The steps the Thomas Worthington High School girls basketball team took in Laurie Barr's second year as coach can't be measured in inches or feet. They're measured in milestones.

The steps the Thomas Worthington High School girls basketball team took in Laurie Barr's second year as coach can't be measured in inches or feet. They're measured in milestones.

The Cardinals finished 12-10 overall last season, marking their first winning season since 2003-04. They defeated Mount Vernon 60-45 in the first round of the Division I district tournament for their first tournament win since 2004 and upset Upper Arlington - ranked second in the state poll at the time - 45-42 for their first win over the Golden Bears since the 2000-01 season.

"Last year, we did a lot of good things that we hadn't done in a long time," said Barr, whose team lost to Dresden Tri-Valley 60-31 in the second round of the district tournament. "Hopefully, we can take those things and build on them."

Thomas opens Tuesday at home against Beechcroft before beginning OCC-Central Division play Dec. 3 at home against Worthington Kilbourne.

"We're going to be a really good team," 5-foot-5 senior guard Natalie Carroll said. "We've got a lot of shoes to fill from last year's seniors, but we have a lot of people who have been stepping up."

Carroll said the win over Upper Arlington gave her team a lot of confidence. In that game, 2010 graduate Brooklynn Martinez hit a winning 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left. The Bears were 12-0 at the time.

"That was huge," Carroll said. "We hadn't beaten them in such a long time. This year I think we have the potential to beat them again."

In order to build on last season's accomplishments, Thomas must find replacements for six seniors, including Erika Rousculp, now playing for the University of Charleston. Rousculp averaged 14.4 points, 10.4 assists and 3.7 steals last season and made first-team all-OCC-Central.

"Not having Erika around is something we have to get used to, but we have some younger girls who are stepping up," Carroll said. "Frannie (Frazier, a 5-10 sophomore guard/forward) is going a great job."

The Cardinals expect to be quicker and will play a more up-tempo style, Barr said. In addition to Carroll and Frazier, they return senior Hayley Cross (5-6, guard) and junior Whitney Miller (6-0, post player). Carroll averaged eight points, 1.6 assists and 1.5 rebounds last season and was honorable mention all-league.

Miller and Frazier each averaged four points and four rebounds.

Also returning are senior China Oliver (5-1, guard) and juniors Kim Hoerauf (5-5, guard) and Erica Morris (5-9, forward/guard), each of whom played a supporting role last year. Sophomore Mariana Bonilla (5-10, forward) and freshman Katherine Cross (5-5, guard) are new to varsity.

"They've come out with a lot of excitement and energy," Barr said. "They're excited about the foundation we put down last year and they're looking forward to building on it."

Barr is hoping for a better finish in the OCC-Central.

Last season, the Cardinals finished 8-6 in the league to tie Hilliard Darby for fourth place, behind Upper Arlington (13-1), Dublin Coffman (10-4) and Hilliard Davidson (10-4) and ahead of Central Crossing (5-9), Kilbourne (2-12) and Westland (0-14).

"Our conference is very tough and you're going to see people come after each other every night," Barr said. "(How well we do is) going to come down how well (the players) buy into the team concept."