As his team was finishing with preseason photos, Westerville North High School girls basketball coach Jim Kloepfer sat and thought about the coming season.

As his team was finishing with preseason photos, Westerville North High School girls basketball coach Jim Kloepfer sat and thought about the coming season.

Last season, North finished 2-19 overall and was winless in league play, but that was with only one returning starter and several players untested in varsity competition. But now the Warriors return five players who started at one time last season, and that brought a smile to Kloepfer's face.

"I think we work well together and have good chemistry now that I don't think we had last year," said Kloepfer, who is in his sixth season. "They're all working very hard and they really have been a good group of girls to work with."

Senior Megan Lutz, a 5-foot-11 post player, led the team in most categories by averaging 10.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

"One thing we've been working on is being patient in our offense," Lutz said. "We have put in plays to help us learn patience because last season we would often shoot before we had an open shot."

Other starters in the frontcourt include junior Kate Denney (5-8) and sophomore Bri Clegg (5-7) with a backcourt of sophomore point guard Monique Jones (5-2) and Nycole Henderson (5-4). Ashley Pryor, a 5-9 senior guard, is a returning letterwinner.

"Our three seniors really have a great attitude," Kloepfer said. "I couldn't be happier with their approach to the season and they really want to help us get back to our previous winning ways."

Rounding out the top nine for the Warriors are juniors Taylor Evans (6-2 post player) and Corrine Smith (5-2 guard) and sophomore Danielle Johnson (5-9 forward), who transferred from DeSales.

"We work hard together and have fun together way more than last year," Lutz said. "And we have D.J., who came from DeSales and really has added some hustle to our team."

Kloepfer said his team has worked on its ball-handling and that could pay dividends with more victories.

"We were averaging 25 turnovers per game last year and we have to get that down to a respectable number," said Kloepfer, who is assisted by Eddie Guice, Britni Lakas, John Murphy and Katie Wirthlin. "We need to get it down to around 15 or less and that comes from making good decisions with the basketball."

The Warriors finished 0-10 in the OCC-Buckeye Division behind Dublin Coffman (10-0), Hilliard Davidson (8-2), Reynoldsburg (6-4) and both Upper Arlington and Grove City at 3-7.

Now they are in the OCC-Cardinal with Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Marysville, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Westerville Central and Westerville South.

"Clearly I think Scioto would be the league favorite, but that doesn't mean they won't be challenged," Kloepfer said.

"But in the preseason they have to be the favorite because the rest of us look to be pretty equal, I think."

The Warriors open Dec. 5 with a league game at home against Olentangy and will play another league contest Dec. 9 at Dublin Jerome.

"It's nice to start a little later. It gives us a great break over the holiday," he said.

At a glance

•Coach: Jim Kloepfer, sixth season

•Opener: Dec. 5 vs. Olentangy

•Key players: Bri Clegg, Kate Denney, Nycole Henderson, Monique Jones and Megan Lutz