The Delaware Christian School girls basketball team is facing preseason adversity.

The Delaware Christian School girls basketball team is facing preseason adversity.

The Eagles finished 11-9 overall last year for their first winning record in five seasons and they expected to return all five starters.

Now, it appears they will begin this season without two of their top players.

Junior point guard Haley Kirby, the team's leading scorer the previous two seasons, was sidelined late last week and coach Jackie Boggs was led to believe it likely was appendicitis. Plus, senior guard Haley Huston did not return to Delaware Christian for her senior year.

"If (Kirby) does need an appendectomy, I've been told she could be out anywhere from two to four weeks," Boggs said. "Then she'd have to work her way back into things, so if it turns out like that, we could be without her until after the holidays. We expect to know more by (last Friday), but we've got to begin preparing to play without her just in case."

Kirby averaged 15 points and 3.8 assists last season. She was third-team all-district in Division IV and first-team all-MOCAL. Huston was honorable mention all-league.

"We were playing well in scrimmages and were running our plays very well," Boggs said. "We intended to make a transition with Haley becoming our shooting guard because in our offense, the point guard doesn't score a lot. We've got some individuals we're working with to run the point."

Sophomore Emily Kirkham, a returning letterwinner, tops the list. Senior Lorrah Bush, who is back with the team after not playing last season, also is on the list, as well as freshman Katie Morgan.

"Emily likes to push the ball, and it's what she does best," Boggs said. "She thought she'd have time to get comfortable, but now she could be thrown in the fire so she better get ready. Lorrah is just getting a boot off her foot after getting injured playing soccer, so she's behind. Katie's going to be good, but she obviously lacks varsity experience and will need time to adjust to the speed of the game."

The other three returning starters for the Eagles, who lost to Gahanna Christian 40-37 in the first round of the Division IV district tournament, are junior guard Sarah Harp and sophomore post players Brenna McCullough and Lenora Boyer.

Harp averaged 10.4 points and 5.6 steals. McCullough averaged 9.6 points and 10.1 rebounds.

Harp was second-team all-MOCAL and McCullough was honorable mention, as the Eagles finished third at 5-4 in the league behind Fairfield Christian (9-0) and Tree of Life (8-2) and ahead of Gahanna Christian (5-5), Liberty Christian (2-8) and Madison Christian (0-10).

"Sarah Harp has greatly improved her outside shot from last season and has been our leading scorer in scrimmages," Boggs said. "Brenna also has become better and more aggressive. She's strong and not scared of anybody. Lenora was primarily a rebounder last season, but is beginning to score more."

Although the guard situation is up in the air, the Eagles expect to be better in the post, with the improvement of McCullough and Boyer and the addition of sophomores Jessica Kapraly and Mikaylah Stern, a move-in from Cleveland.

"Jessica is 5-foot-10 and big and strong, but is a first-year player learning the sport," Boggs said. "Mikaylah is a great addition because she's our best defender in the post and she can rebound. Our post play is going to be much better, and with Harp shooting from the outside and handling the ball better, we seem to have a good mix."