With a mixture of veterans and talented young players, Lamont Tillman is feeling optimistic about his third season as Westerville North High School girls basketball coach.

With a mixture of veterans and talented young players, Lamont Tillman is feeling optimistic about his third season as Westerville North High School girls basketball coach.

The Warriors return their top three scorers from last season in 5-foot-8 junior guard/forward Bethany Worm (10.5 points), 5-5 junior guard Anisja Harris (8.2 points) and 5-6 senior guard Karli Royer (5.9 points). North went 14-9 overall a year ago and finished third (9-5) in the OCC-Cardinal Division behind Hilliard Bradley (13-1) and Westerville South (11-3).

North also has freshman Gabby Hutcherson, a 6-2 post player who has a scholarship offer from Ohio State, according to Tillman.

"We have a good mix of experience and youth, and we're really going to be a good defensive team," Tillman said. "We're pretty athletic and can get up and down the court, but we have some size and that will make us a better interior team."

Joining Hutcherson inside will be 5-9 senior center Asia Harris.

"Asia has gotten a lot better and we expect some production from her," Tillman said. "I think we'll be a deeper team than we were in the past few years in terms of substituting, so that's good."

Worm was special mention all-league and Anisja Harris was honorable mention all-league last season.

After being the first player off the bench as a freshman and a starter last season, Worm knows the importance of strong leadership.

"You have to lead by example and show the younger players how to do things," she said.

Adison Preston, a 5-5 senior guard, is the top reserve. Noel Saffold, a 5-5 senior guard, and 5-2 freshman guard Alyssa Wright also will contribute.

"Our biggest thing is developing chemistry," said Tillman, whose team opened Nov. 30 against DeSales. "We have some young players who are good, but they need to get experience. Gabby and Alyssa will play minutes, but they are freshmen, so they still need to get confidence in their games."

Rounding out the roster are juniors McKenna Jackson (5-9, post player) and Alison Reynolds (5-6, guard) and freshman Mollie Daubenmire (5-10, post player).

"We definitely will have some patience at the beginning of the season," Tillman said. "As a team, we simplified what we need to do and how we do it. We treat things differently than when we have a veteran group."

The Warriors have moved to the OCC-Buckeye and begin league play Friday, Dec. 2, at home against South.

"We have known that the Olentangy schools have been really good, traditionally, so we expect it will be more of a balanced league than we have been in for the last couple of years," Tillman said.

"I wouldn't doubt if the winner would have two or three losses. I don't think there will be a dominant team like (two-time defending OCC-Cardinal champion) Bradley was for the last couple of years."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen

Schedules

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Nov. 30 -- at DeSales

*Dec. 2 -- vs. Westerville South

*Dec. 6 -- at Olentangy Orange

*Dec. 9 -- at Westerville Central

Dec. 13 -- vs. Whitehall

*Dec. 16 -- at Olentangy

Dec. 20 -- vs. New Albany

Dec. 28 -- Licking Heights in Phil Brown Classic at Otterbein

Dec. 29 -- St. Bernard Roger Bacon in Braggin' Rights Classic at Cincinnati Princeton

Jan. 3 -- at Marysville

*Jan. 6 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

Jan. 10 -- at Upper Arlington

Jan. 17 -- at Gahanna

*Jan. 20 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

Jan. 24 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

*Jan. 27 -- vs. Westerville Central

Jan. 28 -- at Hartley

Jan. 31 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*Feb. 3 -- vs. Olentangy

Feb. 4 -- at Watterson

*Feb. 7 -- at Olentangy Liberty

*Feb. 10 -- at Westerville South

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the North boys basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 2 -- Home vs. Westerville South

Dec. 3 -- Gary (Ind.) Bowman Academy in All-Ohio Hoop Showcase at Whitehall

BOWLING

*Dec. 5 -- Westerville Central at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

*Dec. 7 -- Hilliard Bradley at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 2 -- At Thomas Worthington

Dec. 3 -- Columbus Academy Relays

WRESTLING

Dec. 3 -- Cincinnati Moeller Super Duals

*League contest