The Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball team is looking to make a big jump this season.
The Wolves finished 7-16 overall last season but have set a winning season as their top goal.
"We've got potential to finish with a winning record, but we need to take the steps and continue to put in the work in order to reach that goal," said sixth-year coach Jim Strode, whose team opened Nov. 25 with a 45-36 loss to Franklin in the Gary West Memorial Tip-Off Classic at Reynoldsburg.
The Wolves, who played Marion Harding on Nov. 27, open OCC-Cardinal Division play Friday, Nov. 30, at Hilliard Bradley.
Kilbourne, which went 4-8 in the league last season to place sixth behind co-champions Thomas and Dublin Scioto (both 9-3), is hoping to have better scoring balance this season after losing starting guards Maggie Crozier and Morgan Schutte to graduation.
Crozier, a four-year starter, averaged 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds and was named first-team all-league last season, while Schutte averaged 4.7 points and was honorable mention all-league. Crozier set four program records last season: single-game points (32), single-season points (394), career points (1,213) and career field-goal percentage (48.0).
The Wolves return two starters in 5-foot-5 sophomore point guard Amya Harris and 5-7 junior guard/forward Julia Taylor, who averaged 5.5 and 5.9 points, respectively, last season.
Also returning are 6-2 senior post player Sarah Baxter and 5-4 senior guard Reilly St. Meyer. Baxter averaged 4.1 rebounds a year ago.
"Sarah is our rim protector on defense," Strode said. "The good news is that we have some depth in the forward position and that should be a big help for us."
Supplying that depth are juniors Alexis Hudson, Alyssa Hudson and Jackie Wolford. The Hudson sisters are move-ins from West Virginia.
A pair of freshman shooting guards -- Lauren Scott and Celeste Sloma -- were expected to begin the season in the starting lineup along with Baxter, Harris and Taylor. Sloma had 18 points and Scott and Taylor both scored six against Franklin.
"Celeste is a long, athletic slasher who can get to the bucket and Lauren also is a long, athletic guard who can knock down shots," Strode said. "Amya is one of the quicker point guards in the league, so I think this is a team that will get up and down the floor.
"The keys to our success will be staying healthy and improving on defense. We've got to handle a tough schedule in a league where every night will be a grind."
Hockey team to play j.v. schedule
The hockey team again is competing at the junior varsity level this winter.
The Wolves finished 3-16-2 overall last season, but showed progress by going 2-2-1 in their final five games.
Kilbourne returns nine players in seniors Adam Clay (defenseman), Carson Dough-erty (forward), Alex Griffin (forward), Josh Sonenberg (forward) and Caroline Watson (forward) and sophomores Elijah Alpern (forward), Andrew Bickell (forward), Kieran Cummings (defenseman) and Frank Morrison (forward).
Rounding out the roster are senior Harry Morse (goaltender), juniors Colin Capehart (forward) and Joey Henwood (defenseman) and freshmen Riley Geeding (forward), Lia Gimbel (forward), Will Gundel (defenseman) and Cole Johnson (forward).
Kilbourne went 1-14-1 (3 points) to finish sixth in the Capital Hockey Conference-J.V. White Division last season, behind Upper Arlington (24, 10-3-3), Columbus Academy (21, 10-5-1), Cincinnati St. Xavier (14, 5-7-4), Cincinnati Moeller (14, 7-9) and Olentangy (9, 3-10-3).
New Albany joins the White Division this season, while UA and Academy have moved up to the Red Division.
Clay is the team captain, with Dougherty and Sonenberg serving as alternates for second-year coach Bryan Cummings said.
"Those three, along with our four sophomores, have good experience," Cummings said. "We're trying to distribute them on different lines to have some (scoring) balance, but it could take us some time to jell. Andrew Bickell and Kieran Cummings, my son, have played travel hockey and Elijah and Frank came on real strong as freshmen at the end of last year.
"We lost a four-year (goalie) last year and Harry is a first-year player trying to step in and help us. But we have to help him too, defensively, and by winning faceoffs and getting more shots on offense."
Kilbourne lost its opener to Olentangy Liberty, 11-0 on Nov. 18.
Beals, Jordan make college decisions
Two student-athletes announced their college decisions Nov. 14.
Amber Beals has committed to play women's volleyball at Michigan and Leighanne Jordan will play field hockey at Bellarmine.
Nov. 25 -- Franklin in Gary West Memorial Tip-Off Classic at Reynoldsburg
Nov. 27 -- vs. Marion Harding
*Nov. 30 -- at Hilliard Bradley
Dec. 1 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
*Dec. 7 -- vs. Dublin Jerome
*Dec. 11 -- at Thomas
*Dec. 14 -- at Hilliard Darby
*Dec. 21 -- vs. Delaware
*Jan. 4 -- vs. Dublin Scioto
*Jan. 8 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin
*Jan. 11 -- vs. Thomas
Jan. 15 -- vs. New Albany
*Jan. 18 -- at Dublin Jerome
*Jan. 22 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley
*Jan. 25 -- vs. Hilliard Darby
Jan. 28 -- vs. Walnut Ridge
*Feb. 1 -- at Dublin Scioto
*Feb. 5 -- at Delaware
*Feb. 8 -- at Olentangy Berlin
Feb. 11 -- at Teays Valley
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne boys basketball, bowling, hockey, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Dec. 4 -- At Westerville South
*Dec. 4 -- Hilliard Bradley at Capri Lanes
*Nov. 30 -- Upper Arlington at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 2 -- Cincinnati St. Xavier at Cincinnati Northland Ice Center
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 30 -- Worthington/Westerville Invitational at Thomas
Dec. 1 -- Dublin Scioto at Thomas
Dec. 4 -- Marysville at Thomas
Dec. 1 -- Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational at Upper Arlington
Dec. 5 -- At Franklin Heights