Westerville South High School girls basketball coach Jeff Brenning commended forward Brooke Robbins on her decision to use her left hand on a drive as the team worked through a five-on-five drill during practice Nov. 20.

Westerville South High School girls basketball coach Jeff Brenning commended forward Brooke Robbins on her decision to use her left hand on a drive as the team worked through a five-on-five drill during practice Nov. 20.

Any positive development the coaches saw in the 5-foot-11 junior's perimeter play was taken as a good sign that moving her to power forward was the right thing to do.

Robbins playing the spot has allowed 6-0 senior Sara Bace to move into the center spot, and with 6-0 junior guard Shanae` Ash out on the wing, the Wildcats now believe they can attack teams with their height, which wasn't always the case the last two seasons.

Robbins, who said she was continuing to grow comfortable in her new position which requires her to play outside in some offensive sets, had been playing as an undersized center in her previous two seasons on varsity. She was the starting post player last year as the Wildcats were 12-10 overall and 6-4 in the OCC-Cardinal Division, finishing third behind Pickerington Central (10-0) and Olentangy (7-3). Moving her and adding Bace to the lineup should pay immediate dividends.

"We're a better offensive rebounding team already," said Brenning, whose team opens Friday at home against Gahanna and plays at Thomas Worthington on Tuesday. "With her, Sara Bace and Shanaé Ash, those three are going to help us rebound the ball offensively and defensively."

Ash is coming off a season in which she made a program-record 40 3-pointers and averaged 12 points in being named first-team all-OCC-Cardinal. She is in her second season with South and is looking to have an even stronger year. She said that now she knows her teammates better and that the system wasn't as difficult to pick up this year.

South also returns senior Katherine Calo (5-7), a third-year starter at point guard who averaged 7.0 points and 4.0 assists last year. She gives the Wildcats an experienced ball-handler and Brenning has noticed her offense has improved, which should make her more unpredictable to the opponent as she looks to do more than simply distribute the ball.

Entering the final week of the preseason, Ash, Bace, Calo and Robbins were locks to make the starting lineup. The one perimeter spot still being tightly contested was between juniors Sarah Myles, a 5-7 guard who earned time as a starter last year because of her 3-point shooting, and 5-7 Rachel Ross, another returning letterwinner.

The Wildcats also return Lauren Kesselring (5-10), who will play both power forward and center. They have a newcomer in junior Caitlin Boroff (5-8) who will see minutes at forward.

The Wildcats are looking to use freshman Morgan Neighbors as the backup point guard, and she's hardly the only freshman the Wildcats are looking to get playing time. They also have a 6-1 forward in Rylee Holman, who is being groomed to one day be the team's primary post player. Having a freshman understudy at the point has added to Calo's responsibility. She said the most valuable information she can convey is going to come on the defensive side where the Wildcats focus most of their energy.

"We take a lot of pride in our defense," Calo said. "(The freshman are) just going to have to know that it's working hard at it."

Brenning said a key to this season would be their ability to develop depth as early in the season as possible. Behind Calo, they want to make sure they have someone that can come in to handle the ball and run the offense. They lost some of that ball-handling ability with the graduation of Dawn Rollyson and seniors Caitlin Stiles and Courtney Stiles not returning to the team this season.

Also on the team are juniors Alyssa Allen (5-8), Cierra Jackson (5-9) and freshman Erica Aiello (5-2).

They most likely will be splitting time between the varsity and junior varsity teams.

Last season, the Wildcats season ended with a 49-32 loss to Reynoldsburg in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

At a glance

•Coach: Jeff Brenning, eighth season

•Opener: Friday vs. Gahanna

•Key players: Shanae` Ash, Katherine Calo and Brooke Robbins