Though the unassuming faces of the players may indicate otherwise, there is a quiet air of confidence to the Hartley High School girls basketball team. The Hawks have seen their win total, league standing and postseason advancement improve each season under coach Mike Lanza, and they believe that trend will continue this season.

Though the unassuming faces of the players may indicate otherwise, there is a quiet air of confidence to the Hartley High School girls basketball team. The Hawks have seen their win total, league standing and postseason advancement improve each season under coach Mike Lanza, and they believe that trend will continue this season.

Last year, Hartley was 12-9 overall and 4-6 in the CCL to placed fourth, behind Watterson (9-1), DeSales (8-2) and Ready (6-4) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (3-7) and Worthington Christian (0-10).

The Hawks opened the Division II district tournament with a 37-34 win over Bexley in the second round before losing to top-seeded Big Walnut 42-25 in a district semifinal.

Hartley is expected to be led by 5-foot-3 senior guard Brittany Combs, 5-6 senior guard Angela Lanza, 5-11 senior post player Alexys Settles, 5-3 junior guard Amanda Setser and 5-8 junior forward Carolyn Morris.

Lanza was named honorable mention all-district last season.

"We've got four players returning that played significant minutes last year, and that's going to help us," said coach Lanza, whose team opens Friday at Groveport and plays Wednesday at Bexley. "Angela and Alexys have started since they were sophomores and they understand what we do and have a nice presence on the floor. But I think the main thing that's happened is our numbers are up."

With more players in the program, Hartley not only has seen more success at the varsity level, but with the junior varsity and freshman teams as well. That has helped build depth for the varsity team.

"Our depth is much better than it's ever been," coach Lanza said. "We've got 13 players on varsity and they're all getting to the point where we can put them in and things just keep clicking."

That added depth should help Hartley be more competitive in the CCL, though Watterson, DeSales and Ready all are expected to be good again.

"One of the main things we want to accomplish is to be better in the league," coach Lanza said. "We've made a lot of progress in that area the last two years. We've made a lot of significant progress with the program since then."

For Hartley to move up in the CCL standings, it must improve its full-court game on both sides of the ball, coach Lanza said.

"We want to be able to compete with the teams like Ready, DeSales and Watterson," Morris said. "We're older this year and coach has picked up the intensity and expects a lot out of us."

"I think the past couple years we've kind of been laying the foundation," Setser said. "I think this year will depend on how much we can push ourselves. One of our main goals is to do better in the CCL this year. We'd like to beat those teams that we haven't been able to beat so far.

"We've got a lot more experience this year. Some players on this team have been starting since their sophomore year, so they've got some experience, and the freshman class coming in has given us a lot of height."

Hartley's Jyla Hicks defends against teammate Jaana Moten in practice on Nov. 20. The Hawks open Friday at Groveport.

Hartley's Alexys Settles tries to make a move against teammate Carolyn Morris.