Realizing that most opponents don't have a player who can match Jordan Cowgill's size, Thomas Worthington High School boys basketball coach Bob Miller has installed a 1-inside, 4-outside motion offense to attempt to put the 6-foot-10, 265-pound senior center in more one-on-one situations under the basket.

Realizing that most opponents don't have a player who can match Jordan Cowgill's size, Thomas Worthington High School boys basketball coach Bob Miller has installed a 1-inside, 4-outside motion offense to attempt to put the 6-foot-10, 265-pound senior center in more one-on-one situations under the basket.

The 29th-year coach is hoping that new offensive wrinkle will help the Cardinals improve on last season, when they finished 15-7 overall after losing to third-seeded Upper Arlington 59-55 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

Thomas opens Friday, Dec. 2, at home against Walnut Ridge and opens OCC-Central Division play on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at home against Upper Arlington.

"I think we have the potential to have a potent offense," Miller said. "Our hardest guy to defend is Jordan Cowgill, and we have put in a motion offense to try to isolate Jordan as much as we can. Our players enjoy throwing the ball inside to Jordan because he's such a good passer and he's able to find open shooters when he's double-teamed. We're still going to run some sets and quick hitters, but we're hoping the addition of a motion offense will make us more difficult to defend."

Three starters have returned in Cowgill, 5-8 junior point guard Will Hill and 6-4 senior forward Julian Henderson.

Last season, Cowgill averaged 12.2 points and was first-team all-league, Henderson averaged 9.2 points and was second-team all-league and Hill averaged 7.9 points and was second-team all-league.

Moving into starting roles are 5-7 junior guard Lance Leslie and 5-11 junior forward Jay Smallwood.

Rounding out the roster are senior forwards Everett Bruce (6-4) and Alex Rentz (6-0), senior post player Steve Lohner (6-6), senior guard Jaymes Henry (5-11), junior post player Jesse Greene (6-4), junior guards Jamie Burbee (5-11) and Mario Hanna (5-8), sophomore guard Daniel Crease (5-11) and sophomore forward Nick Pauley (6-4).

"We have a lot of veteran players who are giving us good leadership," Henry said.

The Cardinals are looking to move up in the OCC-Central after going 9-5 in the league last season to finish third, behind co-champions Dublin Coffman (13-1) and UA (13-1). Hilliard Davidson (7-7) finished fourth, followed by Hilliard Darby (5-9), Worthington Kilbourne (5-9), Central Crossing (2-12) and Westland (2-12).

Thomas opened the district tournament with a 49-47 win over Briggs before losing to UA.

"We think we can make some noise in the tournament because we have size and experience and we've made big defensive improvements," Henry said. "Our coaches preach that defense wins championships every practice, and we're working hard every day to get better on defense."