The Westerville South High School girls basketball team entered the season with its sights on an OCC-Buckeye Division title -- and maybe more.

The Westerville South High School girls basketball team entered the season with its sights on an OCC-Buckeye Division title -- and maybe more.

The Wildcats have moved from the OCC-Cardinal to the OCC-Buckeye, where they will compete against Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange, Westerville Central and Westerville North.

Last season, South went 11-3 in the OCC-Cardinal to finish second behind Hilliard Bradley (13-1).

"Our immediate goal is progress," eighth-year coach Silas Williams said. "We have to get better every day. Our team goal is always (win the) conference, (stay focused on playing) one game at a time and then (win postseason) championships. You want to get that state title."

The Wildcats, who finished 14-9 overall last season, opened Nov. 25 by losing to host Reynoldsburg 59-36 in the Gary West Tipoff Classic.

South begins league play Friday, Dec. 2, at North.

The Wildcats' optimism stems from the return of 5-foot-5 sophomore point guard Sommer Pitzer, who last season was named OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year and honorable mention all-district in Division I after averaging 15.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals.

Now a known commodity, she figures to be the focus of opposing defenses.

"It's a new challenge for (Pitzer) this year," Williams said. "Last year they didn't know she was coming and this year they know she's coming, so it's going to be a different system for her, a different game. She works her butt off, so handling it is not the problem."

Sophomore guard Peyton Guice (5-9) averaged 6.6 points last season and was second-team all-league.

"We don't have a lot of height, but we have a lot of speed and we have good chemistry," Guice said. "We all work really well together. Our big goal is to win the OCC. Our conference is a little tougher, but we think we have enough skill to win our conference."

Junior guard Cailin Duffy (5-10) averaged 7.1 points a year ago and was special mention all-league.

"We're determined (and) really driven because we haven't had a tournament run in the years I've been here," Duffy said. "We want to make a change and go further in the tournament this year."

The Wildcats lost to Logan 34-31 in the second round of the district tournament last season.

Also back are senior Maliyah Jameson (5-10, post player), juniors Tayler James (5-7, guard) and Christina Robertson (5-7, guard) and sophomore Jasmine Konneker (5-6, guard).

Junior Bryanna Sheppard (5-10, post player) is a transfer from Olentangy who must sit out the first 11 games because of OHSAA rules.

Other players are senior Olivia Yeboah (5-11, post player) and freshmen Asaya Bulgin (6-0, post player) and Anyssa Jones (5-10, guard).

"Every year is a new challenge," Williams said. "I know we're growing, getting (more) talented, so growth is a process. You don't run when it gets tough, you stay around. We're going to be all right. I love coming out there every day. I love the relationships that you build (with) the parents (and) players. I love the school, so as long as I keep enjoying it, I'll keep coming back."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Nov. 25 -- at Reynoldsburg in Gary West Tipoff Classic

Nov. 29 -- vs. Gahanna

*Dec. 2 -- at Westerville North

Dec. 6 -- at Logan

*Dec. 9 -- vs. Olentangy

Dec. 13 -- vs. Dublin Coffman

*Dec. 15 -- at Olentangy Liberty

Dec.28 -- vs. Whitehall

Jan. 3 -- at Pickerington Central

*Jan. 6 -- at Olentangy Orange

Jan. 16 -- Akron Hoban in Classic in the Country at Berlin Hiland

*Jan. 20 -- vs. Westerville Central

Jan. 24 -- vs. Upper Arlington

*Jan. 27 -- at Olentangy

Jan. 31 -- at Pickerington North

*Feb. 3 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty

*Feb. 7 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

*Feb. 10 -- vs. Westerville North

Feb. 14 -- vs. Watterson

*Feb. 17 -- at Westerville Central

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the South boys basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 2 -- At Westerville North

Dec. 5 -- At Gahanna

BOWLING

Dec. 3 -- Kickoff Tournament at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

*Dec. 6 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Columbus Square Bowling Palace

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 2 -- At Thomas Worthington

*Dec. 3 -- Olentangy Orange at Westerville Community Center

*League contest