A confident Westland High School boys basketball team is preparing for what it hopes will be a successful season.

A confident Westland High School boys basketball team is preparing for what it hopes will be a successful season.

The Cougars will open Saturday at home against Reynoldsburg.

"The team would like to have a shot at winning the league," coach Todd Parker said. "The team talked about 13 or 14 wins, which would be exceptional. We do have a tough league and I tried to talk them down a little bit, but that's what they've come up with. I think we can probably be a little over .500 if things fell our way. Of course, you always want to do well in the tournament, so hopefully we're playing our best basketball at the end of the season."

Last season, Westland finished 7-15 overall and split a pair of games in the Division I district tournament. The Cougars opened with a 66-59 win overÊCentral Crossing before falling to Dublin Scioto 64-49.

Westland finished fifth (3-7) in the OCC-Ohio Division behind first-place Hilliard Darby (9-1).

The Cougars lost several players to graduation, including team leader Demarcus Jackson, who was second on the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game. He was first-team all-OCC-Ohio and honorable mention all-district.

Also gone are Adam Tufts (9.8 points) and Jordan McKenzie (9.3).

Parker, however, feels his team has the firepower to contend in theÊOCC-Central. Leading the charge should be junior guard Anthony Jackson (6-foot-1), who led the team in scoring last season at 16.2 points per game. He is Demarcus' younger brother.

He was honorable mention all-OCC and all-district.

"Anthony is a very good scorer," Parker said. "He is very athletic, but in the OCC a lot of times you need more than just one standout player."

Also back are senior post players Tyler Shepherd (6-4) and Jared South (6-4) and senior Dan Martin (5-7), who is expected to replace Demarcus Jackson at point guard.

The remaining players have little to no varsity experience, but will be called upon to make solid contributions. Rounding out the roster are juniors Yusuf Abdi (6-1 guard), Kalvin Cowsen (6-2 forward), Matt Debord (6-1 forward/post player), Donte Jelks (6-3 forward), Ali Omer (5-11 forward/guard), Roy Ray (6-0 forward) and Mike Tumblison (5-8 guard).

"We have a pretty young team," Parker said. "We have a lot of juniors and only three seniors plus Anthony Jackson, so we have some experience. We have a whole crop of juniors that we're trying to bring in and get them acquainted with varsity basketball."

Parker also expects 6-7 sophomore post player James Wilson to begin the season at the junior varsity level, but to eventually make an impact on the varsity.

The Cougars will compete in the OCC-Central with Central Crossing, Dublin Coffman, Darby, Hilliard Davidson, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington and Worthington Kilbourne.

"We've been in pretty tough divisions the past several years," Parker said. "Newark, Lancaster and Darby are perennial powerhouses. I'm glad we don't have to play Gahanna. They're always very good. It's still a very strong OCC league, but the main thing I've concerned myself with is the style of play.

"We went from a league where it was kind of a mix to now a lot of these teams that we're playing in our league are going to be slow-it-down and pound-it type teams, and that's not our style. We're kind of the oddball as far as that is concerned."

At a glance

•Coach: Todd Parker, sixth season

•Opener: Saturday vs. Reynoldsburg

•Key players: Anthony Jackson, Dan Martin, Tyler Shepherd and Jared South