Youth and inexperience, which haunted the Oak Harbor High School girls basketball team the past few years, should not be a problem for the Wildcats this winter as they hope to improve on last season's 3-17 mark.
Oak Harbor returns five letter winners, four with extensive experience during the last two seasons, and three starters.
Among the returnees is last year's leading scorer junior guard Annie Leete. Also back is senior post Ciera Wiser, a two-year starter, and Natalie Fiallos, a junior who took over the starting point guard duties midway through 2011-12.
The other 2011-12 letter winners are senior post Kelsey Rankin, Oak Harbor tallest player at 6 feet, and hustling wing Jalani Bobo, a senior who also lettered as a sophomore.
Coach Trisha Wieber, in her third season, said, "Our returners have matured greatly since this time last year. They are working harder at practice each day than I have ever seen them work. We will look to continue to use this hard work to build on that maturity as we get our newcomers some much needed varsity experience."
The newcomers most likely to see varsity action, according to Wieber, are wing Liz Lym and guard Jinai Guzman.
Wieber said the team's goals are "to get better each practice and each game." She added, "We want to win the rebounds each game, stay out of foul trouble, finish our easy shots and then see what happens…We are excited to see what our girls can do this year."
Wieber likes her team speed but is concerned about the lack of height and depth. Rankin is the only player taller than 5-9.
Oak Harbor starts the season at home with a nonleague game at 7:15 tonight (Tuesday, Nov. 27) with Anacortes, then goes to Mount Baker at 7 p.m. Friday.