WEIRTON - Weir returns four starters, but girls' coach Bill Smith is being cautious.
''You take Raven Young, last year was her first year starting,'' Smith said. ''(Raegan) Stead started as a freshmen. (Alyssa) Shingle, it's her second year. Even though they are a little older, it's still a young ball club.
''You have a lot of viable experience last year, even though we only won six games. We were in most of them, though. I thought more importantly, we had a great summer. We had about nine or 10 girls in the summer leagues.''
Young, a senior, teams with Shelva Burns as senior letterwinners from last season's 6-17 team.
Shingle, a junior, and Stead are the other returning starters. Shingle was the leading scorer for the Red Riders last season at 10 points per game. She was also 72 percent from the free-throw line.
Smith will have to replace Taylor Gianangeli, but he feels he has that in another letterwinner, junior Madison Dalrymple (6-foot post).
Also looking to see a lot of minutes is senior Kayla Lemley (5-8, post).
''We are going to need (Shingle) to put some more points on the board, along with Stead,'' Smith said. ''Alyssa had close to 50 3s last year and Stead averaged seven or eight points a game and played well as a freshmen. She is shooting real well right now and looked like she has stepped up her game.
''Shelva can put the ball on the floor for someone her size (5-8). She rebounds well. Maddie rebounds well. Kayla Lemley plays good defense and rebounds well. Those are the main crust and we are going to look to others to fill in spots.''
Burns is also contributing as a leader.
After averaging seven points last season, she is looking to improve on that, as well as bring the underclassmen along.
''From what I've seen, Shelva has been great with these young kids,'' Smith said. ''She has been patient and showed them how to do some things. She is going to step up in not only scoring, but as a leader. She has been a vocal leader, more so this year. She has been great, and I hope she keeps up the good work. A great communicator.''
Unfortunately for the Red Riders, the WVSSAC didn't do them any favors with the recent realignment, putting them with North Marion, East Fairmont, Fairmont Senior, and Hancock County rival Oak Glen.
North Marion won three of the last four championships in Class AAA before dropping down this season.
''If they left things the way we were, we had a great chance to get to Charleston,'' Smith said. ''We have an alignment that is going to be a very tough. At that time of the year, we hope are in a position to play with them. We scheduled North Marion so we will see them and hopefully that will help with our confidence. We want them to be ready to take on any challenge.''
Rounding out the Red Riders roster is juniors Michayla Dobosz, Chantelle Harper, and Lindsey Robinson, sophomore Jessica Davis, and freshmen Ashley Anderson, Alyssa Kelly, Alexis Long, Sara Meredith, Dynasty Minger, Emily Ruiz, Asharay Smith, Clarissa Tournay, Kashmir Vacheresse, and Rachel Zapotoczny.
Smith, entering his 24th season, is assisted by Jim Davis and Rick Stead.