As it heads into a lengthy holiday break, the Hilliard Bradley High School girls basketball team is still trying to figure out how it stacks up against the area field.

As it heads into a lengthy holiday break, the Hilliard Bradley High School girls basketball team is still trying to figure out how it stacks up against the area field.

In four of the team's seven games so far, it has been tough for the Jaguars to learn much about their progress. They opened the season with a 45-43 loss at Teays Valley on Nov. 28, but given the circumstances -- it was the first game in program history and the Jaguars also had to deal with a nasty mid-game collision between teammates Brooke Espenscheid and Katie Lindsey -- it was hard to gain much from that game.

"That was just a big blur," coach Kathy Lindsey said.

From there, three of Bradley's next four opponents were simply overmatched. The Jaguars beat Whitehall, Watkins Memorial and Franklin Heights, three teams that have struggled in recent seasons, by an average of 51.7 points.

Bradley also played three solid opponents, including Division II district finalist New Albany and Division II regional semifinalist Big Walnut. The Jaguars were competitive, but lost both games, 56-47 to New Albany on Dec. 8 and 46-40 in overtime to Big Walnut last Friday.

The Jaguars played Mount Vernon last Tuesday.

"We've definitely improved as a team," guard Bailey Pierron said. "Especially considering we have a lot of people coming from different high schools. We're just going to keep progressing as the season goes along."

It looked early on against New Albany that Bradley might be outclassed by the more experienced Eagles. New Albany, one of the OCC-Capital Division favorites, built a 25-15 lead by halftime, but the Jaguars chipped away in the second half.

The lead was down to five points with Bradley shooting two free throws with less than three minutes remaining, but the Jaguars could not get any closer.

"From the first half to the second half, we started breaking their press and got more shots by beating them down the court," guard Kellie Roudabush said. "Our defense got better as the game went on, and we didn't have as many turnovers in the second half. I think we have confidence that if we keep working hard and getting better, we can hang with anybody."

Against Big Walnut, the Jaguars once again fell behind early, trailing 22-12 at the half. Bradley rallied to tie the score late in regulation and force overtime, but Big Walnut outscored the Jaguars 8-2 in the extra period.

Although the Jaguars are still looking to improve parts of their offense, including their outside shooting, they have been scoring at a solid clip.

The Jaguars have been able to do damage inside with post players Ellen Conti (11.2 points per game before last Tuesday) and Jasmine Junkins (7.3), but guards Roudabush (10.7) and Pierron (8.5) have also contributed on a regular basis.

"Because we are so new to everything, I think we have the versatility to kind of play a couple different ways, as necessary, depending on matchups," Lindsey said. "Quite frankly, some teams don't have any posts, so sometimes we can matchup better with guards, but other times we want to use our size.

" It's a little bit hard to focus on that part (being diverse), because we're trying to get the basics. We're trying not to get too diverse yet, but I see the potential there."