Stephen Clines enters his second season as coach of the girls basketball team at Westland High School looking to improve after last year's team finished 6-15 overall and 2-8 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

Stephen Clines enters his second season as coach of the girls basketball team at Westland High School looking to improve after last year's team finished 6-15 overall and 2-8 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

The Cougars, who will open Saturday at Grove City, lost to Logan 57-26 in the first round of the Division I district tournament last year. From that team, they lost graduate Kaylee Baker, who averaged 12.3 points and was first-team all-OCC.

Leading the charge this season should be senior guards Carly Beasy and Kemekea Washington and senior guard and forward Shawna Collins.

"I've been very pleased and impressed with Kemekea Washington," Clines said. "She has become more vocal and doing a very nice job. Carly has always been a good leader. Shawna Collins is doing a nice job with things also."

Beasy was honorable mention all-OCC-Ohio last season.

Clines also expects contributions from senior post players Megan Hogan and Dara Paxson and senior guard and forward Valarie Gilmore.

Juniors Hiba Abdi (guard) and Skylar Allman (post player/forward), sophomore Kelsie Bowman (post player) and freshman Jasmine Junkins (post player) round out the team.

"Our guards will step up and have a more active role in scoring," Clines said. "Last year we looked to get it inside to Kaylee a little more. This year I think the guards will take over and do a little bit more scoring, but you don't really replace Kaylee that way. You're just trying to get others who will step up and help out."

Westland now is in the OCC-Central, which should be led by Dublin Coffman. Last season, the Shamrocks reached a regional final before falling to West Chester Lakota West 62-48. Coffman entered that game 25-0 and was first in the final state poll.

"Coffman basically has their whole team back, so they are loaded," Clines said.

Others in the league are Central Crossing, Hilliard Darby, Hilliard Davidson, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington and Worthington Kilbourne to provide challenges.

"Everybody in there is going to be good," Clines said. "There's not a weak team that you can look at the schedule and say 'we know we have a win here.'"

Westland will meet SouthWestern rival Central Crossing for the first time in league play Dec. 5 at home. The teams will play again at Central Crossing on Jan. 16.

"Obviously, I will know our players a little better and they will know our system a little better," Clines said. "The negative is it's a brand new league because we got everything reshuffled, so some of the knowledge that you acquired is now no longer useful and you're going to have to learn about a lot of new teams."

Last season, the Cougars finished fifth in the OCC-Ohio behind Gahanna (9-1), Lancaster (8-2), Darby (7-3) and Newark (3-7) and ahead of Groveport (1-9).

"As long as we show improvement and keep getting better that is our goal," Clines said. "Wins and losses take care of themselves, and I don't get too preoccupied with the numbers thing of we have to win X number of games because you're setting yourself for disappointment if it doesn't happen. The bottom line is: are we improving, are we getting better, are we competitive. Those are the goals that we're looking at."

At a glance

•Coach: Stephen Clines, second season

•Opener: Saturday at Grove City

•Key returnees: Carly Beasy, Shawna Collins and Kemekea Washington