There hasn't been a lot of variety when it comes to scoring for the Bexley High School girls basketball team the last two years. The Lions relied on graduate Ashley Dennis, who averaged 22.4 points during the 2008-09 season, and graduate Lily Watson, who averaged 11 points a game during the 2009-10 season.

There hasn't been a lot of variety when it comes to scoring for the Bexley High School girls basketball team the last two years. The Lions relied on graduate Ashley Dennis, who averaged 22.4 points during the 2008-09 season, and graduate Lily Watson, who averaged 11 points a game during the 2009-10 season.

If the Lions are going to improve on last year's 10-12 finish, senior forward Jelicia Shelton said they need more than one person in double figures.

"In the past couple of years we've had one or two girls who could shoot the ball," said Shelton, whose team lost to Big Walnut 53-33 in the second round of the Division II tournament. "This year, there are a ton of people who can score. All five of us can run the floor and we have a lot of good shooters."

The Lions lost three players from last year's team, including Watson, the team's leading scorer, and Rachael Carroll, the team's leading rebounder.

Bexley returns Shelton, along with senior Kylee Soga and junior Bailey Breese at guard.

The team also returns senior Amubie SamAgwor (5-10) at center, junior forward Emily Hart (5-7), junior forward Sara Prater, sophomore guard Lydia Lake and sophomore guard Jill Clark. Those five saw limited playing time with last year's varsity.

Also expected to contribute are junior Ann Sharp, a 5-10 forward who hasn't played basketball since middle school, and sophomore Natalie Schwager, a 5-7 forward.

Coach Jim Strode, who became the Lions' third coach in three years last season, sees a big difference in his squad as he returns this season.

"The main thing is they've had one year now with our system," Strode said. "There's this sense of stability and continuity. I think that's going to be a huge advantage to this year."

If the Lions are to improve, they are going to have to avoid oil slicks like they had last year.

After defeating Whitehall 57-35 on Jan. 12, Bexley lost six consecutive games, including 42-34 in overtime to Lakewood.

Bexley finished sixth in the MSL-Ohio with a 5-9 record. Granville and Heath tied for first at 12-2. Newark Catholic (11-3), Licking Valley (8-6), Columbus Academy (6-8), Bexley, Lakewood (2-12) and Whitehall (1-13) rounded out the rest of the division. Heath was the only team to reach at least a district semifinal, doing so in Division III.

"There is a tremendous amount of parity in the league this year," Strode said. "Granville has (second-team all-district selection) Lacie Buckey back, but from top to bottom, everyone is going to be competitive with everyone."