After finishing 4-17 overall last season, Marysville High School girls basketball coach Aric Tucker realizes it's important for his team to get off to a good start this year.
Although the Monarchs lost to Bellefontaine 46-34 in their opener Nov. 27 at home, Tucker has seen glimpses of promise.
"Last year in practice, it was not very good," he said. "The kids are practicing harder and they are trying to do the things that we ask them to do, and I think our chemistry is better."
Sophomore Hannah Long, a 6-foot-1 forward, led Marysville with 11 points against Bellefontaine. Long is one of the players who Tucker believes will be a focal point of the offense inside.
Senior Kayla Ogan (5-9, guard) had the Monarchs' lone 3-pointer in the opener, as they shot 31 percent from the field and 14 percent on 3s.
Marysville also was 5-for-15 from the foul line.
"We had opportunities, but we missed too many layups and our free-throw shooting was horrendous," said Tucker, who is in his ninth season.
Marysville trailed 17-11 after one quarter and 27-14 at halftime. The Monarchs cut the deficit to 36-29 early in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get closer.
"You can't give up 17 points in the first quarter and expect to win," Tucker said. "It doesn't matter who you're playing."
The other returning post players are senior Katy Turner (6-0) and junior Sarah Wiseman (6-0).
"Our strength is inside and I think we'll see that eventually," Tucker said. "I don't think we'll have a night when Katy Turner and Hannah Long are missing two-foot shots, along with other kids."
Turner said the players are working to improve their chemistry.
"We have higher hopes than last year," she said. "We have to work harder in practice like coach said and we really just have to play as a team. We have to stop our arguing on the court. We have to understand each other and work better. It's a work in progress."
Also back are senior Katie Basinger (5-10, guard/post player) and juniors Brooke Napolitano (5-5, guard) and Meranda Wilson (5-9, guard).
Napolitano scored six points against Bellefontaine.
Other players are senior Katherine Armstrong (6-2, post player), junior Hannah Staats (5-7, guard), sophomores Mikayla Hughes (5-10, guard/post player) and Elizabeth Williams (5-7, guard) and freshman Taylor Eberhart (5-10, guard).
Marysville opened OCC-Central Division play against Hilliard Davidson on Nov. 30.
Last season, the Monarchs lost to Dublin Coffman 63-26 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
Coffman is the defending OCC-Central champion. Marysville moved to the league from the OCC-Cardinal, along with Olentangy Liberty.
Last season, Marysville finished seventh (2-12) in the OCC-Cardinal, behind Olentangy (13-1), Dublin Scioto (11-3), Westerville North (9-5), Dublin Jerome (8-6), Westerville South (8-6) and Liberty (5-9) and ahead of Westerville Central (0-14).