Joel Taylor is expecting the Grove City girls basketball team to make progress in his second season as coach.

The Greyhounds are looking to improve on last year's finish of 3-20 overall and 0-10 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

Grove City opened Nov. 22 against Westerville Central and begins league play Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Pickerington North.

"The girls have been great," Taylor said. "Last year, we had a first year transitioning for our players, learning the system, learning my expectations and just how I want them to play the game. You can tell already we've made great strides in that area. The girls are much more confident. They're playing hard. I'm very pleased with that."

Taylor is basing part of his optimism on the fact he believes the Greyhounds will be more athletic and quicker this season.

"We're more athletic than we were last year, a little bit quicker, so I'm hoping this year defensively we'll be able to create some easy baskets rather than just relying on our offense," Taylor said. "We want to switch things up on defense a little bit more and rely on our athleticism. ... We're excited. It's going to be a much better year."

Senior returnee Madison Grube, a 6-foot forward/post player, also is hoping for improvement.

"Coach is looking for a lot of effort," Grube said. "I'm very excited (about) being one of the leaders on the team. We're coming together as a team. We're being very physical like we should be. I think we've improved a lot."

Also back are seniors Alexandria Jones (5-9, guard), Lexi Tatum (5-9, forward) and Jada VanHouten (5-5, guard), juniors Laney Hoyt (5-5, guard) and Riley Waugh (5-10, forward/post player) and sophomore Ellie Pollock-Ballard (5-6, guard).

Sophomore Alissa Schiff (5-8, guard) returns after missing most of last season with a concussion.

Senior Alexia Jones (5-5), who previously opted to play club soccer, is in her first season with the team and is expected to be the starting point guard.

"We're improved at that position," Taylor said. "(Jones is) pretty calm. She's pretty steady. She gets us into the offense, so that's huge for us. She's been doing a really good job."

Other players are junior Allyson Pape (6-2, post player), sophomore Olivia Bartley (5-7, guard) and freshmen Kayla Jones (5-8, guard) and Olivia Kenney (5-6, guard).

Taylor realizes his team faces an uphill battle in the OCC-Ohio. Last year's champion, Pickerington Central, lost in the Division I state final.

"We feel like we're going to be more competitive (in the league)," Taylor said. "We have the juggernauts, the Pick Centrals, the Reynoldsburgs and those guys, but we're much more optimistic. The girls are very positive. They all are enjoying each other. We have a lot of good energy in practices, so we're hoping we can keep that going."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics and swimming & diving teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

Nov. 30 -- Home vs. Columbus West or Westerville Central in Grove City Tip-Off Tournament

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 3 -- At Pickerington North

GYMNASTICS

Dec. 4 -- At Hilliard Darby with *Central Crossing, *Franklin Heights, Hilliard Bradley, *Hilliard Davidson and *Westland

SWIMMING & DIVING

Nov. 30 -- Central Crossing, Hilliard Bradley, Hilliard Davidson and Westland at Hilliard YMCA

Dec. 3 -- Buckeye Valley, Canal Winchester, Grove City Christian and Ready at Grove City YMCA

*League contest