Of the 21 high school girls basketball players who made first-, second- or third-team all-district in Division I last season, six of the seven first-team honorees and 13 among that group overall are returning seniors.
That provides a glimpse of the high-caliber action that could be in store throughout central Ohio this winter, not to mention there is plenty of returning talent in lower divisions.
The area is jam-packed with Division I college recruits, with Westerville South senior Anyssa Jones and junior Gabby Hutcherson and Dublin Coffman senior Jacy Sheldon committed to Ohio State, Pickerington Central seniors Maliya Perry and Madison Greene pledged to Auburn and Penn State, respectively, and Africentric senior Jordan Horston going to Tennessee.
There might not be two better guards in Ohio than Sheldon and Horston.
Sheldon, who averaged 26.3 points and was runner-up for Ohio Ms. Basketball last season, already has scored 1,643 points for her career.
Horston averaged 16 points, four assists and four steals as Africentric won the Division III state title last season. She then helped the USA Basketball U17 team win the FIBA World Cup in July, earning MVP honors along the way.
No team in Ohio, meanwhile, might possess a better duo than Pickerington Central with Greene and Perry after it won its seventh Division I state championship last winter.
Westerville South has undergone a coaching change, with Erick Herzberg taking over after Silas Williams led the program to a regional runner-up finish last season. It has two players in addition to Jones and Hutcherson who have committed to play collegiately in Peyton Guice (Ohio University) and Sommer Pitzer (Indiana State).
Another Division I team from the Central District that will make noise is Newark, which was a district champion and returns senior college commits Katie Shumate (Kent State) and Morgan Sharps (Miami University).
Reynoldsburg features senior forward Uju Ezeudu, a Denver commit, and junior guard Kyria Walker. Gahanna, which beat the Raiders for a district title last season, returns junior guards Edyn Battle and Morgan Darnell.
Senior Macy Spielman, a Bowling Green commit, should help Upper Arlington remain among the area’s best after it was a district runner-up last season.
ThisWeek Super 7 preseason rankings (with 2017-18 record in parentheses)
1. Africentric (27-3)
2. Pickerington Central (28-2)
3. Westerville South (21-6)
4. Reynoldsburg (20-6)
5. Dublin Coffman (24-2)
6. Gahanna (19-8)
7. Upper Arlington (20-6)
ThisWeek Super 12 preseason team
Edyn Battle, Gahanna Lincoln, Jr., G
Uju Ezeudu, Reynoldsburg, Sr., F
Mchale Grant, Eastmoor Academy, Sr., F
Madison Greene, Pickerington Central, Sr., G
Jordan Horston, Africentric, Sr., G
Anyssa Jones, Westerville South, Jr., G
Maliya Perry, Pickerington Central, Sr., G
Sommer Pitzer, Westerville South, Sr., G
Jacy Sheldon, Dublin Coffman, Sr., G
Alexia Smith, Africentric, Jr., G
Macy Spielman, Upper Arlington, Sr., G
Kyria Walker, Reynoldsburg, Jr., G
Breanne Beatty, Thomas Worthington, Sr., G
Savannah Childress, Wellington, Sr., G
Morgan Darnell, Gahanna Lincoln, Jr., G
Saige Glover, Pickerington North, Jr., F
Alexia Hamilton, Northland, Sr., G
Gabby Hutcherson, Westerville South, Jr., F/G
Natalie Hutras, Dublin Scioto, Sr., G
Kaitlyn Kopyar, Dublin Coffman, Sr., F
Trinity McClure, Columbus South, Sr., G
Teegan Pifher, Olentangy Liberty, Jr., F
Annie Rauch, Hilliard Darby, Sr., F
Emily Simon, Hilliard Davidson, Sr., G
Josie Smith, New Albany, Sr., F
Lyssi Snouffer, Delaware Christian, Jr., F
Carlisa Strickland, Independence, Sr., G
Nyam Thornton, Africentric, Jr., G
Maddy Vincent, Bexley, Sr., G
Paige Woodford, Watterson, Jr., G