In order to move forward from a 3-18 finish last year, the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball team had to start over.

In order to move forward from a 3-18 finish last year, the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball team had to start over.

The Wolves changed most of their assistant coaches and some of their preseason drills and lost some of last year's starters and key contributors. Steve Palmer, who is entering his third year as Kilbourne's coach, is looking forward to seeing what the changes bring forth.

"A lot of success comes down to team chemistry," said Palmer, whose team lost to third-seeded Dublin Scioto 76-33 in the first round of the Division I district tournament. "Last year we just didn't have that chemistry. We had several players who could've come back but decided not to come out."

The Wolves open against visiting Licking Heights on Tuesday and play host to Thomas Worthington on Dec. 4. The Hornets, who lost to Kilbourne 48-35, were one of two teams the Wolves beat last year. Kilbourne also beat OCC-Central Division foe Westland 60-35 and 47-41 for their two league wins.

Kilbourne returns five letterwinners in seniors Aubrey Wilson (5-foot-10, post), Kelsey Koke (5-6, wing/guard) and Laken Harris (5-7, wing/guard) and juniors Olivia Zimmerman (5-7, point guard) and Sarah Bechtel (5-7, guard).

Palmer is hoping Bechtel can make up for the loss of graduated guard Tori Besser, the team's leading scorer with a 10.3 points per game average. Besser, who was second-team all-OCC, averaged 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.6 assists and made 36 of 121 (29.8 percent) 3-pointers.

Bechtel averaged 4.7 points and made 21 of 77 (27.3 percent) 3-pointers.

Palmer will rely on sophomores Marissa Elliott (5-6, guard), Meredith Schram (5-8, post) and Mary Gardner (6-0, post) who are coming off a 12-8 season on the junior varsity.

"We've all worked together," Zimmerman said. "We seem to be more meshed together than we were last year. The four returnees have tried to incorporate the newcomers as much as possible. We encourage them to push themselves every practice."

Last year, Kilbourne went 2-12 in the OCC-Central to finish behind Dublin Coffman (14-0), Hilliard Davidson (11-3), Upper Arlington (10-4), Hilliard Darby (8-6), Central Crossing (6-8) and Thomas Worthington (5-9), but ahead of Westland (0-14).

Coffman has won four consecutive league championships. Last year, the Shamrocks were ranked second in the final state poll and finished 25-1 overall after losing to West Chester Lakota West 57-49 in a regional final last year.

Coffman went 88-9 and won four OCC titles over the last four years, but has lost four seniors, including Becca Bornhorst (Butler University) and OCC-Central Player of the Year Sam MacKay (University of Dayton).

"Coffman lost a lot to graduation but they'll be strong," Palmer said. "Then you got Thomas and Upper Arlington as the top three dogs. We're going to have a lot of new faces and new teams."