Change is coming in more ways than one to the Pickerington High School Central girls basketball team.

Change is coming in more ways than one to the Pickerington High School Central girls basketball team.

Wade Brockwell, who spent the last eight seasons at Bexley, replaced Ken Schneider as coach last spring. After Central finished 21-4 with a 59-36 loss to West Chester Lakota West in a Division I regional final, Schneider announced his resignation after five seasons.

Brockwell, who posted a 155-72 mark at Bexley, brings with him new assistants, new offensive and defensive concepts and new terminology.

"It's been really hard," senior guard Katherine Spencer said. "The coaches had different mindsets, different plays and different offenses. It's a hard transition but we're getting there slowly."

As the Tigers open Saturday at Hilliard Davidson, Brockwell has seen improvement and learning throughout the preseason.

"The kids have been great," he said. "It's been slow for a while as this is a style different than what the kids were used to in the past. But throw all that together and we're making progress."

Of the nine players expected to return, seven actually did. They include Spencer (5-foot-5), seniors Samantha Griffith (6-0 post player), Emilee Harmon (6-2 post player) and Jessica Powell (5-8 guard), juniors Charlcia Agee (5-6 guard) and Amy Buccilla (5-10 guard) and sophomore Katie Stevens (5-6 guard).

Harmon has signed a letter of intent with Ohio State. Last season, she was named Player of the Year in the OCC-Cardinal Division and district, averaging team-highs in points (19.0), rebounds (8.0) and field-goal percentage (59.0) and leading in overall steals (39).

"We expect a ton from Emilee," Brockwell said. "Everyone knows how good she is and there are a lot of expectations on her. Maybe this season we'll have some different roles for her in terms of where she sees the ball. We're going to play at a little different pace than what they've been used to in the past."

One of Brockwell's changes to the offensive scheme is to play a more uptempo style. Central lost four graduates, including guard Kristen Stevens, Katie's sister. A Presbyterian College signee, she played point guard and had team-highs in assists (77) and 3-point field goal percentage (34.0) and finished with 123 career 3-point field goals, the program's second-most all-time. Stevens was first-team all-league and first-team all-district.

Joining Stevens in that class were bigger guards and a post player. The types of players the Tigers returned this season are quicker and the junior varsity call-ups have added to the team's depth. As a result, Central will play faster and try to pressure teams on both ends to make opponents earn baskets.

"Coach Schneider did an exceptional job and him and I are pretty close," Brockwell said. "We're not trying to say we're going to change things just to change things. With the personnel we have, we are a lot less physical and more guard oriented. So we are quicker and deeper than we've been in the past."

"I think it fits our team better," Powell said. "We have a lot of fast guards. Every game is going to be a challenge so we need to come out focused and be ready to play."

Because of the faster tempo, Brockwell has told all 12 players on the roster to expect to play.

"The best part of our team is that we have a fast team," Spencer said. "Last year we had offensive sets, but now we have a quick team that pushes the ball down the floor."

Also on the roster are seniors Jasmine Baker (5-6 guard) and Briana Johnson (5-9 post player), juniors Jasmine Cooper (5-11 post player) and Shelby Porter (5-8 guard) and freshman Taylor Jones (5-8 guard).

Last season, Central won the OCC-Cardinal Division at 10-0. The Tigers won their third consecutive district title, beating Dublin Scioto 70-62 in overtime.

Now, the Tigers are in the OCC-Ohio with Gahanna, Grove City, Groveport, Lancaster, Newark, North and Reynoldsburg.

"There's not one thing you can say that if we do that, we'll have a great season," Spencer said. "We've got to improve on everything like getting more in shape and improving on fundamentals. We have a hard schedule and nothing will be given to us. We have to work at it."

At a glance

•Coach: Wade Brockwell, first season

•Opener: Saturday at Hilliard Davidson

•Key players: Emilee Harmon, Jessica Powell and Katherine Spencer