The roster for the Olentangy Orange High School girls basketball team lists 5-foot-7 point guard Taylor Agler as a sophomore. Most opponents probably believe that's a typo.

The roster for the Olentangy Orange High School girls basketball team lists 5-foot-7 point guard Taylor Agler as a sophomore. Most opponents probably believe that's a typo.

Agler, who started as a freshman for the Pioneers, came back this season savvier and more mature as a player.

"Coming into this season, we didn't have any seniors on this team and only five juniors," said Agler, one of six sophomores on varsity. "We can't use the excuse 'We're only sophomores.' We have to play like seniors and act like seniors."

Orange's record shows the underclassmen have stepped up. After beating Westerville South 65-41 on Jan. 18 and Mount Vernon 66-22 on Jan. 21, the Pioneers were 14-1 overall before playing OCC-Capital Division rival Big Walnut on Jan. 25. Their lone loss was 48-43 to Northland on Dec. 13.

The Pioneers, seeking their first OCC-Capital title, went into the Big Walnut game at 9-0 in the league, two games ahead of the second-place Golden Eagles (7-2). New Albany and Hilliard Bradley were tied for third at 6-2, followed by Delaware (4-5), Mount Vernon (2-7), Watkins Memorial (1-8) and Franklin Heights (0-9).

"It's going to be a very important week for us," Agler said. "Winning the OCC is our first goal for the season and Big Walnut, New Albany and Bradley are all up there in the standings."

Agler's role has changed from the one she played while helping Orange finish 17-5 last year. Last season, she was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district while averaging 10.6 points, 4.4 assists and 3.0 steals.

Agler's scoring average has dropped to 6.9 points a game this season, and she has reached double figures only four times. But she's averaging 7.9 assists and 4.4 steals.

First-year coach Mary Ann Grimes said Agler's role is not necessarily to be a scorer.

"Each person on our team has a job," Grimes said. "Taylor's job is to run the team. She has three choices: hit the open man, penetrate or take the open shot. She has to make the right decision."

"Scoring is not my (primary) role," Agler said. "I love helping set up my teammates and (Grimes) has given me the opportunity to do that."

It's a formula that worked well for Grimes during her 12-year run at Dublin Coffman. During Grimes' tenure, the Shamrocks often had savvy point guards leading the way, including Sam MacKay, who is now playing at the University of Dayton, and Tiffany Crocker, who guided Gannon University to a 37-1 record and an NCAA Division II Final Four appearance during the 2009-10 season.

While scouting Orange last year for her friend, Bradley coach Kathy Lindsey, Grimes saw something that led her to believe Agler could be in the same mold as Crocker or MacKay.

"I saw she was a very talented individual," Grimes said. "When I took over as coach, I just wanted to keep pushing the talent. She's done a great job in learning my system.

"Taylor has such a great knowledge of the game. She's like having a coach on the floor."

Agler is a product of her environment. Her father, Brian, coaches the Seattle Storm in the WNBA. He compiled a 248-135 collegiate record with stints at Kansas State, Missouri-Kansas City and Northeast Oklahoma A&M. He also coached the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA and the Columbus Quest in the now defunct ABL before taking over the Storm.

Taylor can remember going out to Seattle and studying the play of point guard Sue Bird, one of a half dozen players to win an NCAA championship, WNBA title and an Olympic gold medal.

"I've learned so much from my dad," Taylor said. "He and I will analyze everything about my game. He's my biggest supporter, but he's also the first person to point out what I did wrong."

Liberty will try to end a three-game drought against Olentangy when the Patriots play host to the Braves on Friday, Jan. 28.

Olentangy defeated Liberty 72-31 on Dec. 18. In that game, Lydia Hyburg scored 16 points for the Braves, who held a 29-13 lead at halftime.

The Braves were 6-0 in January before playing Marysville on Jan. 25, winning games by an average of 13.8 points.

The Patriots also have been playing better in the new year. After losing four in a row, they had won back-to-back games before playing Dublin Jerome on Jan. 25.

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for Liberty, Olentangy and Orange girls basketball teams:

LIBERTY

*Jan. 21 - Defeated Marysville 38-27. Maddie Redwine had nine points. The Patriots outscored the Monarchs 10-0 in the third quarter.

*Jan. 25 - Played Dublin Jerome

*Jan. 28 - Home vs. Olentangy. The Patriots lost to the Braves 72-31 on Dec. 18.

Of note: The Patriots were 3-10 overall and 2-7 in the OCC-Cardinal before Jan. 25.

OLENTANGY

Jan. 18 - Def. Delaware 64-41. Brooke Zwayer had 17 points. Megan Beidelman and Katie Heath added 10 each.

*Jan. 21 - Def. Dublin Scioto 54-32. No one scored in double figures, but the Braves had eight players score four to nine points.

*Jan. 25 - Played Marysville

*Jan. 28 - At Liberty

Feb. 1 - At Big Walnut

Of note: The Braves were 11-2 overall and 8-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before Jan. 25.

*OCC-Cardinal game

ORANGE

Jan. 18 - Def. Westerville South 65-41. Ashley Bassett-Smith had 17 points and Kelsey Lewis and Maddy Joseph added 13 each.

*Jan. 21 - Def. Mount Vernon 66-22. Mya Walker had 21 points.

*Jan. 25 - Played Big Walnut

*Jan. 28 - At New Albany. The Pioneers defeated the Eagles 54-36 on Dec. 17.

Of note: The Pioneers were 14-1 overall and 9-0 in the OCC-Capital before Jan. 25.

*OCC-Capital game