Injuries hampered the Bexley High School girls basketball team last winter, but those difficulties could pay dividends this season.
Several young players received important varsity time, and that should help the Lions improve on their 12-12 overall record and fifth-place finish (5-7) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind champion London (11-1).
The injuries included the loss of 6-foot-1 standout guard/forward Brie Toney, a 2017 graduate who now is playing at Marshall University. She missed the season with a right foot injury.
"We never had a set group of starters but had a consistent rotation of kids who started at times throughout the season," fourth-year coach Joshua Price said. "We have a lot of experience coming back with a good core group that we are excited about. We're coming along nicely even though we still have a ways to go."
Leading the returnees is 5-7 junior point guard Maddy Vincent, who was honorable mention all-district in Division II and first-team all-league last season after averaging a team-best 10.1 points along with 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
"I think that this preseason has been the best in my high school career," Vincent said. "I think that we have been working together really well and developing quicker than we ever did last season and we have a lot of potential."
Senior guard/forward Amanda Frey (5-8) returns after averaging 8.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.1 steals. Junior guard/forward Emma Dressel (5-9; honorable mention all-league) averaged 7.1 points. 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals.
"We have been going 100 percent in practice," Dressel said. "We have all been hustling well as a group, making good plays and communicating well."
Others who saw time as starters last season are 5-10 junior post players Makayla Burzynski and Serena Sereki and sophomores Caroline Bunker (5-6, guard/forward) and Ella Hayden (5-7, guard).
Frey is one of two seniors on the team. The other is 5-7 forward/post player Stacy McDonald, who moved in from Atlanta.
"We only have two seniors, which is encouraging when you know we have a good group back," said Price, whose team opened Nov. 29 against Bloom-Carroll. "We have a lot of juniors who are doing a great job as leaders. They have all been on varsity for at least one year and Maddy was on varsity full time as a freshman. They might not be seniors, but they still have a lot of varsity experience."
Rounding out the roster are sophomores Sophia Baker (5-9, forward) and Abby Luper (5-8, forward) and freshmen Maia Ben-David (5-11, forward), Zoe Boxill (5-11, forward), Fiona Duncan (6-0, forward) and Maddy Young (5-3, guard).
"We have solid depth through our lineup and we plan to play at a pretty fast (pace) both offensively and defensively," said Price, whose team opens MSL-Ohio play Saturday, Dec. 2, at home against Whitehall. "The strength of this group is defense. We need to get in better shape, and that's one of the areas we need to work on."
Nov. 29 -- vs. Bloom-Carroll
*Dec. 2 -- vs. Whitehall
Dec. 5 -- vs. Hartley
*Dec. 8 -- at Grandview
Dec. 12 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls
Dec. 14 -- at Liberty Union
*Dec. 16 -- at Columbus Academy
*Dec. 21 -- vs. London
Dec. 28 -- at Licking Heights
Dec. 30 -- at Springfield Northwestern
*Jan. 5 -- at Worthington Christian
Jan. 11 -- vs. Granville
*Jan. 13 -- at Whitehall
Jan. 17 -- at Columbus South
*Jan. 19 -- vs. Grandview
Jan. 22 -- at Mifflin
*Jan. 27 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Jan. 30 -- vs. Patriot Prep
*Feb. 2 -- at London
Feb. 3 -- vs. Canal Winchester
*Feb. 10 -- vs. Worthington Christian
Feb. 13 -- at Ready
Below are the coming schedules for the Bexley boys basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Dec. 1 -- At Logan Elm
Dec. 5 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 1 -- Teays Valley at Pickaway County YMCA
Dec. 2 -- Wellington at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 2 -- Tony Pizzurro Memorial Tournament at DeSales