyed better success during the second half, winning five of the final seven regular-season games. Despite a 52-47 loss to Granville in the first round of the Division II district tournament, they'd like to pick up where they left off, but to do that one or more individuals will have to step up offensively.

Carey, a shooting guard who was third-team all-district, averaged 13.4 points as a senior and was the leading scorer most games.

"Our biggest problem is we don't have a proven scorer now that (Carey is) gone. We have some experience coming back, but it's always difficult trying to replace a three-year letterwinner," said coach Mike Windholtz, whose team will open Saturday against Canal Winchester. "We're still looking at our scoring options. We'll try to run a balanced attack and spread the ball around."

Senior point guard Tiffany Brehm is back at the control of the offense, and she might have to pick up her scoring production until some of the younger perimeter players develop.

Inside, look for 5-foot-9 senior Jasmin Weems at a forward spot and 5-10 senior Kaitie Corns in the post. The Hornets have better size. Weems averaged 9.6 points a year ago scoring mostly with offensive rebounds and in transition and was honorable mention all-district honors. Jamie Finan is the fourth senior, and 5-9 junior forward Lashante Lantz is another newcomer.

Junior Alyx Jeffries, who is 5-9 and should be one of the defensive anchors, also can play forward but might see some time early at guard out of necessity.

In the backcourt, sophomore Chelsea Boorse has a nice shot and can play the point if needed. Classmate Kailee Stevens might be the point guard of the future, and she'll probably be on the floor at least some with Brehm. Nicole Raike is another sophomore guard, and Windholtz has two others on the junior varsity who might help.

The MSL-Cardinal Division opener is Dec. 2 at West Jefferson. The Hornets went 5-9 to finish fifth a year ago in the league, which was won by Harvest Prep (13-1).

"Outside of Harvest Prep, I think the league's pretty balanced. A lot of seniors left at Liberty Union (including league Player of the Year Katie Stallard) and (Division IV district-champion) Fisher Catholic," said Wildholtz, who is 48-56 entering his sixth season. "Harvest Prep had some changeover, too, but they've got a lot of athletes. And West Jefferson has their big scorer (junior guard K.C. Elkins) back."