Despite losing the program's all-time leading scorer, Hilliard Davidson girls basketball coach Joy Taylor believes her team has the potential to reach its goals.
The Wildcats lost 2019 graduate Emily Simon, a 5-foot-10 guard who scored a program-record 1,152 career points and now plays for the University of Charleston.
Last season, Simon averaged a team-high 15.1 points and 8.6 rebounds and was named first-team all-OCC-Central Division and third-team all-district, as Davidson finished 19-6 overall and 6-4 in the league to place third behind Dublin Coffman (10-0) and Upper Arlington (8-2).
"I like our athleticism and I like our speed," said Taylor, who is in her 10th season leading the program. "Those are things that you can't teach. I can't teach athleticism and speed and we have those things. We're going to have to find some chemistry, and hopefully we do."
Davidson, which opened Nov. 26 against Dublin Jerome, is expected to be led by junior Brianna O'Connor (5-8, guard/forward) and senior Sydney Petersen (5-0, guard).
Last season, O'Connor averaged 7.9 points and a team-best 3.5 assists and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, while Petersen averaged 7.2 points and was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
"Sydney was playing really well at the end of the last season," Taylor said. "Our last 10 games, she was filling the stat line for us and always has been our floor leader since she's been here, so it's great to have her back. I know she put some time in in the offseason and she's looking forward to her senior year."
Also back are seniors Lydia Brooker (5-9, forward) and Sally Sell (5-5, guard) and juniors Ashley Barrington (5-9, guard/forward), Kira Kaufman (5-10, forward) and Grace Royer (5-10, guard/forward).
"I feel like this team still has potential," Sell said. "We still have the team chemistry we had last year. We miss the seniors (from last year), and our team is trying to figure out who are the leaders and who are going to be bigger assets for the team."
Senior Taylor Monturo (5-3, guard), who has signed to play lacrosse at Kent State, is in her first season with the basketball program, while sophomore Kierstyn Liming (5-8, guard) is a transfer from Teays Valley.
Rounding out the team are junior Kylie Fetty (5-3, guard/forward), sophomores Abby Emery (5-5, guard), Maci Keys (5-10, forward) and Sydney Thompson (5-10, guard/forward) and freshman Kiersten Cashell (5-8, guard).
"Kiersten is a good player and she knows the game," Taylor said. "She needs to get stronger. She has a high ceiling that she could get to and she has all the intangible things. She's a good shooter, she's a good defender, and that matters right now. She is someone who plays well at both ends and she's like a sponge taking in everything we do."
Another key loss to graduation was forward Audrey Kaufman, who averaged 7.0 points and was honorable mention all-league last season.
"The senior class knows what we expect," Taylor said. "They're all committed kids. They're good players and they're ready to step up and be leaders on the floor. We have a good junior class, too. Everyone is in a new role and that's hard."
Davidson begins OCC-Central play Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Marysville.
"The league is always hard, but we'll see what we can do," Taylor said.
Below are the coming schedules for the Davidson boys basketball, gymnastics and swimming & diving teams:
Dec. 2 -- At Centennial
Dec. 4 -- At Darby with Bradley, *Central Crossing, *Franklin Heights, *Grove City and *Westland
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 30 -- Bradley, Central Crossing, Grove City and Westland at Hilliard YMCA