Members of the team pictured are: Row 1: Peyton Hoffman (manager), Leah Krites (manager). Row 2: Bella Wise (manager), Brianna DeAmicis, Jerican Huebner, Jamison Clouse, Caylee Phillips, Jazzlyn Florence (manager). Row 3: Coach Loughrie, Coach Hoffman, Kyra Welch, Sofi Houg, Carly Smith, Alli Schaufelburger, Emilee Phillips, Jaylyn Rickard, Carlee Young, Coach Florence and Coach Philipot. (Photo courtesy of Gibby’s)
Members of the team pictured are: Row 1: Peyton Hoffman (manager), Leah Krites (manager). Row 2: Bella Wise (manager), Brianna DeAmicis, Jerican Huebner, Jamison Clouse, Caylee Phillips, Jazzlyn Florence (manager). Row 3: Coach Loughrie, Coach Hoffman, Kyra Welch, Sofi Houg, Carly Smith, Alli Schaufelburger, Emilee Phillips, Jaylyn Rickard, Carlee Young, Coach Florence and Coach Philipot. (Photo courtesy of Gibby’s)

VAN WERT — After a down season, the Van Wert Lady Cougar basketball team looks to get back on track with the help of returning players.

One year ago, the Cougars finished with an overall record of 6-17 and 2-7 in the Western Buckeye League.

Van Wert’s largest loss from last year’s roster was departing senior and All-WBL Honorable mention Sierra Shaffer.

Aside from Shaffer, there are many experienced players returning to the roster.

The Lady Cougars return six letterwinners from last season including two starters in senior guards Caylee Phillips and Jerica Huebner.

Guards Carly Smith and Jaylyn Rickard, and post player Alli Schaufelberger are all returning letterwinners representing the junior class.

Jamison Clouse earned a varsity letter of her own last season as she enters her final season playing forward for Van Wert.

Other players that will see some of their first varsity minutes are senior guard Brianna DeAmicis, sophomore forward Emilee Phillips, and Freshman guards Kyra Welch and Sofi Houg.

The Lady Cougars finished only ahead of the Kenton Wildcats in the WBL standings last season, and with that in the rear view mirror, the focus of the team has turned to improvement in a conference loaded with talent.

“We play a very competative schedule, and our hope is to finish in the top half of the WBL,” said Van Wert Head Coach Hannah Phlipot.

Van Wert will open their season on Friday Nov. 22 when they travel to Ottoville to face the Big Green.