The Thomas Worthington girls basketball team doesn't have the luxury of a go-to scorer this season. Nor does it have much experience.
As a result, second-year coach Bill Sperlazza is relying on each player to pitch in.
"We would never ask anybody to be (2019 graduates) Breanne Beatty or Sarah Charley," Sperlazza said. "They've got to be themselves and be who they are. They've got to play for each other. If we can play as a family and play for each other, that's the way you overcome those things."
Led by Beatty and Charley, the Cardinals finished 15-9 overall and 9-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division last season, third behind Hilliard Darby (12-2) and Dublin Scioto (10-4).
Beatty, who is playing for Oakland University, averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.4 assists last season and was second-team all-district and first-team all-league. She finished with 1,025 career points.
Charley, who plays field hockey at Ohio State, was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league a year ago after averaging 11.3 points, five rebounds and 2.3 steals.
"I think Bre Beatty was the best player in the OCC-Cardinal last year," Sperlazza said. "She's the best all-around basketball player that I've ever coached. We also lost Sarah Charley. She came (back) her senior year and hadn't played since she was a freshman. When you lose (those two) ... then you're going to feel that."
"We're definitely really young this year," junior guard Lauren Gerber said. "There's a lot of new players. We have two freshmen that have a lot of potential."
Gerber and senior forward Emma Wince are the most experienced returnees for Thomas, which opened Nov. 22 at Olentangy Orange.
Last season, Gerber averaged 4.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals and Wince, who is the only senior on the team, averaged 2.5 points and 4.0 rebounds.
"We have two returning starters in Lauren and Emma," Sperlazza said. "They are very tough-minded players. Those will be our two leaders and we have a couple of other letterwinners back. We're going to be a tough team, but we're going to be a young team."
Juniors Reid Dunbar (guard) and Kaniya Boyer (forward) also have returned, as have sophomore guards Jocelyn Ramos-Chears and Aaliyah Sellers, both of whom saw limited playing time last season.
"(Ramos-Chears) is our point guard this year. She can handle the ball really well and can take it to the hoop," Gerber said. "She's going to score a lot for us this year. (Boyer) is a big presence down in the post."
Sophomore guard Josie Tinnerello and freshmen guards Ladan Elmi and Chaneya Garner are expected to fill out the Cardinals' rotation.
"We're going to have to rely on playing hard, playing an intense brand, playing for each other and manufacturing shooting opportunities for each other," Sperlazza said. "So far, it's been a pretty good group to coach and they're receptive to a lot of things that we're putting in.
"This is a team where it's not going to be one person that steps up and fills that scoring void. It's going to have to be seven kids that get in there and score six or seven points."
Hockey team has high expectations
The hockey team has moved up to the middle tier of the Capital Hockey Conference after winning the Blue Division title last season.
The Cardinals are now in the eight-team CHC-White after finishing 17-8-3 overall and 9-3-2-1 in the six-team CHC-Blue a year ago.
"Our expectations are real high this year," said fifth-year coach Bill McGee, whose team opened Nov. 22 against Oxford Talawanda. "There's an awful lot of talent and awful lot of experience (back)."
McGee expects the defense to carry the team. The Cardinals' defensemen include juniors Carter Reinbolt, Carson Smith and Chance Young and sophomore Alex Piero, and senior Jorge Bare returns for a fourth season as goaltender.
Bare and Young were named first-team all-league last season and Smith was honorable mention all-league.
"I think our defense should be as good as any defense around," McGee said. "Our goaltending is solid."
Thomas must replace its top scorer from a year ago in 2019 graduate Nick Schriner, who had 35 goals and 19 assists last season and was first-team all-league.
The Cardinals return seven players who scored 16 or more points last season, including senior forward Will Pischel, who had 30 goals and 19 assists and was first-team all-league, and junior forward Evan Kendall, who had 10 goals and a team-high 20 assists.
Also back at forward are junior Sebastian Edvardsen (13 goals, 7 assists), sophomore Collin Stegemiller (7 goals, 12 assists) and senior Sam Hartwick (9 goals, 7 assists).
"The challenge is replacing last year's captain, Nick Schriner, who scored an awful lot of goals," McGee said. "The offense has to step up. Will was our second-leading scorer last year and I expect him to lead the offense this year."
Below are the coming schedules for the Thomas boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, hockey and swimming & diving teams:
Nov. 30 -- Cleveland St. Ignatius in All-Ohio High School Hoops Showcase at Gahanna
*Dec. 3 -- At Kilbourne
*Dec. 3 -- Whitehall at Capri Lanes
Nov. 29 -- St. Charles (JV) in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
Nov. 30 -- Gahanna and Watterson in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
Dec. 1 -- TBD in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller North
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 4 -- Home vs. DeSales