The Canal Winchester High School girls basketball team probably wants to forget last season.

The Canal Winchester High School girls basketball team probably wants to forget last season.

The Indians finished 3-19 overall and 0-14 in the MSL-Buckeye Division to finish eighth, behind Amanda-Clearcreek (13-1), Circleville (10-4), Fairfield Union (9-5), Hamilton Township (5-9), Bloom-Carroll (5-9) and Teays Valley (4-10).

Canal Winchester lost to third-seeded Eastmoor Academy 45-26 in the second round of the Division II district tournament after defeating Linden McKinley 36-35 in the first round.

A lack of experience and depth hurt the Indians last season, but coach Adam Twiss believes the team now has more of both.

"One of the things we're trying to do is utilize our speed, quickness and athleticism," said Twiss, whose team opens Saturday at home against Licking Heights and plays Tuesday at Watkins Memorial. "We're getting there. We see signs of it every day, but we've just got to do a little bit better job of recognizing that that is a strength of ours."

The Indians are expected to be led by seniors Emily Barnhart (guard), Cara Jeffers (guard) and Tykia Savage (6-foot forward/post).

"All three of them bring something different to the team," Twiss said. "Tykia's very athletic and quick on her feet. She's tough inside but can shoot from outside as well. Emily is just so smart out there on the floor. She makes great decisions with the ball and gets us into our offense. It's great to have Cara back as well. She's got a lot of knowledge of the game. She's quick and she can defend, so these three will be very important to us."

Also on the team are juniors Ashley Dexter (5-10 forward/post), Jordan Guiler (forward), Cayden Krauss (forward) and Tay Stokes (guard), sophomores Katie Hahn (guard) and Kayla Scott (forward/post player) and freshman Jaz'Lynn McClellan (post).

Dexter was named honorable mention all-district last season.

Twiss views Amanda-Clearcreek and Logan Elm as the favorites in the MSL-Buckeye, though he expects the Indians to be more competitive.

"We are going to jump out and surprise some teams," Twiss said. "I think we have the ability to move up quite a bit in the league standings from zero wins a year ago. The missing piece a year ago was experience, and we've got that now, so there are no excuses this year. It's time for us to go out, challenge and compete."

To be competitive in the league, Canal Winchester must limit its turnovers. The Indians often watched close games slip away last season because of poor decisions with the ball.

"We're shooting the ball well, but we'll execute two times on offense then throw it away the next, and you just can't do that," Twiss said. "I truly believe the sky is the limit for this group," he said. "I think we're athletic enough and good enough. Now we just need to get smart enough and make some things happen."

Schedule

Nov. 28 vs. Licking Heights

Dec. 1 at Watkins Memorial

*Dec. 5 vs. Hamilton Township

*Dec. 8 vs. Amanda-Clearcreek

*Dec. 11 at Bloom-Carroll

*Dec. 15 at Circleville

*Dec. 19 vs. Fairfield Union

Dec. 21 vs. Fisher Catholic

Dec. 23 vs. Linden McKinley

Dec. 30 at Groveport

*Jan. 5 vs. Teays Valley

*Jan. 9 vs. Logan Elm

*Jan. 15 at Hamilton Township

Jan. 18 at Centerburg

*Jan. 21 at Amanda-Clearcreek

*Jan. 23 vs. Bloom-Carroll

*Jan. 29 vs. Circleville

*Feb. 2 at Fairfield Union

*Feb. 6 at Teays Valley

*Feb. 12 at Logan Elm

*MSL-Buckeye game