The best thing about struggling through a difficult season with a young team is, well, the next season.

The best thing about struggling through a difficult season with a young team is, well, the next season.

That's where the Delaware Christian School boys basketball team finds itself as it prepares for the opener Friday at home against MOCAL-foe Madison Christian.

The Eagles lost two seniors from a team that went 5-15 overall and 0-10 in the MOCAL.

"Last year we were happy with moral victories, like being competitive or playing well in losses," second-year coach Kevin Quist said. "Moral victories won't have the same effect this year. We need wins. Improving our win total would be a steppingstone and a winning season would be huge."

The Eagles haven't posted a winning season since going 11-10 in 2005-06.

Four starters return in senior guard Hughie Kerins (5-foot-10), junior forwards Jeremy Glick (6-0) and Michael Sullivan (6-0) and sophomore guard Pete Kerins (5-10).

Other letterwinners returning are senior forward Brandon Carroll (6-1) and senior center Aric French (6-2).

Because of the team's overall lack of height, the Eagles will attempt to play an aggressive, up-tempo style. They were able to unleash that style at times last season, but turnovers, post defense and rebounding were phases of the game in which they struggled.

"We're not big, so we hope to be faster," Quist said. "We need to score in transition and we need to push the ball after made baskets as well as missed ones. We want to beat teams down the floor and not allow them to set up defensively. We shoot it well, we've got speed and we've got a lot more experience. Because of our running style, we will go 10 or 11 deep. I think we've got pretty good depth."

Quist also has made a point to preach defense and said that good defense is also a way to help the rebounding.

"I think we'll be improved in our ball-handling, so I think we'll score OK," he said. "The question is whether we can stop other teams from scoring. We've just got to get better on defense. That would also help our defensive rebounding. Without much size, giving up offensive rebounds will hurt us. Those things are tied together."

Delaware Christian finished last in the MOCAL at 0-10. Tree of Life won the title at 10-0 and also ended the Eagles' season with a 64-34 win in the first round of the Division IV district tournament.

In the league standings, Tree of Life was followed by Fairfield Christian (7-3), Grove City Christian (5-4), Gahanna Christian (4-6), Madison Christian (3-6) and the Eagles. Delaware Christian has not won a league game the past three seasons after going 7-5 in 2006-07. The Eagles were 0-12 in 2007-08 and 0-12 in 2008-09.

Hughie Kerins was first-team all-MOCAL last season and Glick was second-team all-league. Pete Kerins was honorable mention. Glick averaged 14.1 points per game and Hughie Kerins added 11.0. Graduate Tyler Moll led the team in rebounding at 6.0.

"Jeremy and Hughie were our leaders last year and I'm very pleased that they came back better this season," Quist said. "Jeremy is noticeably stronger and I expect both of them to have real solid seasons. In general, there were other players who also made improvements in the offseason. I'm hoping that will be evident in games, too."

Rounding out the roster are senior Josh Blakemore (5-11 forward), juniors Jeff Copley (6-0 forward), Brandon Cooper (5-10 guard) and Ryan Zinn (5-10 guard) and sophomores Jackson Quist (5-11 guard), Luke McGrath (6-3 center) and Andrew Meiser (5-9 guard).

"I've been happy with our scrimmages because we've competed well against some bigger teams, like East Knox," coach Quist said. "We've definitely played some tougher teams in scrimmages this year than we did last year. It really opened our boys' eyes by getting a taste of playing some better teams."