Having lost the majority of his team's offense from last season, Westerville South High School boys basketball coach Ed Calo knows there will be an adjustment period as a new group of players acclimates itself to the varsity level.
South scored more than 1,400 points last season, but only 123 of those were scored by returning players.
If the Wildcats play strong defense and limit mental mistakes, the transition period for the offense will be limited, according to Calo, who is in his 27th season.
"That's what we expect from our people," he said. "That's what we do. That's who we are."
The Wildcats opened Nov. 29 by losing 72-67 to visiting Reynoldsburg. South led 24-19 at halftime and 42-40 after three quarters.
Sophomores Jelani Rogers (5-foot-9, guard) and Andre Wesson (6-5, forward) each scored 12 points. Both have previous varsity experience.
"We're trying to win championships and doing what we have to do to get there," Wesson said. "We work extremely hard. We were in the weight room working hard over the summer. Practices are hard every day."
Sophomore guards Jordan Humphrey (6-1) and Daylan Haynie (5-10) each scored 10 points in the opener. Humphrey also has varsity experience.
The Wildcats begin OCC-Cardinal Division play Friday, Dec. 6, at Canal Winchester.
Last season, South finished 16-8 overall and third (9-5) in the OCC-Cardinal behind champion Westerville North (14-0).
Other returning players are juniors Chris Cook (6-2, guard) and John Edwards (5-11, guard).
Also on the roster are senior Kashawn Guice (6-0, guard), juniors D.J. Dingess (6-2, guard) and Yahya Afdal (5-9, guard), sophomore Ennis Thomas (6-0, guard) and freshmen Anthony Mills (5-11, guard) and Caleb Wesson (6-7, post player).
The Wildcats lost six players from a year ago to graduation. The biggest loss was Marcus Ball, who is a freshman defensive back on the Arizona State football team. He averaged 15.5 points and 5.4 rebounds last season and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
Another 2013 graduate, Trent Slade, averaged 9.6 points and 8.4 rebounds and was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district last season.
Another key loss was Kyran McClure, who moved to North Carolina. He averaged 8.3 points and was honorable mention all-league last year as a freshman.
"We lost a lot of people, but that's not something we concern ourselves with," Calo said. "We concern ourselves with effort and execution, and whomever you have, you have to have those kids do that. We like our kids."
Calo hopes his team makes strides throughout the season and contends for a league title.
"We're young," he said. "It's a good sign if those young guys are good and it gives them a great opportunity. It's an opportunity for these young guys to get some valuable experience. We've been in that situation before. Usually when we're in that kind of situation, what happens is those young guys turn out to be pretty good players for us."