Liz Lehman expected a rebuilding season with the Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team with only one senior and three players with any varsity experience returning.

Liz Lehman expected a rebuilding season with the Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team with only one senior and three players with any varsity experience returning.

But three of those four players did not come back to the team, leaving sophomore Emily Krumpe as the Panthers' veteran.

Lehman will look to the familiarity her players had playing together on the junior varsity team as a formula for success in her second season leading the program.

"These girls work hard, they like coming to practice and they all want to learn," said Lehman, whose team finished 13-9 last season after losing to fourth-seeded Brookhaven in the second round of the Division I district tournament. "They will have to adjust to the speed of varsity play and to the expectations we have of them as varsity players as opposed to being on j.v."

Senior Korrine Culley did not come out for the team to focus on lacrosse. The Panthers also graduated six seniors.

Krumpe, a 5-foot-11 post player, is back after scoring 3.8 points per game and grabbing 4.1 rebounds as a freshman.

"Emily is our tallest player, she has a good shot and can play inside and outside," said Lehman, whose team opens Tuesday against Dublin Scioto. "She is pretty strong and her dream is to play college basketball, which she should be able to do if she continues to work hard on her game. She really is a coachable kid."

Key junior performers look to be guard/forward Annie Hilditch (5-6), forward Bri Rispress (5-10) and point guard Audrie Wolfe (5-6).

"Audrie mostly played point guard on j.v. last year, likes to play there and kind of owns the position now," said Lehman, whose j.v. team was 11-9 last season. "She's a good soccer player who is pretty fast and we want to try to use those skills as much as possible.

"Bri was a regional qualifier in hurdles during track and we want to use her athleticism as much as we can. Annie has played on j.v. since she was a freshman and basketball is her only sport. She has spent a lot of hours in the gym working on her game. These three really look to be our go-to players."

Also in the mix for varsity time are juniors Nettie Benjamin (5-7, post player), Molly Bretz (5-8, guard/forward) and Alex Hoferkamp (5-5, guard), as well as sophomores Katie Esposito (5-6, guard) and Sydney Palsgrove (5-6, forward).

Last year, the Panthers finished tied for fourth with Thomas Worthington at 8-6 in the OCC-Central behind Upper Arlington at 13-1 and Dublin Coffman and Hilliard Davidson, both at 10-4. Central Crossing was sixth at 5-9 followed by Worthington Kilbourne at 2-12 and Westland at 0-14.

"Coffman should be good with the best point guard in the league with (Sarah) McQuade and they will have good post play," Lehman said. "Plus they were successful in their fall sports, so the kids know how to win.

"I also expect UA to be good with their guard play and I think even though Davidson is young, they will surprise some people."