Brookhaven will have a new coach for the first time in more than three decades, but there are plenty of reasons to believe it might not have a significant drop-off under Darris Gattis.

Brookhaven will have a new coach for the first time in more than three decades, but there are plenty of reasons to believe it might not have a significant drop-off under Darris Gattis.

In addition to returning two starters, the Bearcats have added five transfers, including two players who played for Gattis a year ago when he was the coach at East.

"On paper, things don't look bad, but there's been a lot of movement and what we have to do is mesh with one another," Gattis said. "When you add five girls to a team that was in the district finals, it's going to take a little bit of time."

Gattis took over in the offseason for Reggie Lee, who retired at season's end after leading the Bearcats to the 1996 state title, seven district titles, nine City titles and 515 victories in 30 seasons.

Last winter, Brookhaven was 16-6 overall, including losing to Reynoldsburg 50-37 in a district final.

Back as starters are senior guard Jasmine Johnson and senior forward Essence Bates-Hatcher. Johnson, who has signed with Wright State, averaged 9.0 points and was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-league. Bates-Hatcher is 6-0 and averaged 7.5 points while making second-team all-league.

Other returnees are juniors Myiesha Arnold, Renee Cheeks and Kristina Tweedy and sophomores Marquita Brown (3.1 ppg) and Aarin White.

Senior Alana Lassiter, a 6-1 forward who averaged 21 points for East last season and made first-team all-league, first-team all-district, second-team all-state and Super 12 honorable mention, heads a group of newcomers.

Also joining the program are 6-0 junior Jade' Gattis (8.1 ppg), who is the coach's daughter, junior Kai'Azha O'Daniel, sophomores Courtland Crego and Fredtasia Luttery and freshman Nazerae Butler.

Gattis also played for East last season, while Crego was at Africentric and Luttery and O'Daniel are move-ins from Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., respectively. Lassiter has signed with Delaware State.

According to coach Gattis, Crego, Gattis and Lassiter were able to transfer without having to sit out one calendar year because both East and Africentric are on the state's academic emergency list.

Under Gattis, East went 143-163 and made it to Division II district semifinals five times, including last season.

Brookhaven, which finished second in the City-North last year, beat Westerville South 47-38 and Pickerington Central 54-46 in the district tournament before falling to the Raiders.

Travecia Franklin averaged 9.2 points and made Super 12 to lead a 2011 senior class that also included Chanae Ward (8.8 ppg), Briana Holmes (14.1 ppg) and Marah Morris (7.8 ppg). Franklin and Morris are at Indiana State and Holmes is at Marist.

Morris played the first five games last season before sustaining a season-ending injury. Holmes played the first 11 before becoming ineligible.

"We're very deep," coach Gattis said. "It's just going to take some time to blend."