The DeSales High School girls basketball team is building.

The DeSales High School girls basketball team is building.

There are few players on the team whose primary sport is basketball, and they are having to learn how to win games using raw athleticism and the 3-point shot.

"We don't necessarily have a lot of basketball players, but we have a lot of athletic players," said senior guard Cami Skladany, whose team opens Saturday at Newark Catholic. "And everyone we have can shoot."

Second-year coach Chris Joseph brought the philosophy of using the 3-point shot as a primary weapon with him when he took over, and the Stallions had to get adjusted to the new way of doing things while playing a schedule that seemingly included every top team in the state. It was a schedule built to gain exposure for couple of all-state players who ended up leaving the program before last year.

This year the schedule has been dialed down. Gone are games against traditional heavyweights like Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, Dublin Coffman, Dublin Scioto and Reynoldsburg.

In their place are games against Jonathan Alder (Dec. 10), Linden-McKinley (Dec. 6), North Union (Dec. 22) and Marion Harding (Jan. 27).

The lighter schedule and the way the players are picking up Joseph's scheme have created an optimism that the Stallions could have a better season than last year when they finished 9-13 overall and 7-3 in the CCL.

The Stallions finished second to Watterson (10-0) in the CCL, but struggled to win non-league games.

Skladany (5-foot-7), senior Shelby Strain (5-7) and junior Erin Doone (5-9) are expected to be the catalysts for the Stallions as the team's top perimeter players. In the post, senior Helen Scheblo (6-0) and sophomore Abby King (5-10) are expected to see a lot of minutes. All of them have the green light to shoot 3-pointers.

"Our 3-point shooting is awesome for sure," Strain said. "Pretty much everybody can shoot them."

Joseph said he had noticed during the preseason that the Stallions appeared to be shooting the 3-pointer with a better percentage during practice. He attributed the rise in consistency to the comfort level his team has with the offense. They made a drastic change a year ago, going from a set offense where most shots were the result of a called play to a motion offense that's more freewheeling.

"It's just like a pass-and-run offense," Skladany said. "We have so many things we can do off a couple of plays."

The Stallions defeated Centennial 56-34 in the second round of last year's Division II district tournament last year before falling to eventual district champion Mifflin 51-39 in a semifinal. Seeded eighth, the Stallions had a first round bye.

Also on the team are juniors Megan Bailey (5-9 guard), Katy Becker (5-5 guard) and Michelle Ritter (5-7 guard), sophomores Lynnsee Doran (5-9 post) and Maddie Lockhart (5-7 guard) and freshmen Kelsey Albanese (5-7 guard) and Tyler Craig (5-7 guard).

•The hockey team opens Friday at the Chiller in Dublin against Strongsville and plays Saturday at the Chiller in Dublin against Garfield Heights Trinity and Dublin Scioto. It will be under the direction of a new coach in Bob Heine, and he's taking the approach that the program never existed before this season.

"I'm looking to change the entire five years of DeSales hockey," Heine said. "When I came in, I said DeSales hockey tradition starts today. I want to come in and impose my philosophy of hard work."

Heine takes over for Tom Maxwell, who guided the Stallions to an 8-28-1 overall record and 1-11-1 mark in the Capital Hockey Conference a year ago. Hockey became a varsity sport in the 2006-07 season. Before that it existed as a club team.

The Stallions have already taken a hit on the ice with the loss of senior Josh Stemen, who will miss the season after suffering and ACL injury as a member of the boys soccer team. Without him the Stallions will turn to seniors Nico Conti, Taylor Janszen, Gordon Jones, Dominic Locilento, Ian Schneid and Pat Slattery.

Junior Joe Salerno returns after having started in goal as a freshman and sophomore. He leads a junior class which also includes Luke DeJarme, Charlie Derr, Jake Vasbinder and Michael William-son.

The sophomores on the team are Joe Ganobsik, J.P. Mazzocco and Brenden Whittaker. Jon Cave, Connor Hines, Chad Janszen, Nigel Mathias and Tyler McClary are the freshman.

"There is individual talent but unfortunately it's been that -- individuals playing as individuals," Heine said.