Coming off a season in which it reached double digits in victories for the first time in six years, the Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team is hoping to post a winning record under first-year coach Tay Tufts.

Coming off a season in which it reached double digits in victories for the first time in six years, the Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team is hoping to post a winning record under first-year coach Tay Tufts.

The Panthers finished 10-13 overall last season, marking the first time they've earned at least 10 wins since finishing 13-9 in 2009-10.

"We will have to learn to fight through mistakes and miscues to find synergy," Tufts said. "We want to play with energy, effort and focus in order to execute with precision."

Tufts has 20 years of coaching experience, most recently spending three seasons at Licking Heights. He was set to begin his fourth season with the Hornets a year ago when he requested a leave of absence because of a family matter two days before the season opener.

Tufts replaced Jodi Korbas, who stepped down after four seasons with the Panthers.

Darby, which opened Nov. 29 against Franklin Heights, lost just two players from a year ago to graduation and has six returnees in senior Jessica Cox (5-foot-8, guard), juniors Regan Carsey (5-8, guard) and Bri Pizzurro (5-11, forward) and sophomores Annie Rauch (6-2, center), Stacie Rispress (6-0, forward/center) and Sydney Wyngarden (5-7, point guard).

Rauch was named honorable mention all-district in Division I and second-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division last season when the Panthers went 5-9 in the league to finish sixth behind champion Bradley (13-1).

Darby will play host to Marysville on Friday, Dec. 2, before beginning league play Dec. 9 at Delaware.

"Annie is a captain this year and she has a long list of Division I and Division II colleges very interested in recruiting her," Tufts said. "In her first game on varsity as a freshman last year, she scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. She continued to have success throughout last season and performed very well this summer as she averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds a game. She is looking to continue her growth this season by improving her scoring touch, defense, and rebounding totals."

Wyngarden was honorable mention all-league last season.

"Syd had great success this summer in AAU," Tufts said. "Her ability to shoot the 3-pointer will help us spread the court. She has improved her ball-handling and continues to work on her fundamental skill set daily. She is a coach's dream, always in the gym working on her game."

Tufts said Cox, who is expected to be the lone senior in the starting lineup, will be counted on for leadership.

"Her leadership has been instrumental all summer and preseason," Tufts said. "With the play she exhibited this summer and preseason, Jess is on course to have a very good season. She averaged 10 points, five rebounds and two assists this summer and has been lighting it up in the preseason."

Also on the roster are seniors Gabby Iosue (5-7, guard) and Nedine Rasul (5-10, center), junior Alexa Dixon (5-9, guard/forward), sophomores Erin Cowen (5-9, forward), Abbey Spencer (5-6, guard) and Caitlyn Spencer (5-6, point guard) and freshman Olivia Krumpe (6-1, center).

"We're a young team, but with goals of getting better daily and growing as a unit, we would like to be very competitive in our league," Tufts said. "I think we're a pretty quick team, so we will look to push the ball on offense and play aggressive defense, using active hands and quick feet."

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Nov. 29 -- vs. Franklin Heights

Dec. 2 -- vs. Marysville

*Dec. 9 -- at Delaware

Dec. 10 -- at Groveport

Dec. 13 -- at Olentangy Orange

*Dec. 16 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

Dec. 17 -- vs. Grove City

*Dec. 20 -- at Dublin Scioto

*Dec. 23 -- at Bradley

Dec. 27-28 -- Watterson Christmas Classic

*Jan. 6 -- at Dublin Jerome

Jan. 7 -- at Davidson

*Jan. 10 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*Jan. 13 -- vs. Bradley

Jan. 17 -- vs. Jonathan Alder

*Jan. 20 -- vs. Delaware

*Jan. 24 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

*Jan. 27 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

Jan. 31 -- vs. Canal Winchester

*Feb. 3 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

*Feb. 10 -- at Thomas Worthington

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Darby boys basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dec. 2 -- At Marysville

Dec. 6 -- Home vs. Central Crossing

BOWLING

*Dec. 6 -- Olentangy Liberty at Sawmill Lanes

WRESTLING

Dec. 7 -- At Grove City

*League contest