The Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball team is aiming to match last year's win total before the 2014 portion of the schedule unfolds.
The Wolves, who finished 5-18 last season, were 2-2 overall before playing Watkins Memorial on Dec. 10.
"We're definitely seeing some good things as the girls become a little more comfortable with a new coach and implementing a new system," first-year coach Jim Strode said. "I'm seeing progression in our transition game and our half-court execution, but the learning curve is off the charts."
Kilbourne lost its opener against Ready 61-43 on Nov. 23 before beating Olentangy Orange 27-20 in overtime in its OCC-Capital Division opener Nov. 25. By beating Orange, the Wolves surpassed their win total in league play from a year ago, as they finished 0-14 in the OCC-Central last season.
Kilbourne then beat Dublin Scioto 46-28 on Dec. 3 before losing to Delaware 50-35 in a league contest Dec. 5.
The Wolves played their first two games without sophomore point guard Annie Mosca.
"Getting her back allowed our scorers to move back into their positions rather than trying to run the show," Strode said. "That meant Kayla Pack and Carli Taute could concentrate on the things they do best.
"(Mosca) came in near the end of the first quarter against Scioto and her impact was felt immediately. It's not just her ball-handling skills and her decision-making; it's her drive and work ethic. You could see that in her first full-go practice. Her enthusiasm for basketball is infectious to those around her."
Mosca said she's not doing anything out of the ordinary in terms of providing leadership.
"I've just always felt that you should practice like you would play in a game," she said. "I just try to play at full speed. I figure if I'm going 100 percent most of the time, those around me will give 100 percent."
Against Orange, 6-foot freshman post player Jordyn Wilson had 10 points to lead Kilbourne, which outscored the Pioneers 7-0 in overtime.
Pack had a team-high 13 points against Scioto, with Taute and Wilson adding nine and eight points, respectively.
"We're a young team with good potential and I think we're a well-balanced team with good guards and some good post players," Mosca said. "We want to have a winning season, so the goal is to improve every day."
Against Delaware, Kilbourne was outscored 22-6 in the second quarter and 10-0 in the fourth quarter. Pack led the Wolves with 16 points and Taute scored nine. Taute had a team-high 16 points against Ready.
"These girls have had success in other sports," Strode said. "Although 2-2 might be an improvement on their start last season, I don't think confidence was an issue.
"They have confidence in themselves. What I like is they're not dwelling on last year or even the last game. We are looking forward. We want to improve every day and prepare hard for the next day."
Cardinals gearing up for OCC road games
The Thomas girls team will be looking to even its overall record when it plays host to Westland on Friday, Dec. 13, in an OCC-Central contest.
The Cardinals, who are 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Cardinal, could use a victory over Westland to gain some momentum heading into road league games Dublin Coffman on Tuesday, Dec. 17, Marysville on Dec. 20 and Upper Arlington on Dec. 21. The game with the Golden Bears is a makeup from Dec. 6.
Thomas lost its opener to Olentangy Liberty 55-39 on Nov. 29 in an OCC-Central game but was much more competitive in a 39-38 win over New Albany on Dec. 3 and 69-63 overtime loss to Walnut Ridge on Dec. 7.
Freshman guard Jada Sleet, who had 18 points against Liberty, scored 15 against New Albany as the Cardinals outscored the Eagles 18-7 in the fourth quarter. Laura Gomez added nine points against New Albany.
Gomez led Thomas with 16 points against Walnut Ridge, with Jenna Anderson and Jordan Fischbach chipping in 13 points apiece and Sleet adding nine. The Cardinals were outscored 16-10 by the Scots in overtime.