The Heights girls didn't lose many players from last season. And because of that, the co-City League champion doesn't plan on losing many games.
All five starters return, including leading scorer and rebounder Jhasmin Bowen.
Bowen is the inside presence whose attacking style of play made the Falcons the league's top scoring team.
"She's tenacious. A real hard-nose player," Heights coach Kip Pulliam said. "She's the kid that you want to anchor the defense or the offense. She's one of the hardest workers I've had in the program."
Joining Bowen is Tahlia Pope (6-0), Allegria Chisom (5-10), Taylor Chandler (5-5) and Kamisha Richard (5-11). Richard, a University of New Orleans signee, is the lone senior.
Heights won the Class 6A tournament in 2006 and 2007, but has finished fourth the last two seasons.
"We have a lot of expectations," Pulliam said. "We were one really bad shooting night away from playing for a state title last year."
One of the improvements will be the play of Chandler, Pulliam said. Chandler started last season as a freshman. She proved to be a valuable scorer, but she was also inconsistent, something that comes with inexperience.
"She was really thrown into the fire last year. Now she has a season under her to make adjustments," Pulliam said. "She'll play with more savvy because she's been-there-done-that."
Scoring from the perimeter was a problem in both of Heights' losses last season. This season, Pulliam thinks his team has learned that when in a shooting slump, trying to shoot itself out might not be the best alternative.
"I think now with the maturity, they know they have to pound it inside," Pulliam said. "When you're young, you tend to take shots that you shouldn't and then things can start to snowball."
While the starting five is full of proven talent, depth could play a huge part in how far the Falcons go. Heights has several talented underclassmen, but how they develop will be crucial.
"I've got a good freshman class, but I have to see who picks things up," Pulliam said. "Whoever picks things up the quickest will get the opportunity to play."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heights is poised to repeat as City League champion behind the efforts of Ellis and Wessel. Ellis, an All-State player as a freshman, averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds. Wessel averaged nine points and played a versatile role.