The Thomas Worthington High School boys basketball team could be poised to have a strong season.

The Thomas Worthington High School boys basketball team could be poised to have a strong season.

The Cardinals finished 15-9 overall last season after losing to eventual state champion Westerville South 70-35 in a Division I district semifinal.

Three starters have returned and third-year coach Sean Luzader is excited about his team's potential.

"We have solid starters and backups at each position," said Luzader, whose team opened Dec. 3 by beating Whetstone 63-44. "Overall, we have very good size. I also think we have good overall guard quickness and ball-handling ability and we're just a quicker and more explosive team than we were last season."

The returning starters are seniors Christian Carter (6-foot-2, guard) and Jake Montgomery (6-9, forward) and junior Jaedyn Carter (6-0, guard). Also back is senior Caleb Struewing (6-7, forward).

Last season, Christian Carter averaged 11.2 points and was named second-team all-league, while Montgomery averaged 7.5 points and 6.5 rebounds and was honorable mention all-league and Jaedyn Carter averaged 5.9 points.

Thomas went 8-6 in the OCC-Central Division last season to tie Marysville for third behind Upper Arlington (13-1) and Dublin Coffman (12-2). The Cardinals have moved to the OCC-Cardinal this season with Delaware, Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Darby and Kilbourne.

The Cardinals open league play Friday, Dec. 9, at Bradley.

"Jake Montgomery is a third-year varsity player who is a strong post player and has developed a good perimeter game in the offseason," Luzader said. "He has multiple college scholarship offers and should continue to get more with his play this season.

"Christian Carter is a third-year starting guard and our leading returning scorer. He shot 75 percent from the free-throw line last year. He is a great athlete who can shoot it and drive it equally well."

Also expected to be big contributors this season are junior Curtis Clinger (6-2, guard) and sophomores Kyler Block (6-5, forward) and Ben Wight (6-6, forward).

Completing the roster are senior Andika Yudhasrina (5-8, guard), juniors Jamal Carter (6-1, guard), Grant Cross (5-10, guard), Antwan Howell (6-2, forward) and Julius Mallory (5-11, guard) and sophomore John Tchounguen (5-10, guard).

"We want to intimidate our opponents' offenses with our combination of size, quickness and tenacity," Luzader said. "We are a solid man-to-man team that will mix in some zone and we need to be great in defensive transition to limit easy fast-break points. We need to defend as a team."

Thomas lost four players from last season to graduation, including guard Jaret Gerber and forward Tanner Cowgill. Gerber averaged a team-high 13.8 points and 3.5 assists and was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Cowgill averaged 6.5 points and 5.3 rebounds.

"We need to develop team leaders and find some consistency because we have three sophomores who will see significant playing time," Luzader said.

"Offensively, we want to attack the paint, share the ball and get to the free-throw line. I think if we play unselfishly and with relentless effort, a lot of good things are likely to happen."

Girls team wins crosstown matchup

The girls basketball team outscored host Kilbourne 41-21 in the second half to overcome a seven-point deficit and beat the Wolves 62-49 on Dec. 3 in the season's first matchup between the crosstown rivals.

The rematch between the OCC-Cardinal foes is Jan. 13 at Thomas.

Four Thomas players scored in double digits, led by Jada Sleet with 23 points. Jazzlynn Gaiters had 12 points, Breanne Beatty scored 11 and Moreina Moore added 10.

The Cardinals are 1-1 overall entering their home game against league-rival Bradley on Friday, Dec. 9.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dec. 3 -- at Whetstone

*Dec. 9 -- at Hilliard Bradley

Dec. 10 -- Dayton Meadowdale in Bruins Classic at Briggs

*Dec. 16 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

*Dec. 20 -- at Delaware

Dec. 22 -- vs. Gahanna

Dec. 29 -- Toledo Woodward in Thomas Holiday Tournament

Dec. 30 -- Olmsted Falls or Reynoldsburg in Thomas Holiday Tournament

*Jan. 3 -- at Dublin Scioto

Jan. 7 -- at Centennial

*Jan. 10 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

*Jan. 13 -- at Kilbourne

Jan. 14 -- vs. Olentangy

*Jan. 20 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley

*Jan. 24 -- vs. Delaware

*Jan. 27 -- at Dublin Jerome

Jan. 28 -- at Hilliard Davidson

Jan. 31 -- at Westerville Central

Feb. 4 -- vs. Olentangy Orange

*Feb. 7 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

*Feb. 10 -- at Hilliard Darby

*Feb. 17 -- vs. Kilbourne

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas girls basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 9 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley

*Dec. 12 -- Home vs. Chillicothe

BOWLING

*Dec. 8 -- Olentangy Orange at Capri Lanes

*Dec. 9 -- Westerville Central at Capri Lanes

HOCKEY

*Dec. 9 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 10 -- Gahanna at Chiller Easton

*Dec. 11 -- St. Charles at Chiller North

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 9 -- Sprint Invitational at home

WRESTLING

Dec. 8 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley and Grandview

*League contest