When the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball team lost to 15th-seeded DeSales 60-50 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 17, it marked the end of Kayla Pack's prep career.
The senior guard departs the program as its all-time leading scorer with 1,019 points.
"Kayla Pack has been here forever ... . I've had coaches and other people comment to me about her being on a lifetime high school plan here," said Jim Strode, who completed his first season as coach. "That's what happens when you have a four-year starter who plays at a high level."
Pack is joined in the senior class by forward Tylar Pruiksma and guard Allison Wirt.
"Allison Wirt is a four-year player who is a selfless player and tireless worker and Tylar Pruiksma was new to the program after moving here from Atlanta," Strode said. "She helped the team because she always challenged the young girls to do better."
Pack led Kilbourne with 19 points against DeSales. Freshman forward Jordyn Wilson had 12 points and sophomore guard Carli Taute added eight.
The Wolves, who were seeded 24th of 47 teams, finished 13-10 overall, marking their first winning season since 2002-03, when they went 12-9.
Kilbourne went 6-8 in the OCC-Capital Division to tie Big Walnut for fifth, behind Mount Vernon (13-1), Olentangy (12-2), Delaware (9-5) and New Albany (8-6) and ahead of Olentangy Orange (2-12) and Franklin Heights (0-14).
"These girls worked hard and had great leadership and they're only going to get better," Strode said. "We return six of our top seven players and they'll have a few more years together because we didn't even have a junior on the roster."
Pack led the team in scoring (16.2 points per game), rebounds (6.3) and steals (2.8) and was named second-team all-district and first-team all-league.
Taute averaged 10.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and two steals and was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league, and Wilson averaged 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds and was honorable mention all-league.
Also expected to return are sophomores Kylie Kott (guard), Annie Mosca (point guard), Julia Tout (forward) and Hailee Wilhelm (center).
Tout averaged 4.1 points, followed by Wilhelm (3.0), Mosca (3.0) and Kott (2.7). Wilhelm averaged 4.1 rebounds.
"They learned the system this season, so next year we can push forward and not worry about the learning process as much," Strode said. "Our longest losing streak all season was two games, so they were pretty consistent. Now we have to tweak and refine things rather than overhaul and start from scratch like we did this year.
"The girls have experienced success in volleyball and soccer and they had a winning basketball season now. The sophomore class has been winners in a lot of sports from middle school up. We want to continue that in basketball."
Cardinals losing 2 of top 3 scorers
Thomas is losing two of its top three scorers this season in 6-foot-1 senior forward Jenna Andersen and senior guard Laura Gomez.
Andersen averaged 7.7 points and seven rebounds and was honorable mention all-league, and Gomez averaged 7.9 points and 2.4 assists and was honorable mention all-district and special mention all-league.
The Cardinals also lose senior forward Chelsei Fullerton.
Seeded 36th, Thomas lost to second-seeded Upper Arlington 49-35 in the second round of the Division I district tournament after having a first-round bye. Andersen had a team-high 11 points and freshman point guard Jada Sleet scored 10.
The Cardinals finished 7-15 overall and went 5-9 in the OCC-Central to place sixth, behind UA (13-1), Dublin Coffman (12-2), Olentangy Liberty (10-4), Westland (8-6) and Marysville (6-8) and ahead of Central Crossing (1-13) and Hilliard Davidson (1-13).
"I think the seniors provided really strong leadership and put forth a solid work ethic," coach Laurie Barr said. "They helped set the tone this year and led by example, and that should pay dividends for this program in the near future."
Sleet averaged a team-high 12.7 points and was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league.
Also expected to return are junior guards Jordan Fischbach and Francie Zidonis, sophomore forward Martrina Parks, sophomore guard Carly Coleman and freshman guards Hannah Ong and Jenna Rao.
"We've got a lot of talent coming back, so I'm excited for the future," Barr said. "We've got four of our top six (players) back. Sleet and Fischbach are interchangeable at No. 1 and 2 guards and Martrina Parks averaged seven rebounds per game. Then we've got Jenna Rao, who was a part-time starter for us, and Francie Zidonis and some others.
"I'm seeing good things as long as the girls work on their fundamentals in the offseason."