Westerville South High School girls basketball coach Silas Williams believes his team is loaded with potential and ready to improve on last season's 7-16 overall record.
The Wildcats return five players from a year ago.
"I don't want to disrespect anybody in our conference, but we'll be pretty decent," Williams said. "The (top) five (players) we have are very well placed. In the past, we had about six or seven guards, but this year we don't have as many guards, but we have guards and (post players) so it kind of matches."
South went 5-9 in the league last year to finish sixth behind champion Westerville North (14-0).
The Wildcats opened Nov. 22 by losing 54-48 to visiting Pickerington North. South begins league play Friday, Nov. 29, at Westerville North.
"We'll know right away where we're at," Williams said. "(Our early games) will be tough tests and I like it like that. If you want to play with the best, you have to play the best. Let's see where we're at. We'll be pretty good. We'll hold our own. We'll compete well."
Junior Chanelle Moore, a 6-foot guard/post player who "is very athletic," according to Williams, averaged a team-high 10 points and 9.0 rebounds last season and was second-team all-league.
Senior point guard Jada Smoot (5-5), who averaged 8.0 points and 3.0 assists, was honorable mention all-league.
"We have a good shot this season," Smoot said. "We have to communicate, look out for each other and really just trust one another."
Senior Cheyenne Raker (5-11, guard/post player), junior Audrey Sylvester (5-11, post player) and sophomore Kayla Ivey (6-1, post player) also return.
Ivey averaged 5.5 points in South's final eight games a year ago.
"Audrey has nice size," Williams said. "We're very well balanced. She will play (center)."
Sophomore Camille McLellan (5-5), a transfer from Dublin Scioto, will split time at point guard with Smoot.
Other players are juniors Mackenzi Crenshaw (5-8, post player), Erin Sylvester (5-8, guard/post player) and Adrianna Voyiatt (5-8, guard), sophomores Chasatea Brown (5-7, guard/post player), Maria Chellis (5-6, guard) and Chelsea Moore (5-10, guard) and freshman Gabby Marinelli (5-9, guard/post player).
Against Pickerington North, McLellan scored 16 points and Moore scored 13.
"We have quite a few new players, so we're very young," Williams said. "Inexperience is a concern. The bottom five plays hard, they're just a little inexperienced. The speed of the game is catching them a little bit, but they're coming along. They have some work to do, but they're coming along well."
Williams believes Westerville North remains the team to beat in the league, but he hopes his team will contend for the title.
"Westerville North is the team on top until somebody beats them," Williams said. "Hopefully, we'll have a say in that. As long we play well, we're pretty balanced. We have balanced scoring, good leadership and the girls get along, so as long as we stay disciplined we'll put it to the test."