Although younger, the Delaware Christian School boys basketball team is hoping to improve on a tough season.

Although younger, the Delaware Christian School boys basketball team is hoping to improve on a tough season.

The Eagles finished 2-19 last year after losing to top-seeded Worthington Christian 88-30 in the first round of the Division IV district tournament. They went 0-12 in the MOCAL, which was won by Tree of Life (12-0).

That record was with MOCAL Player of the Year Chase Evans, as well as two others who graduated. Evans, a guard, averaged 19.4 points and 2.4 steals per game and was third-team all-district.

"We definitely will be more balanced this year," said fourth-year coach Matt Myers, whose team opens Saturday at home against Liberty Christian. "Chase carried the scoring load last year."

The Eagles will be young, with no seniors on the roster. Three letterwinners return in junior guard Josh Griffin, sophomore post player Brandon Carroll (6-foot-1) and sophomore guard Hughie Kerins (6-1).

"Without a senior and only one junior with varsity experience, this isn't the ideal situation," Myers said. "But we have a lot of potential to improve and we've improved quite a bit in the first few weeks of practice. We'd like to get this group ready at the junior varsity level, but we don't have that luxury. There are plusses and minuses because they will grow together and improve together, which should make us much better the next couple of years. But it really isn't the way you'd like to do things."

There are just 13 player in the program, which makes Myers' job difficult in fitting the pieces together. Joining Griffin in the junior class are post players Daniel Kayano (6-4) and Tyler Moll (6-3). Moll is a first-year player and Kayano is an exchange student from Brazil. Other sophomores include post player Aric French (6-0), guard Tommy Graves and wing player Michael Kapraly. The freshmen are guards Brandon Cooper and Michael Sullivan, post players Jeff Copley (5-11) and Paul Haberman (6-2) and wing player Trent Martin.

"We've got some consistent size and most of the bigger guys run well, too," Myers said. "As a team we run very well, so we may press a bit more. We're also a little deeper. We want to use our quickness to our advantage.

"Our main goal is to continually improve. Usually, whether we win some or struggle to win, our kids' efforts have been there. I want that tradition to continue. We've got good kids with good attitudes and they're coachable. I enjoy that."

•The girls team has its fourth coach in three seasons.

Ken Kirby takes over for Jackie Boggs, who moved to Indiana after a season in which the Eagles finished 5-16 overall and 2-10 in the MOCAL. Boggs was an assistant to begin last season but became the coach when Dave Spiller resigned Dec. 11 because of a job conflict. Spiller had taken over for Sharon Copley, who stepped down after the 2006 season to spend more time with her family.

The Eagles lost just one player to graduation in Linda Stover. Still, Kirby has just two players in the program who returned in sophomore point guard Ashleigh Hovda and sophomore center Annielaurie Roberts.

Stover, a 5-4 guard, averaged 23.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest. She was second-team all-district and Player of the Year in the MOCAL as the Eagles were sixth in the league behind Fairfield Christian (12-0), Gahanna Christian (9-3), Grove City Christian (8-4), Tree of Life (6-6) and Madison Christian (5-7) and ahead of Northside Christian (0-12).

There are no seniors or juniors on the eight-player roster.

"We're very young and very green and we just want to be competitive," said Kirby, whose team opens Tuesday at Torah Academy and plays Friday at Grove City Christian and Saturday at home against Marion Catholic. "I'm disappointed that some of the girls who played last year didn't return. There are several good basketball players who decided not to come out. There were four seniors who played last year that could've given us some great leadership. But we move on and do what we can."

Joining Hovda and Roberts in the sophomore class is post player Katie Hewitt. The freshmen include a foursome who have played together in middle school. They are post player Callie Miller, guard Haley Kirby, the coach's daughter, forward Liz Roden and wing player Sarah Harp. Rounding out the roster is freshman Ji-eun Cha, an exchange student playing basketball for the first time.

"We're small in number and small in size, but the good news is that everyone will get a lot of playing time," coach Kirby said. "It's a good core of freshmen and the team has decent speed. But we'll have to pick our times to press because of our lack of depth. We'll most likely play a lot of zone defense as well because of our lack of size.

"This is a young group which can grow and learn together and improve. I would hope to be competitive regardless. But for sure, this is a stage that we can be a strong group in a few years."