If nothing else, Brian Cromwell wants to establish consistency in his second season as the DeSales High School girls basketball coach.

If nothing else, Brian Cromwell wants to establish consistency in his second season as the DeSales High School girls basketball coach.

He already has, to some extent. Cromwell became the program's fourth coach in five years when he was hired before the 2010-11 season, and by virtue of returning for a second season has a jump on implementing the philosophies he sought to teach last year.

"We talked about it all of last year - the key (to success) is consistency from game to game, week to week and practice to practice," Cromwell said. "I hope this year the girls have a better understanding of what's expected and what to look for from day to day. The girls bought in pretty well toward the end of last season."

The dribble-drive motion offense Cromwell learned from University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari, and which he brought from his time as an assistant in DeSales' boys program, helped the girls finish 12-10 overall and 4-4 in the CCL last year. The Stallions averaged 53 points per game and allowed an average of 47.

The Stallions lost 55-40 to third-seeded Hilliard Bradley in a Division II district semifinal. They placed third in the CCL behind Watterson (7-1) and Hartley (6-2) and ahead of Ready (2-6) and Columbus School for Girls (1-7).

"We were up and down," Cromwell said. "We played teams tough, but we didn't always finish. We had two close games with Watterson, a close game with Hartley and we had shots to beat Hilliard Bradley. Building some success early on and winning some more of the close games will be big for us this year."

Six players - senior guards Tyler Craig (5-foot-9), McKenzie Cook (5-8) and Jordan Barnett (5-6) and junior guards Alvi Shivley (5-6), Michelle Seifert (5-7) and Erin Kuisti (5-5) - missed most or all of the first two weeks of preseason practice because their fall sports made lengthy postseason runs.

Barnett, Shivley, Seifert and Kuisti helped the girls soccer team win the Division II state championship, and Craig and Cook played prominent roles as the volleyball team won a district title and reached a Division II regional final. Craig, who was named second-team all-district last season, signed a letter of intent Nov. 9 to play at Bucknell University, a Patriot League school in Lewisburg, Pa.

Other guards are 5-8 senior Kelsey Albanese, 5-5 junior Miranda Johnson, 5-7 senior Nina Marie Powell and 5-7 junior Aubrey Caslin, who is expected to return from a back injury by mid-December.

Johnson has shot 50 percent from 3-point range the past two seasons, Cromwell said.

Inside presences will include 5-11 sophomores Erin Brnusak and Nicole Tule.

DeSales opens Saturday, Nov. 26, at Zanesville, then has another road game Monday, Nov. 28, at Newark before its home opener Dec. 5 against Jonathan Alder. The CCL opener is Dec. 14 at Ready.

"It's a tough league year-in and year-out," Cromwell said. "Hartley, Watterson and Ready were pretty young last year, so they'll be a year better. We just have to play as hard as we can and exploit whatever weaknesses we can find."

•Thirteen goals in two scrimmages during a trip to Cincinnati on Nov. 11 and 12 further encourage fourth-year hockey coach Bob Heine's hope that the program will progress further in its fifth season.

"We have a large contingent of underclassmen (nine sophomores and three freshmen) and the growth and maturity with those nine had a huge impact on our summer work," Heine said. "I was proud of the guys in Cincinnati (a 4-2 win over St. Xavier on Nov. 11 and a 9-4 win over Sycamore on Nov. 12). All of it translated well onto the ice. But it was about a lot more than who scored the goals, like the guy who took the hit that cleared a path to the net. We've had good efforts every time we've been on the ice so far."

DeSales opens Friday, Nov. 25, against Oregon Clay in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North. The Stallions' Capital Hockey Conference opener is Dec. 16 against St. Charles at Chiller Easton.

Sophomore goaltenders Ben Risinger, who started as a freshman, and Roberto Bahensky will split time in net, and the defense will consist of senior Chad Janszen, sophomores Kyle Ghiloni, Hunter Chapman and Thomas Gorman and freshmen Holden Chapman and Grant Howard.

The forward lines will consist of senior captain Tyler McClary, junior captain Joe Gray and sophomore Tyler Klutch on the top line, sophomores Danny Helin and Josh Van Cuyk and freshman Tyler Barrett on the second line and seniors Jon Cave, Brenden Whittaker and Nigel Mathias on the third line.

Also providing depth at forward will be seniors Connor Hines and Gerardo Nieto and sophomore Colm Crotty.

The Stallions went 3-9-0-1 (7 points) in the league last year to finish 11th, behind co-champions Dublin Jerome and Olentangy Liberty (12-1, 24), Cincinnati Moeller (11-2, 22), Dublin Coffman (10-2-1, 21), Upper Arlington (7-4-1-1, 16), St. Charles (7-4-2, 16), Olentangy Orange (6-4-3, 15), Olentangy (7-6, 14), Thomas Worthington (5-7-1, 11) and Gahanna (4-9, 8) and ahead of Worthington Kilbourne (2-11, 4), Dublin Scioto (1-12, 2) and Watterson (0-13, 0).

"We've had the program for five years and we feel like we're building a nice foundation," Heine said. "Now we have a full roster, and there are a lot of seventh- and eighth-graders considering all the opportunities DeSales gives them academically and athletically."