First-year Gahanna Lincoln High School girls basketball coach Betsy Morrison has encouraged her team to use its flaws to its advantage.

First-year Gahanna Lincoln High School girls basketball coach Betsy Morrison has encouraged her team to use its flaws to its advantage.

The Lions' roster isn't filled with much height, and there are several young players taking on key roles for the first time.

Still, coming off a season in which it went 13-11 overall and lost in the second round of the Division I district tournament, Gahanna is hoping a positive mindset will help it take steps back to being the team that won five district championships in 14 seasons under coach Rick Hauser before he stepped down in May.

"There's something to prove every time you go out on the court," said Morrison, a 2005 Gahanna graduate who was an assistant under Hauser the past four seasons. "People are going to say you don't have experience and you don't have any size. It's definitely something you have to prove to everybody."

The top returnee is 5-foot-4 senior guard Sam Jenkins, a Walsh University signee who averaged 10.4 points and was first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division last season as the Lions finished fourth (8-6) behind champion Pickerington Central (14-0).

Jenkins scored 17 points in Gahanna's 60-42 season-opening victory over Northland on Nov. 26 in the Gary West Tipoff Classic at Reynoldsburg.

The other seniors are Mena Colson (5-9, forward), Benja Duff (5-4, guard) and Abby Armstrong (5-5, guard). Duff averaged 6.5 points and was special mention all-league and Colson averaged 7.7 points last season.

Senior post player Amanda Fire is out with a torn ACL that occurred over the summer and might not return until late in the season.

Freshmen Edyn Battle (5-4, guard) and Morgan Darnell (5-3, guard) and sophomore Madison Hensley (5-6, wing player) also are taking on key roles. Hensley scored 11 points and Battle had 10 against Northland.

Juniors A'mya Bess (5-8, forward) and Addie Kittel (5-8, post player) and sophomore Breyanna Bess (5-10, forward) are others looking to contribute.

Erykah Campbell, who averaged 5.5 points and made honorable mention all-league, was the biggest loss to graduation. Two other players from last season, senior guard Tyra Cherry and junior guard Amariah Thomas, are not back with the team.

"When you go around our roster, we've got some youth returning but not really a ton of varsity minutes," said Morrison, who was inducted into the school's athletics hall of fame in 2015 after starring in soccer and basketball. "We're a little inexperienced at that level, which is not always a bad thing. We have a lot of growing to do, and we've seen a lot of growth so far."

Veteran hockey team out to strong start

With seven seniors on its roster, the hockey team is hoping to continue moving forward after it improved by four victories and moved up one spot in the final Capital Hockey Conference-White standings a year ago.

After going 17-14-1 overall last season, the Lions opened with a 7-1 win over the Northeast Storm on Nov. 25 in the three-day Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North.

On Nov. 26, they lost to Wooster 2-1 but then beat the Hilliard club team 4-2. They then defeated the Westerville club team 3-2 on Nov. 27 to win their bracket of the Thanksgiving event.

"Things are going well," sixth-year coach J.J. Stalls-worth said. "I'd put us among the top couple teams in the CHC-White with a chance to win the White Division."

Gahanna finished second (14, 7-8) behind Olentangy Liberty (21, 10-4-0-1) in the CHC-White last season after finishing third in 2014-15. The CHC-White is considered the middle division of the conference in terms of ability.

Liberty has moved up to the CHC-Red, leaving Gahanna in the CHC-White with fellow holdover DeSales as well as New Albany, Olentangy Orange and Springboro, which is new to the CHC.

Springboro beat the Lions 4-3 in overtime in the second round of the district tournament last season.

The top returnees are senior forward Jared Chobany and senior goaltender Chris Henestofel.

Chobany had three goals and four assists during Gahanna's first four games and now is the program's all-time leader in goals with 88. He passed his brother, 2016 graduate Jake Chobany, who closed his prep career with 86 goals and 116 assists.

Henestofel is the program's all-time leader in wins with 46.

He and Jared Chobany, who has 64 assists for his career afterfinishing with 45 goals and 29 assistslast season, are joined in the senior class by defensemen Evan Kokales, Jacob Nemec, Seth Nielsen, Justen Shotts and Andy To.

Junior forward Austin Barok is another key player after finishing with 32 goals and 40 assists a year ago.

Other forwards include juniors Amanda Olsen, Will Rhymer, Stephanie Shirey, Austin Trudeau and Brandon Wise, sophomore Cole Walker and freshman Brandon Trudeau.

Sophomore Eric Frick and freshman Matt McElligott are the other goalies.

"We've got a bigger bench this year, which ought to help us," Stallsworth said. "We've got a good group of leaders."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Nov. 26 -- Northland in Gary West Tipoff Classic at Reynoldsburg

Nov. 29 -- at Westerville South

Dec. 2 -- vs. Eastmoor Academy

*Dec. 6 -- vs. Pickerington Central

*Dec. 9 -- vs. Reynoldsburg

Dec. 14 -- at Teays Valley

*Dec. 16 -- at Pickerington North

Dec. 28 -- Dublin Jerome in Jeff Sheets Holiday Classic at Teays Valley

Jan. 3 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

*Jan. 6 -- vs. Grove City

Jan. 7 -- vs. DeSales

Jan. 10 -- at New Albany

*Jan. 13 -- vs. Lancaster

Jan. 17 -- vs. Westerville North

*Jan. 20 -- at Pickerington Central

Jan. 21 -- Watterson at Capital University

Jan. 24 -- vs. Westerville Central

*Jan. 27 -- at Reynoldsburg

Jan. 31 -- at Hilliard Davidson

*Feb. 3 -- vs. Pickerington North

*Feb. 7 -- at Grove City

*Feb. 11 -- at Lancaster

HOCKEY

Nov. 25 -- Northeast Storm in Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North

Nov. 26 -- Wooster and Hilliard in Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North

Nov. 27 -- Westerville in Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North

Dec. 2 -- Centerville at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 3 -- Watterson at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 10 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 11 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Chiller Easton

Dec. 16 -- Oxford Talawanda in Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders Tournament at Kent State

Dec. 17 -- Hudson and Chagrin Falls Kenston in Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders Tournament at Kent State

Dec. 18 -- TBA in Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders Tournament at Kent State

*Dec. 23 -- Upper Arlington at OhioHealth Ice Haus

*Dec. 28 -- Dublin Coffman at Chiller Dublin

*Dec. 29 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton

Jan. 3 -- Beavercreek at Nationwide Arena

*Jan. 6 -- New Albany at Chiller Easton

*Jan. 7 -- Dublin Jerome at Chiller Dublin

*Jan. 8 -- New Albany at Chiller Easton

Jan. 14-16 -- Ehrnfelt Tournament at OBM Arena in Strongsville

*Jan. 21 -- Olentangy Orange at Chiller North

*Jan. 22 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton

*Jan. 27 -- Olentangy Liberty at Chiller North

*Jan. 28 -- Springboro at South Metro Ice Haus in Centerville

*Jan. 29 -- Olentangy Orange at Chiller Easton

*Feb. 4 -- Springboro at Chiller Easton

*Feb. 5 -- Olentangy at Chiller Easton

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Gahanna Lincoln boys basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dec. 5 -- Home vs. Westerville South in opener

BOWLING

*Dec. 5 -- Hilliard Bradley at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl in opener

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 2 -- Grove City at Gahanna YMCA

Dec. 3 -- Columbus Academy Relays

WRESTLING

Dec. 3 -- Bad Apple Brawl at Mount Vernon

*League contest