The Dublin Scioto girls basketball team is gearing up for what it hopes will be a third consecutive winning season.
Last season, the Irish finished 15-10 overall and 10-4 in the OCC-Cardinal Division and reached a Division I district semifinal.
Two years ago, Scioto went 12-11 and shared the league title with Thomas Worthington.
"We have such a great group of young ladies," said seventh-year coach Jen Music, whose team opened Nov. 26 against Grove City. "They work hard. They're a great team. They're the true essence of the word 'team.' They get along on and off the court and that contributes to the success."
Leading the list of returnees are 5-foot-10 senior guard Lauren Erickson, who averaged 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds and was named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district last season, and 5-9 junior post player Karleigh Rothe, who averaged 9.0 points and 7.0 rebounds and was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district.
Other key returnees include 6-0 senior post players Folake Olujide-Ajibade and Foluke Olujide-Ajibade.
"Folake and Foluke had a great fall," Music said. "They work hard in the weight room. They even bring a lot of speed for us. They can guard on the outside in the full court and they play big in the middle."
Also back are seniors Alex Birko (5-6, guard) and Marlae Davis (5-7, forward) and juniors Ashleigh Rothe (5-8, guard) and Avery Schwab (5-5, guard).
Sophomore Tiffany Trinh (5-2, guard) rounds out the team.
"It's really special that we all work together pretty well," Erickson said. "We have pretty good chemistry."
Scioto lost one of its top scorers from last season in 2019 graduate Natalie Hutras, who averaged 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Hutras now plays for Denison.
The Irish, who placed second in the OCC-Cardinal a year ago behind Hilliard Darby (12-2), begin league play Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Jerome.
"We'll be competitive in the league," Music said. "Our goal is to get another league title like we did a couple of years ago. (Olentangy) Berlin is going to be tough. (Hilliard) Bradley has some good players. It's a pretty balanced league."
Hockey team is 'fun group'
The hockey team will be playing a predominantly varsity schedule for the second consecutive year after playing a junior varsity schedule the previous three seasons.
Last season, the Irish finished 5-24-1 overall and 2-13 in the CHC-Blue.
Scioto opened league play Nov. 22 against Olentangy and played Olentangy Orange on Nov. 24. The Irish will compete in the 21st annual Chiller Thanksgiving Classic that runs Friday, Nov. 29, through Sunday, Dec. 1, at Chiller North.
"We want to be competitive in our (CHC) division this year, which is a realistic goal," fifth-year coach Morgan Langworthy said. "It's a really good group. They're attentive, they make good use of their time and they're going to be a fun group this year. This might be one of the more fun groups I've coached in all my years coaching."
Among the returnees is senior defenseman Matthew Gast, who was honorable mention all-CHC-Blue last season.
Also back are seniors Pete Hrelec (forward), David Loew (forward), juniors Nick Gould (defenseman) and Bennett Obenour (forward) and sophomores Holland Bell (forward) and Ryan Wallace (forward).
"Holland is going to have a big role for us," Langworthy said.
Hrelec is expected to miss approximately three weeks with an Achilles' injury that he suffered during football season.
"He was our leading scoring forward last year and he's strong on the puck," Langworthy said.
Freshman John Jones has replaced 2019 graduate Will Clark at goaltender.
"We have a new goalie this year and he's stepped up as a freshman," Langworthy said. "He's done very well. He approached us in the offseason and he comes to the rink every practice prepared to work."
Other players include junior Gavin Smith (forward) and freshmen Tommy Dwyer (defenseman), Shane Hall (forward), Ricky Monzalvo (forward) and Jonathan Yu (forward).
Langworthy expects senior forwards Cole Nolan (knee) and Aidan Ekis (back) to miss the season because of injuries.
"I can't believe this is almost over," Gast said of his prep career. "I've made a lot of good memories along the way and I'm just thankful for what it taught me. I really like the bonding and chemistry. We have a good group. We're close."
Below are the coming schedules for the Scioto boys basketball, girls basketball, hockey and swimming & diving teams:
Dec. 3 -- Home vs. Canal Winchester
*Dec. 3 -- At Jerome
Nov. 29 -- Olentangy Orange (JV) in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
Nov. 30 -- Columbus club team and Medina in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
Dec. 1 -- TBD in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 30 -- Buckeye Valley and Hartley at Dublin Recreation Center