Although the game was a scrimmage, Westerville Central High School guard Halle Kramer believes the girls basketball team's 43-30 win over Olentangy Orange on Nov. 19 proves the Warhawks can have a successful season.
Central is looking to improve on last year's 9-14 record.
"With these scrimmages is where we've gotten most of our confidence," said Kramer, a 5-foot-6 senior. "(The scrimmages have) increasingly gotten better, so we just have to keep getting better."
In coach Jamiya Pride's first season in 2011-12, the Warhawks finished 0-21. Last season, Central went 7-7 in the OCC-Cardinal Division to finish fifth behind champion Westerville North (14-0).
Central lost to Mount Vernon 41-37 in the first round of last year's Division I district tournament, while Orange is coming off a 26-3 season in which it lost in a state semifinal.
"For us, it's about the tournament," Pride said. "We have some goals for ourselves. If we can be able to be physically sound before February and March, we'll be ready to go. Anything is possible."
Kramer believes a realistic goal is at least 17 wins.
"If we keep working hard, we can do it," she said.
The Warhawks opened Nov. 22 by winning 45-42 at league-foe Dublin Jerome, outscoring the Celtics 15-4 in the fourth quarter.
Junior guard Andrea Hodge (5-8) had 13 points and seven rebounds, and sophomore post player Emma Stille (5-11) had nine points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Kramer added 10 points.
Hodge was first-team all-league last season and Stille, who averaged a team-high 9.5 rebounds, was honorable mention all-league.
"Emma is getting better and better," Pride said. "This is only her second year. Hopefully she maintains her good confidence and stays out of foul trouble. She's going to be really, really good."
Junior guard Imani Steele (5-5) also returns and is a captain along with Hodge and Kramer.
Senior post player Arie Williams (5-10) returns after she played in the program as a sophomore but opted not to play last season.
"Arie has a lot of athletic ability," Pride said. "She's going to help us."
Other players are sophomores Megan Bomar (5-7, guard), Taylor Feinman (5-3, guard) and Morghan Hyatt (5-11, post player) and freshmen Maddy Burtner (5-7, guard) and Lexi Todd (5-7, guard).
Feinman is a transfer from Liberty Union.
Pride again is looking to use a fast-paced style and defensive pressure led by Hodge at the point and Stille in the middle.
"Nothing has changed," Pride said of the game plan. "We just didn't have the personnel (before) to be able to do it as much as we would have liked. We're still not in shape as far as being where we want to be, but we plan on pressing a lot."
Central lost six players from a year ago to graduation, including Megan Mills, who averaged a team-high 10 points and was special mention all-league.
"We've been really focusing on defense, so that's been our main goal," Kramer said. "Losing our six seniors last year, we've really had to work with the new, younger players."