PADEN CITY - A year ago Paden City was in need of a girls' basketball coach with practice ready to begin and the Wildcats' season sitting in limbo.
Enter veteran mentor Kelly Sine, who came in and took the reins, and while nobody expected the team to start winning titles and making any huge runs, Sine brought stability and enthusiasm to a squad that very well could start reaping the rewards.
Just a pair of starters are gone from last year's club, and what Paden City lacks in height, they more than make up for in heart and hustle.
Leading the way will be a pair of senior starters in 5-foot-3 guards Logan Cosper and Lynnsie Parsons.
Cosper was the team's leading scorer a season ago, dropping in nine points a night while also hitting 40 3-pointers, while Parsons is very athletic, with great jumping ability and is also one of the top hurdlers in the valley.
Joining that pair in the starting lineup with be the team's only junior, 5-3 Tyler Consolidated transfer Myah Charkawi. While this may be Charkawi's first season in a Wildcats uniform, she has plenty of ties to the program.
While living just blocks from Paden City High School her entire life, she is also the daughter of Cathy Mikes, a former Wildcats great who is still the school's all-time leading scorer, and currently a teacher at Tyler Consolidated.
The remaining two starters will be 5-4 sophomore forward Kayla Hizer, who logged plenty of minutes last year, and 5-3 freshman point guard Taylor Cosper, who Sine is very excited about.
"I coached a lot of these girls in junior high, and we had some very good junior high teams," Sine said.
"So, these are kids who will be coming in already knowing my system and where to go and what to do. It should not be very hard getting everyone on board and on the same page."
The first girls off the bench should be seniors Lynah Stanley, the tallest player on the squad at 5-9 and a part-time starter last season, and 5-6 Kelsey Loy.
Sophomores Hannah Stanley (5-4, guard) and Sadie Helmick (5-4, center) also logged minutes as freshmen.
Speaking of freshmen, there are five on the roster and along with Taylor Cosper, Sine feels that 5-7 do-it-all Cydney Blatt will be another great addition to the team.
Others available include sophomores Kayla Barker (5-1, guard) and exchange student Jaya Khunisorn (5-3, guard) from China.
The other three freshmen, who all could play valuable parts are Darion Richie (5-8, forward), Dezirae Middleton (5-6, forward) and Chelsea Dennis (5-4, freshman).
"These 15 girls and myself are all really looking forward to this season," Sine said.
''And we have set some pretty high goals for ourselves, including winning the Home Town Invitational Tournament and being Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class A champions.
''There is just so much excitement, we have been together all summer long, and these girls just didn't want to quit playing. And that first game against Magnolia is something the girls have been pointing to for a long time, especially after we beat them in the summer.
''We are excited about having Magnolia and Tyler Consolidated drop down to Class A with us this year, that doesn't bother us at all.
''The bottom line for us is that it is a great atmosphere, the girls have worked so hard and are ready to show what they can do and there has just been so much improvement with our offseason work. There are high expectations, but I think these girls are very capable of carrying them out.''