The Worthington Kilbourne girls basketball team has a new coach this season. But for most of the players, she's a familiar face.
Stephanie Jones replaced Jim Strode as coach during the offseason after coaching at McCord Middle School for three seasons. She compiled a 26-87 record in five seasons as a high school coach at Columbus School for Girls (2010-12) and Whitehall (2012-15), guiding CSG to its first Division III district final appearance in 2011.
Strode, who was 69-70 in six seasons with the Wolves, resigned last spring after accepting a sports administration position in the college of business at Ohio University.
"I coached a lot of these girls in middle school," Jones said. "It's a big job, but it's an exciting group to be working with."
The Wolves, who finished 10-13 overall and 5-9 in the OCC-Cardinal Division last season, have plenty of experience returning to the lineup, led by sophomore guards Lauren Scott (5-foot-7) and Celeste Sloma (5-8).
Last season, Scott averaged 14.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals and Sloma averaged 9.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Both were named honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league.
Other key returnees include 5-5 junior guard Amya Harris, who averaged 6.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals and was honorable mention all-league last season, and 5-7 senior guard Julia Taylor, who averaged 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds.
"I would like to see us win the OCC," Taylor said. "I think that's attainable for us. I also would like to see us go a little bit further in the tournament than we have in recent years. I also want to see us have a winning season. We haven't had (one) in four years, so that would be pretty cool as well."
Kilbourne, which opened Nov. 22 at Marion Harding and begins league play Tuesday, Dec. 3, at home against Thomas, lost to the Cardinals 50-38 in the first round of the Division I district tournament last season.
"I think we've got a lot of people that are dedicated to this team," Taylor said. "They really come into the gym and try to work hard every day."
Seniors Alexis Hudson (5-9, forward) and Jackie Wolford (5-8, guard/forward) and sophomore Molly Humphrey (5-9, guard/forward) also are expected to play big roles this season.
"There's a lot of energy and excitement on the team," Jones said. "We're young and talented, but we've got a lot of work to do. One of our goals is to play team basketball. We've been focusing a lot on defense, so I would say that's one of our strengths."
Hockey team to play j.v. schedule
For the fifth consecutive season, the hockey team will play a junior varsity schedule.
According to coach Bryan Cummings, the Wolves expect to compete at the varsity level next season. Their last varsity season was 2014-15.
Below are the coming schedules for the Kilbourne boys basketball, girls basketball, gymnastics and swimming & diving teams:
Nov. 29 -- Home vs. Briggs
Dec. 3 -- At Watterson
Nov. 29 -- At Watterson
*Dec. 3 -- Home vs. Thomas
Dec. 4 -- At Marysville with Olentangy Orange and Westerville Central
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 3 -- Home vs. Marysville