The Centennial High School girls basketball team is relatively young with three sophomores, one junior and a senior in its starting lineup.
Sophomore point guard Alyssa Dean said the Stars, who finished 16-7 overall last season, view their youth as a strength rather than a weakness.
"Our team is a lot younger this season but we think it's a good thing because we're going to progress as we learn to play together, and once we all reach our potential, we're going to be unstoppable," Dean said.
The Stars feature five returning starters in sophomores Akiya Brown (5-foot-6, guard), Dean (5-9) and DeAuja Thompson (5-11, wing player), junior Isabella Luaces (5-7, guard) and senior Aryn Brnusak (5-9, center).
Dean averaged team highs of 14.5 points, 2.9 assists and 3.7 steals last season and was named first-team all-City League-North Division.
Thompson averaged 12.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals, and Brown averaged 6.5 points.
Junior forward Marissa Robertson (5-10) missed last season with a torn knee ligament, but she averaged 5.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals while starting as a freshman.
"We're a relatively young team and we haven't been blessed with a lot of size, but we have plenty of talent," coach Darrin Green said.
Completing the roster are senior wing player Jordan Carter (5-7) and freshmen Aysia Ashley (5-9, forward), Makenzee Green (5-6, guard), Sydney Moore (5-8, wing player) and Brooke Spann (5-2, guard).
"We have a lot of stars, so we need to accommodate each other's playing style to make sure that we each have the opportunity to shine individually," Brnusak said.
After finishing second in the City-North during coach Green's first two seasons, the Stars hope they are ready to challenge defending champion Northland for the title.
Centennial opened Nov. 25 at Upper Arlington and begins league play Tuesday, Dec. 3, against visiting Columbus International.
"We're expected to be one of the better teams in the City and in Division II in our area, so we have big goals," coach Green said. "Northland remains the team to be beat, because they still have the talent, name and image of being the City champions until their run is ended."
The Stars won 13 of their first 17 games last season, picking up wins over OCC opponents Westland (45-41), Dublin Jerome (45-44) and Upper Arlington (60-53) along the way.
Centennial also beat Brookhaven 52-44 to avenge an earlier 53-44 loss to the Bearcats and tie them for second in the City-North at 11-3, behind Northland (14-0).
But the Stars, who were seeded fifth in the Division II district tournament, lost three of their last six games, including their postseason opener at home against 15th-seeded Caledonia River Valley 56-53.
"We like to run the court and be a fast-paced offensive team, but our defense is what will carry us," Dean said. "Northland is going to be our best competition again this year, but we can definitely compete for our league championship with the talent we have."