A certain lecture at the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association Clinic in September stuck with Canal Winchester High School girls coach Willie Jordan.
First-year Ohio State men's coach Chris Holtmann preached the importance of making one more pass whenever possible, and it struck Jordan that such an approach could be the key to building on last year's 10-win improvement from the previous season.
With some of their centerpieces back from a team that went 12-11 overall last season, including leading scorer and rebounder Shalea Byrd, the Indians find themselves having to adjust to never settling.
"It's more about getting the team together and playing as a team rather than being focused on the individual," 5-foot-7 senior shooting guard Braelyn Buchler said. "We're trying to get everybody involved. If we make the next pass, it just comes easier to us. We'll get better shots, more open shots. It's all about trying to get the best shot we can.
"We have shooters all over the floor and our posts are solid on the inside. We feed the post, and when (opponents) start collapsing, we pass it to the guards and get them shots. We go back and forth."
Byrd, a 5-foot-10 sophomore forward, averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds last season as the Indians recorded their first postseason win in seven years, defeating Centennial 60-45 in the first round of the Division I district tournament before losing to Grove City 61-45 in the second round.
Kynadee Anthony, a 6-0 junior center/forward who averaged 7.7 points and 7.5 rebounds a year ago, helps lead a group of returnees that also includes juniors Ariana Coleman (5-6, guard) and Camryn Woodrow (6-0, forward) and sophomores Amanda Rarick (5-8, guard) and Natalie Rarick (5-10, forward).
Canal Winchester opened Nov. 28 at home against Worthington Christian.
"We're getting better at being cohesive," said Jordan, who is in his fourth season. "We are playing together better. We need some more work at making that next pass to create the wide open shot.
"We were really young (last year). We were starting and playing two sophomores and three freshmen most of the time, so this year we have to learn to win those close games. There were six or seven games last year we could have won but didn't because we were making youthful mistakes we couldn't overcome."
Markiya McCormick, a 5-7 junior who moved in from Pickerington Central, is expected to play point guard, which moves Amanda Rarick to shooting guard. Jordan hopes they can help replace the production of junior guard Courtney Scott, who moved to Virginia after averaging 9.9 points last season.
Rounding out the roster are seniors N'Adia Hamilton (5-6, guard) and Dyamond Styles (5-7, guard) and junior Kiyah Welch (6-2, center).
Canal Winchester begins OCC-Capital Division play Monday, Dec. 4, at defending league champion Newark. The Indians went 7-3 in the league last year to finish second behind the Wildcats (10-0).
"I like our speed," Byrd said. "We have a lot of fast post players and we have fast guards now so we can run up and down the floor and play hot potato. We don't have to get into a set. We can blend into these fast sets."
Nov. 28 -- vs. Worthington Christian
*Dec. 4 -- at Newark
*Dec. 8 -- at Big Walnut
Dec. 9 -- at Licking Heights
*Dec. 15 -- vs. Groveport
Dec. 19 -- at Central Crossing
*Dec. 22 -- vs. Franklin Heights
Dec. 29 -- at Bloom-Carroll
*Jan. 5 -- at New Albany
Jan. 6 -- vs. Hartley
Jan. 9 -- vs. Lancaster
*Jan. 12 -- vs. Newark
Jan. 16 -- vs. Watterson
*Jan. 19 -- vs. Big Walnut
Jan. 20 -- Columbus South in Lady Nubian Classic at Africentric
Jan. 23 -- vs. Westland
*Jan. 26 -- at Groveport
Jan. 30 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
*Feb. 2 -- at Franklin Heights
Feb. 3 -- at Bexley
Feb. 6 -- at Pickerington North
*Feb. 9 -- vs. New Albany
Below are the coming schedules for the Canal Winchester boys basketball and swimming & diving teams:
Dec. 5 -- Home vs. Bexley
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 2 -- Athens Invitational at Ohio University
Dec. 5 -- Grove City and Wilmington at Grove City YMCA