The first season for the Worthington Christian High School girls basketball team under coach Adam Heath was one of central Ohio's unquestioned success stories during the 2010-11 season.

The first season for the Worthington Christian High School girls basketball team under coach Adam Heath was one of central Ohio's unquestioned success stories during the 2010-11 season.

After going 4-17 and 6-14 during the previous two seasons, the Warriors had just one senior but improved to 16-6 and made it to a Division IV district semifinal.

Heath was named district Coach of the Year and is tasked with figuring out how the program can build from a season full of growth.

With the return of eight players who saw action last season, Worthington Christian is taking its role as a potential district-title contender seriously enough to put together what Heath believes is a significantly tougher schedule than last season.

"The fact that we have so many juniors returning, we won't have to start over completely, so that's nice," junior guard Stacy Hecker said. "We've done well in our scrimmages, but we still have a lot to learn. Our practices have been going well since we have so many players back."

Hecker averaged a team-best 11.7 points and made third-team all-district a year ago. Audrey Rettstatt, a 5-foot-11 junior who splits time between the post and backcourt, averaged 10.6 points and was second-team all-district last year.

Also expected to start are junior Kelsey Morgan, who averaged 8.3 points and made honorable mention all-district last season, and junior Courtney Prior (2.1 ppg). Junior Abbie Moss (5.6 ppg) and sophomore Ali

Spayde (4.1 ppg) have been splitting time at point guard. Sophomore Janelle Wilcox also is looking to contribute after seeing action last season.

Freshmen Natalee Cole (5-11), Devon Jones, Shirley Rettstatt and Lauren Weygandt should provide athleticism, as each played soccer for the Warriors this fall.

"We have five returning juniors that started last year at some point, so they're definitely our nucleus," Heath said. "We've also got four freshmen that I do believe will be quite helpful. I think skill-wise we'll still be at a pretty high level. One thing we're doing is redefining some of their roles to places that suit them better."

The Warriors were seeded second for the district tournament last season and opened the postseason with wins over Grove City Christian (56-24) and sixth-seeded Tree of Life (43-32) before losing to fifth-seeded Morral Ridgedale (62-35) in a district semifinal.

The only senior last season was Taylor Lanning, who totaled 16 points off the bench. Seniors Allie Custer, who averaged 6.8 points, and Marissa Grant did not return.

Among the teams the Warriors have added to the schedule are Columbus Academy (Jan. 10), Jonathan Alder (Dec. 13) and Hartley (Dec. 17). All three are road games. Last season, Academy was the eighth seed in Division III, Hartley was seeded sixth in Division II and Jonathan Alder was a Division II district champion.

"Our new freshmen have been catching on to our system, so it's been going well so far," Audrey Rettstatt said. "This year we're playing harder teams to push us and get us ready for the tournament. We're going to have to work hard."

"We made our schedule a lot harder because the toughest team we played last year was Ridgedale, and we want to be ready for the upper-level Division IV teams," Heath said. "One thing (we need to improve) is that our confidence is not all that great."