The Central Crossing High School girls basketball team spent the better part of the preseason playing catch-up.

The Central Crossing High School girls basketball team spent the better part of the preseason playing catch-up.

The Comets didn't pick a team until Nov. 7 and in their first scrimmage against Westerville South 10 days later, it was the first time they played together.

While teams like South had a good idea of its starters, Central Crossing, led by first-year coach Neil Hohman, had very little solidified in terms of team roles.

Hohman, who is the Comets' third coach in three seasons, has taken over for Sarah Chevalier, who left to coach at Lancaster.

The Comets have focused on getting in shape and playing defense.

"That's been a point of emphasis, getting us into condition," said Hohman, whose team opens Tuesday at Franklin Heights. "That's one thing we can control. That, hustling and playing defense."

The Comets were 13-9 overall last year and 6-8 in the OCC-Central Division.

Despite the offseason concerns that there would not be a season, the Comets return some players that saw significant varsity time last year in senior guards Ganea Pleasant and Rachel Dorsey, as well as sophomore post player Olivia Davis. Pleasant was a starter last year and a part-time starter as a sophomore.

Also on the team are seniors Noor Abouchachine, Celia Graham, Lauren Hall and Olivia Capehart.

The roster also includes juniors Allissa Turkovich, Elizabeth Ward and Alyssa Justus, as well as freshman Jalynn Graham.

"A lot of people don't know each other and we're trying to get to know everyone, like who they are," Dorsey said. "And we're trying to learn how they play on the court."

The Comets were 7-0 against non-league opponents last season. It was their first winning season since finishing 15-9 in 2004-05.

Hohman plans to employ a defense that emphasizes ball-pressure. Offensively, he's giving the Comets the green light to start a fast break if they think it is there, but the majority of the offense is going to be structured.

The key to making it all work is communication, which has been tough at times for a team getting to know each other.

"Communication-wise, we are behind everybody else because we had to throw together a team," Pleasant said. "We have to get better at communicating."

Last season ended with a loss to Watterson 41-26 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

The Comets finished fifth in the OCC-Central, behind Dublin Coffman (14-0), Hilliard Davidson (11-3), Upper Arlington (10-4) and Hilliard Darby (8-6), and ahead of Thomas Worthington (5-9), Worthington Kilbourne (2-12) and Westland (0-14).

At a glance

•Coach: Neil Hohman, first season

•Opener: Tuesday at Franklin Heights

•Key players: Rachel Dorsey, Ganea Pleasant and Olivia Davis

Schedule

Dec. 1 at Franklin Heights

*Dec. 4 vs. Westland

*Dec. 8 at Dublin Coffman

*Dec. 11 vs. Hilliard Darby

*Dec. 18 at Hilliard Davidson

Dec. 19 at Grove City

*Dec. 22 at Upper Arlington

Dec. 30 at Olentangy Liberty

*Jan. 5 at Worthington Kilbourne

*Jan. 8 vs. Thomas Worthington

Jan. 12 vs. Westerville North

*Jan. 15 at Westland

Jan. 16 at Teays Valley

*Jan. 22 vs. Dublin Coffman

*Jan. 26 at Hilliard Darby

*Jan. 29 at Hilliard Davidson

*Feb. 2 vs. Upper Arlington

*Feb. 5 vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*Feb. 12 at Thomas Worthington

*OCC-Central game