The Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team thinks this could be a record-setting season.
The Panthers open Thursday, Nov. 29, at home against Marysville and begin OCC-Cardinal Division play Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Bradley.
"We've got some girls likely to set career program records and we would like to set some team records, too," third-year coach Tay Tufts said. "We have some depth and much better basketball IQs across the board as nine of our 12 players played AAU basketball this year. We would like to win the league championship and set a program record for victories."
The program record for victories was set in the 2006-07 season, when the Panthers finished 18-4.
Darby, which finished 11-12 overall and 5-7 in the OCC-Cardinal last season, has returned its top two players from a year ago in Sydney Wyngarden and Annie Rauch.
Wyngarden, a 5-foot-9 senior point guard, averaged 13.8 points and 5.5 assists last season. She has committed to play at Lake Erie College.
"Sydney owns the single-season assist record at Darby and needs just 26 to break the career record (261)," Tufts said. "She is a strong leader who worked hard to better her fundamental skill set, her outside shooting. She also worked extremely hard in the weight room to add more muscle. I expect her to have a great senior season."
Rauch, a 6-3 senior forward and Ball State commit, averaged 14.2 points and 8.9 rebounds last season.
"Annie is considered one of the top post players in central Ohio," Tufts said. "She owns the (program's) single-season rebound record and should become the all-time career leader in rebounds at Darby. She also is just 236 points away from becoming the (program's) all-time career scoring leader."
The program record for career scoring is 1,069 points, held by 2004 graduate Kristi Brogan.
"Annie is a leader that has become very vocal this year, but still leads by example with her play on the court," Tufts said. "She has worked hard on bettering her ball-handling and perimeter guard skills, including her outside shooting."
Also returning as a starter is 5-7 sophomore guard Sophia Iosue.
"Sophia is a very good 3-point shooter and mid-range shooter, a great team defender and a smooth playmaker," Tufts said. "Sophia spent a lot of time shooting the ball in the gym, working on her mechanics and form. She had a great offseason and preseason shooting and is a solid and well-respected leader on this team. Although she's just a sophomore, she was voted as one of the two team captains, along with Syd."
Other returnees are juniors Teddie Co (5-10, forward), Jenna Rasul (5-6, guard) and Briana Turner (5-10, forward) and sophomores Sofia Gentile (6-1, center) and Sophie Williams (5-6, point guard).
"We should consistently go about nine players deep," Tufts said. "We have good, solid depth at the guard positions, which will help with ball-handling. We are lacking solid contribution depth at the post position, but we should make that up with the increase in good guard play. We also have multiple outside shooters, which we didn't have last season."
Newcomers are junior Veronica Thanthanavong (5-7, forward), sophomore Ashley Derenzo (5-5, guard) and freshmen Tayen Brown (5-6, guard) and Alexis Finnegan (5-5, point guard).
Brown and Gentile are expected to begin the season as starters along with Rauch, Wyngarden and Iosue.
"This team can really get up and down the court in transition, so that's why we need to make sure we're going at least nine deep," Tufts said. "We will look to push the ball and play an up-tempo style of basketball. We will also use that speed on the defensive end and do a lot of full-court defenses."
Athletes announce college decisions
Six student-athletes, including Rauch and Wyngarden, announced their college decisions Nov. 14.
Natalie Brown will play women's soccer at Ohio Dominican, Tegan Cortelletti will play softball at Ohio State and Abigail Spencer and Caitlyn Spencer will play women's soccer at Tiffin.
Nov. 29 -- vs. Marysville
*Dec. 4 -- at Bradley
*Dec. 7 -- at Delaware
Dec. 8 -- at Groveport
Dec. 11 -- at Olentangy Orange
*Dec. 14 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*Dec. 18 -- at Dublin Scioto
*Dec. 21 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
Dec. 23 -- vs. Watterson at Quicken Loans Arena
Dec. 27 -- Chillicothe in Watterson Christmas Classic
Dec. 28 -- Grandview in Watterson Christmas Classic
*Jan. 4 -- at Dublin Jerome
Jan. 5 -- at Davidson
*Jan. 8 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
*Jan. 11 -- vs. Bradley
Jan. 12 -- at Willard
*Jan. 18 -- vs. Delaware
*Jan. 22 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
*Jan. 25 -- at Worthington Kilbourne
*Feb. 1 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
*Feb. 5 -- at Olentangy Berlin
*Feb. 8 -- at Thomas Worthington
Below are the coming schedules for the Darby boys basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
Nov. 29 -- At Marysville
*Dec. 4 -- Newark at Park Lanes
Nov. 30 -- Home vs. Westland