CAMERON - With nearly 70 percent of its offensive punch lost to graduation, first-year Cameron girls' coach Roger Cain is looking for the folks that are back, as well as a solid group of newcomers, to step up.
''We only have a small group of letterwinners back from last year and very little scoring coming back,'' Cain said heading into tonight's opener at Hundred. ''We'll evaluate them and see where we stand.
''A lot of the younger players are going to have to step and play because that's the hand we've been dealt.''
Cain is somewhat as green as his roster. The 1998 Cameron graduate and former three-star standout takes over the girls' program from Joe Pettit after a stint on Chad Clutter's boys' staff. He didn't assume the position until about the first of August and really didn't have an opportunity to see the girls on the court until practices started.
That's where assistant coach Mark Witzberger has been so instrumental. Witzberger, who also coaches softball, served as the interim head coach a few years ago after Pettit was injured in a serious automobile accident.
But Witzberger didn't tell Cain everything he knew about the girls. He wanted Cain to find out first-hand and view things with an open mind.
''He backed off on purpose to let me observe and evaluate the girls on my own,'' Cain said.
The Dragons have five letterwinners back - Neely Benline, Leah Stern, Rena Reid, Kristen McDowell and Courtney Gouldsberry. The quad averaged a total of 12.5 points per game last year.
''We'll have a lot of competition across the board,'' Cain said. ''There are a lot of players that will have an opportunity to show what they can do.''
Neely, a 6-foot-1 senior is the centerpiece of the squad and the team's tallest player. She averaged 6.6 ppg last winter.
''We're looking for a lot from her ... leadership, for sure,'' Cain said. ''But, on the floor, we're looking for her to help us score.''
McDowell, is a 5-3 junior who will play guard, while Gouldsberry is a 5-3 guard.
Stern (5-6) and Reid (5-2) are also guards. In fact, the team is made up of predominantly guards, and the Dragons' offense will likely reflect that.
''We'll have a lot of options,'' Cain said. ''There are a lot of things we'll try to do. But we'll be small.''
Darby Brown (5-9) is the team's other senior.
Other juniors in the mix are Lexi Aston (5-7), Breagh Merrinar (5-5) and Emily Titus (5-6).
Sam White (5-7), Linda Hall (5-8), Laci Bonnette (5-6) and Shelby Brown (5-5) are the other sophomores.
Freshmen counted on to make an impact are Marissa Meintel (5-8), Jenna Aston (5-8) and Grace Fitzgerald (5-0).
Cain is also assisted by former Cameron and West Liberty standout Amanda Allison.
Nov. 27: at Hundred7:30 p.m.
Nov. 30: Clay-Battelle7:30 p.m.
Dec. 4: Beallsville7:30 p.m.
Dec. 6: at Valley7;30 p.m.
Dec. 11: Paden City7:30 p.m.
Dec. 13: at Bishop Donahue7:30 p.m.
Dec. 18: West Greene7:30 p.m.
Dec. 22: at Bridgeport1:30 p.m.
Jan. 3: at St. John7 p.m.
Jan. 8: Valley7:30 p.m.
Jan. 10: at Beallsville7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12: HITTBD
Jan. 15: Bishop Donahue7:30 p.m.
Jan. 17: Hundred7:30 p.m.
Jan. 19: HITTBD
Jan. 22: West Greene7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23: Bridgeport7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26: HITTBD
Jan. 28: St. John7 p.m.
Feb. 2: HITTBD
Feb. 11: at Clay-Battelle7:30 p.m.