Last winter, the Bexley High School girls basketball team won its first league championship since 2008.
Fifth-year coach Joshua Price believes his squad has the talent to defend that title.
The Lions, who finished 16-7 overall and 9-1 in the MSL-Ohio Division, return the league Player of the Year in senior Maddy Vincent. The 5-foot-7 guard also was special mention all-state and first-team all-district in Division II after leading the Lions in scoring (17.1 points per game), rebounding (4.7), steals (2.3) and free-throw percentage (119-for-150, 79.3 percent).
Vincent also averaged 2.8 assists and went 24-for-66 from 3-point range (36.4 percent).
"Maddy brings a high level of experience, and she is a competitor on both ends of the court," said Price, whose team opened Nov. 28 at Bloom-Carroll. "She scored the ball a lot but she is a really good all-around kid with court awareness and passing."
Bexley has two other returning starters in 5-9 senior forward Emma Dressel and 5-3 sophomore point guard Maddy Young. Dressel (honorable mention all-league) averaged 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists a year ago, while Young (honorable mention all-district, second-team all-league) was 30-for-61 on 3-point attempts (team-best 49.2 percent) and averaged 6.6 points and a team-high 3.4 assists.
Senior post players Makayla Burzynski (5-10) and Serena Sereki (5-11) and junior guard/forward Caroline Bunker (5-7) also started games last season.
"We have a good connection and we really work well together," Dressel said. "We all know each other really well and that bond as a team has helped us grow."
Juniors Sophia Baker (5-9, forward) and Ella Hayden (5-7, guard) and sophomores Maia Ben-David (6-0, forward), Zoe Boxill (5-11, forward) and Aly Cox (5-6, guard) round out the roster.
"To be honest, this is a year we'll have a bunch of starting lineups," said Price, whose team opens league play Saturday, Dec. 1, at home against Whitehall. "We have a lot of different girls that could start for us. We will be deeper than we have been in years past. We have a lot of girls that could step on the floor and make an impact for us."
Vincent said senior leadership will be important to keep the Lions on course.
"Emma and I have been here way more than the other girls and we have to lead by example," she said. "I think communication is important for us and we need to work on that as well as our entry into the post. We need to get the ball into the post more than last year."
Price said the Lions have a lot of players back from last season, but repeating the league championship won't be simple.
"Ideally we will be more hungry than we were last year," he said. "Our girls understand all that we had to go though to win the league last season and how hard we had to work to get in there.
"We put together a pretty tough schedule and we understand what level that we have to compete to get there. We want to be able to compete with the best teams around."
Bexley athletes make college selections
Two Bexley student-athletes recently announced their college decisions.
Trevor Binau will compete in men's golf at William & Mary and Ryan Callahan will play baseball at Wright State.
Nov. 28 -- at Bloom-Carroll
*Dec. 1 -- vs. Whitehall
Dec. 3 -- at Patriot Prep
*Dec. 7 -- vs. Grandview
Dec. 12 -- vs. Ready
*Dec. 15 -- at Columbus Academy
Dec. 21 -- at Granville
Dec. 22 -- vs. Springfield Northwestern
Dec. 29 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
*Jan. 5 -- vs. Worthington Christian
Jan. 9 -- at London
*Jan. 11 -- at Whitehall
Jan. 14 -- vs. Hartley
*Jan. 19 -- at Grandview
Jan. 23 -- vs. Licking Heights
*Jan. 25 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Jan. 26 -- at Logan
Feb. 2 -- at Watterson
Feb. 4 -- vs. Liberty Union
*Feb. 8 -- at Worthington Christian
Feb. 9 -- at Columbus School for Girls
Feb. 13 -- vs. Franklin Heights
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Nov. 30 -- Westerville Central in Grove City Tip-Off Classic
Dec. 1 -- Grove City or Mifflin in Grove City Tip-Off Classic
Dec. 4 -- Home vs. Columbus East
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 1 -- Columbus Academy Relays
Dec. 5 -- At Mount Gilead with Mifflin