Matt Martin hopes success breeds success, particularly from the soccer field to the basketball court.

Matt Martin hopes success breeds success, particularly from the soccer field to the basketball court.

The fifth-year Dublin Jerome High School girls basketball coach knows he has talented players, but the progress of those athletes has been slowed by the length of the girls soccer season. The Celtics now can get to work after the soccer team's season ended with a 1-0 loss to Strongsville in the Division I state final on Nov. 12.

"We have a good nucleus, but we have a nucleus of leaders, which is exciting," said Martin, whose team finished 12-9 overall last season after losing to Hilliard Davidson 40-30 in the second round of the Division I district tournament. "We have a bunch of kids now who are proven winners on the basketball court and on the soccer field. These kids understand how to win, which is more important than anything."

The Celtics return four of their five starters with 5-foot-10 junior wing player Kaitlyn Miller leading the way after averaging 9.7 points last season. Also back are 5-11 junior post player Sarah Auker, who averaged 6.6 points and 6.7 rebounds, 5-11 junior wing player Katherine McCoy, who averaged 6.2 points, and 6-1 senior post player Lindsay Rieland, who averaged 6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.

"The strength of this team is the way we work together," Auker said. "We know how each and every one of us plays, and that helps us know what each other will do on the court. Plus, we also play good, strong defense."

Last season in the OCC-Cardinal Division, Jerome went 7-7 to tie Westerville Central for fourth, behind Olentangy (12-2), Scioto (10-4) and Westerville North (9-5) and ahead of Westerville South (5-9), Marysville (3-11) and Olentangy Liberty (3-11).

Running the offense for the Celtics will be sophomore Hannah Kessler, a 5-8 point guard.

"As a staff, we got so much done in the offseason as far as fundamental work on offense and defense that I don't think we're that far behind that we can't catch up," said Martin, whose team opens Dec. 2 at home against Central. "We just need to get everyone together and take advantage of every day of practice until Dec. 2."

Also on the team are senior Emily Moss (5-7 wing player), juniors Kaitlyn Beebe (5-5 guard), Madison Colvin (5-10 wing player) and Hannah Gibbs (6-1 post player) and sophomores Andrea Davidson (5-6 guard) and Madison Watson (6-0 post player). Davidson (torn ACL) and Watson (hip) currently are sidelined.

"I think our athleticism and height at the guard and post positions will be beneficial for us," Martin said. "If we utilize that in the right way, we could give opposing defenses some problems. Last year we were 12-9 and we had a lot of positive experiences. We lost a lot of close games and, hopefully, some the experiences gained last year will help us get over the hump and get an increase in the win column."