When the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball team begins its season Tuesday at Licking Heights, fourth-year coach Steve Palmer doesn't want to see any letdowns.

When the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball team begins its season Tuesday at Licking Heights, fourth-year coach Steve Palmer doesn't want to see any letdowns.

"The thing I remember most about last year was the lapses we had," said Palmer, whose team finished 3-18 overall last season. "We'd play three solid quarters and then we'd let down.

"Those 3- to 6-minute lapses ended up costing us. We can't have letdowns like that. If we can avoid those lapses, I like our chances (of improving)."

Those lapses contributed to Kilbourne's 59-20 loss to Gahanna in the first round of the Division I tournament last year. The Wolves trailed 6-5 early in the first quarter before the Lions went on a 22-4 run to take a 28-9 lead into halftime.

The OCC-Central Division also proved to be unforgiving to teams that didn't play complete games. The Wolves finished 2-12 in the league to place seventh, behind Upper Arlington (13-1), Dublin Coffman (10-4), Hilliard Davidson (10-4), Hilliard Darby (8-6), Thomas Worthington (8-6) and Central Crossing (5-9) and ahead of Westland (0-14). UA was ranked eighth in the final Division I state poll.

"With teams like UA, Coffman, Thomas and the Hilliards, it's always going to be a difficult division," 5-foot-7 senior guard Olivia Zimmerman said. "Right now, we just need to focus on our game and not worry about anyone else's."

Kilbourne graduated four players from a year ago, including Laken Harris, who averaged 2.2 points and 1.4 rebounds last season and made honorable mention all-league. Zimmerman, who served as a captain last year, and seniors Sarah Bechtel (5-7, guard) and Darby McMullen (5-11, post player) will serve as captains this season. The trio lead the team along with junior Marissa Elliott (5-7, guard), who averaged 5.4 points and 2.1 rebounds last season.

The Wolves will be looking to improve offensively this season. Last year, after defeating Licking Heights 66-33 in the season opener, Kilbourne did not top the 60-point mark again. The team's two other victories were a 57-34 win over Westland and a 43-34 win over the Cougars.

Zimmerman believes improved team speed will help the Wolves this season.

"This year we're going to be a lot faster and push the ball up the court more," she said. "We were decently fast last year, but we have some post players who are a little quicker on their feet this year."

Palmer also is expecting big contributions from 6-0 junior post player Mary Frances Gardner, who dressed for varsity last season but didn't get much playing time. Juniors BreOnna Brown (5-9, post player/forward) and Brie Roberts (5-6, guard) and sophomores Maria Calvert (5-10, post player) and Lauren Barnhart (5-6, guard) and freshman Kayla Pack (5-6, guard) are new to varsity.

"What's going to make the difference in how we do this year is how much younger players can contribute," Palmer said. "They have to learn how to make quick passes and decisions and their moves need to be more polished. They can't play scared for the first 12 to 15 games. We need to have them contribute early on."