WARDSVILLE - When the Blair Oaks' girls basketball team takes the floor next season, it won't come as much of a secret the team will be smaller and less experienced inside.
It's also not a secret the team will try to counter that youth with its senior-laden guard play.
The Lady Falcons got their first chance to work together as a team this week during its annual camp at Blair Oaks Middle School.
"We're probably going to have to play a different style this year," Blair Oaks coach Leroy Bernskoetter said. "We lost a lot of size that we had."
The Lady Falcons graduated forwards Amy Dorge, Amanda Rackers, Darian Werdehausen, Michaella Forck and Nicole Lueckenhoff. That's nearly all of their post presence from a year ago.
But Bernskoetter isn't too worried about what's coming up.
"There's some younger girls that I think can fill those spots," Bernskoetter said. "There are some juniors and some seniors and it's their time. Every year there comes that opportunity that you seize that moment to step up and say "Hey, it's my turn, my year.'"
Bernskoetter said he is hopeful JV forwards from last year such as Madison Abbott and Robyn Schroeder can step up to fill the void. He expects junior forward Lauren Viessman to step in as well and continue to contribute to the varsity squad.
But a lack of experience up front means defenses will likely pay more attention to the front court and all-state returner LeeAnn Polowy. Polowy averaged more than 17 points per game last year as a junior. She's playing on a summer league team this year with some of the state's top players.
Also back to help out Polowy is senior guard Sara Jones.
"Hopefully we've got some other girls who step up, otherwise everybody is going to double team and triple team (Polowy)," Bernskoetter said. "It's her last year."
The team will keep busy this summer as it will go to a shootout this weekend in Licking and will play in a summer league on Monday nights at Helias.
"It gives us a great way to evaluate and look at how they start gelling together," Bernskoetter said. "We'll play a summer league and we'll have open gyms until the first part of July and then we'll start backing off and let them be kids for a while."
Bernskoetter said more than 30 kids showed up for the middle school camp and said there was a good showing for the elementary camp as well. Several high-school players were there to help out with the camps.
"Anytime we can get them in the gym with a ball in their hands, that's great," Bernskoetter said.
For Bernskoetter, the week of camp is about the girls getting more comfortable playing with each other.
"Hopefully they just keep working hard and get better," Bernskoetter said. "It's a whole new team, a whole new identity."