The Warrensville Heights High School girls basketball team is looking to use the KeyBank Holiday Classic to gain some valuable experience against elite competition.

The Warrensville Heights High School girls basketball team is looking to use the KeyBank Holiday Classic to gain some valuable experience against elite competition.

The Tigers open the tournament Tuesday against Pickerington North, with the winner playing Dayton Chaminade Julienne or Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman in a semifinal on Wednesday.

Warrensville Heights, which is in the Cleveland area, competes in the Lake Erie League. The Tigers were 1-3 after losing to Lorain 60-34 last Saturday.

"We haven't established an identity yet," Tigers coach Eric Mitchell said. "I have four seniors on this team. Of the four, one is a true leader (Nautica Davis), and she knows how to lead. She knows the game real well, but she has some issues that we have to take care of.

"The good thing is basketball is a long season, because it gives us time to jell. Once we jell, we're going to be OK, but we just haven't got to that point yet."

The Tigers feature Davis, a 5-foot-5 senior guard who has received interest from several colleges, according to Mitchell. However, Davis' status for the tournament remains unclear as Mitchell called her questionable because of disciplinary reasons. She did not play against Lorain.

"If she is able to play when we get down there, it's going to be exciting for us," Mitchell said. "She gives us a real opportunity to be competitive with just about anybody that we play."

Other seniors are forward Emari Parks (5-7) and guards Chaquella Lemon (5-6) and Jameila Moore (5-6). Mitchell also expects contributions from junior forward Sohkna Seck (5-8) and junior center Bria Wright (5-9).

The Tigers hope the KeyBank Holiday Classic not only provides solid competition, but helps their team bond. This will be their first trip out of the Cleveland area since Mitchell took over the program four years ago.

Last season, the Tigers finished 7-13 after losing to Cleveland Central Catholic 39-35 in the second round of their district tournament.

Warrensville Heights was the final entry in the KeyBank Holiday Classic, replacing Florence (Ky.) Boone County, which pulled out of the event last June.

"After Boone County did not fulfill its contractual obligations, we did a nationwide search trying to get a team that had three games to fill on its schedule," Pickerington North coach Dave Butcher said. "Obviously, when the search is in July, this is a tough job since we try to have the schedule filled by February."