An infusion of young talent could help the Grandview Heights High School girls basketball team overcome the problems that typically arise from having an inexperienced roster.
The Bobcats lost eight players to graduation after going 15-9 overall last season and finishing fourth (7-5) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind champion London (11-1). However, fourth-year coach Brian O'Mara likes what he sees from his fledgling group.
"We're working on ways to identify where our points will be coming from," said O'Mara, whose team opened Nov. 28 at Berne Union. "We graduated 90 percent of our points from last season, but I like our freshman and sophomore classes. They are athletic and disciplined, and we have high hopes for them."
The Bobcats graduated their point guard from last season in Lauren Collier, who was second-team all-district in Division III and first-team all-league after leading Grandview in scoring (16.5 points), assists (5.0) and steals (2.0). Another 2017 graduate, forward Lizzie Van Deusen, was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league after averaging 13.1 points.
Forwards Jayla Coplan (5-foot-4), Isabel Girardi (5-7) and Kacey Murphy (5-10) are the only seniors. Junior guard Makenzie Bush (5-6) and sophomore forward Emma Hall (5-9) also have varsity experience.
"We're quick," Murphy said. "We have a lot of amazing athletes on this team and defensively we'll be a lot better than we have been in the past because we are faster."
Grandview has two talented newcomers in freshman guards Tayler Pierce (5-8) and Hannah Yochem (5-7).
"Both Hannah and Taylor played AAU ball over the summer, as did Kacey," said O'Mara, whose team begins MSL-Ohio play Saturday, Dec. 2, at Worthington Christian. "Hannah is a good outside shooting point guard and a good ball-handler. Tayler is a slasher who isn't afraid to attack the basket, and she's a good defender."
Murphy said the Bobcats are coming along despite their relative inexperience at the varsity level.
"We're working on it, but it's going slow," she said. "We have a lot of underclassmen so we're trying to teach everyone what to do, but it's getting there.
"I think as seniors we have to provide a lot of leadership. We have the responsibility to teach the underclassmen and the other girls what it means to be a part of this team and how to function on varsity."
Sophomore forward Addison Holcomb (5-7) and sophomore center Pelar Price (5-11) round out the roster.
"We have 16 girls in the program and nine on varsity," O'Mara said. "We have a good shot to be competitive even though we are so young."
Despite the youth, O'Mara didn't shy away from scheduling bigger schools. The Bobcats play Division I programs Delaware and Eastmoor Academy along with Buckeye Valley, a Division II program, in their non-league schedule.
In the league, Whitehall is in Division I and Bexley and London both are Division II teams.
"We're the smallest Division III school in the state," O'Mara said. "We have 118 girls and the cutoff for Division IV is 117, so everyone we play in the league will be bigger than us.
"That being said, we're not going to lay down on our schedule. We want these girls to play against some larger schools, and we expect for them to be competitive.
"We wanted to make sure that we didn't line up cupcakes on our schedule, and I think we were able to do that. We want to prepare these freshman and sophomore classes for the future."
Nov. 28 -- at Berne Union
Nov. 30 -- at Eastmoor Academy
*Dec. 2 -- at Worthington Christian
*Dec. 6 -- at Columbus Academy
*Dec. 8 -- vs. Bexley
*Dec. 16 -- at Whitehall
Dec. 19 -- vs. Liberty Union
Dec. 27 -- at Fairbanks
Jan. 2 -- at Wellington
*Jan. 5 -- at London
Jan. 10 -- at Patriot Prep
*Jan. 13 -- vs. Worthington Christian
Jan. 16 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls
*Jan. 19 -- at Bexley
Jan. 20 -- vs. Delaware
Jan. 22 -- at Zanesville Rosecrans
*Jan. 27 -- vs. Whitehall
*Feb. 2 -- vs. Columbus Academy
Feb. 6 -- at Buckeye Valley
*Feb. 10 -- vs. London
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights boys basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Nov. 30 -- At Patriot Prep
Dec. 2 -- Minford in Chillicothe Zane Trace Tip-Off Classic
Nov. 30 -- Watterson at Sawmill Lanes
*Dec. 5 -- Columbus International at Sawmill Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 2 -- St. Charles Catholic Showdown
Dec. 4 -- DeSales at Columbus Aquatics Center
Dec. 2 -- Lee Spitzer Invitational at Upper Arlington