Thomas Worthington High School girls basketball coach Laurie Barr is hoping her team's overall experience helps it improve on last season.
Led by seniors Frannie Frazier and Mariana Bonilla, the Cardinals open Friday, Nov. 30, at home against Olentangy Liberty in an OCC-Central Division game.
Last season, Thomas finished 8-12 overall and placed fifth in the OCC-Central.
"We have a core group of players returning who all received significant playing experience last year," said Barr, who is in her fifth season leading the program. "However, we did lose our starting point guard (Kim Hoerauf) and a starting post player (Whitney Miller). We have several players who are stepping up to fill those spots."
The Cardinals lost three players from a year ago to graduation, including Hoerauf and Miller. Last season, Hoerauf averaged 12.1 points and made 72.7 percent of her free throws and was named honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league. Miller averaged 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds and was honorable mention all-league.
Frazier, a 5-foot-10 guard/forward, averaged a team-high 12.9 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds last season and was honorable mention all-district and first-team all-league. Bonilla is a 5-10 forward.
"Frannie Frazier is a fourth-year varsity player and continues to be a leader in our program," Barr said. "Mariana Bonilla is a third-year varsity player who is a great team player."
Frazier and Bonilla are two of seven returnees for the Cardinals. The others are seniors Kamille Freeman (5-10, forward) and Clare Janoski (5-4, guard), junior Ally Lucas (5-10, forward) and sophomores Jordan Fischbach (5-4, point guard) and Francie Zidonis (5-4, guard).
Also on the team are juniors Jenna Andersen (6-1, forward) and Laura Gomez (5-6, guard).
"We're very excited and looking forward to a successful season," Bonilla said. "We have a lot of girls with experience and most everyone is going to get playing time because we're pretty deep. We all have our strengths that can help the team in some capacity."
Thomas went 6-8 in the OCC-Central last season to finish behind Dublin Coffman (13-1), Upper Arlington (12-2), Central Crossing (11-3) and Hilliard Davidson (7-7) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (4-10), Westland (2-12) and Worthington Kilbourne (1-13).
As part of OCC realignment last summer, Darby and Kilbourne moved to the OCC-Cardinal and were replaced by Liberty and Marysville, both of which had been in the OCC-Cardinal. Last season, Liberty finished 10-12 and Marysville went 4-17.
"Central Crossing, Dublin Coffman and Upper Arlington consistently compete at high levels and all were in the top 12 of the Central District seeding last year," Barr said. "I look for each to continue on their paths of success."
"We're going to play a lot of pressure defense and we think we're a pretty good running team," Bonilla said. "We rebound fairly well in terms of boxing out and we're a good shooting team overall. We need to play well together as a team and we should have a good season."
The Cardinals lost to 12th-seeded Zanesville 60-24 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
"We want to improve fundamentally from where we have been the last couple of years and we want to play as one," Barr said. "The players all continue to push to improve themselves.
"All of these girls are noteworthy and each has a vital role to the success of the team. We must continue to improve on fundamentals and the girls must play their role to the best of their ability every day."