WELLSBURG - The rebuilding continues for third-year coach Ryan Scherich and the Brooke girls' basketball program, which has fallen on tough times in recent years.
Whether it be small classes, defections, or, quite frankly, a monster schedule featuring two games each against teams in the Two Rivers Athletic Conference, victories have been few and far between of late.
Scherich's clubs won a total of nine games the last two years.
Six players return, including one of the valley's most dominant players in 6-foot-1 junior Angela Staffileno a first-team All-Valley player who posted averages of 23 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.5 assists per game as a sophomore. She also earned second team all-state.
This came on the heels of a freshman season in which Staffilino averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots per game.
''I would like Angela to be more like an Emily Puskarich,'' Scherich said of the former Wheeling Park standout who wasn't afraid to take charge when she needed. ''I want her to handle the ball more, to be aggressive. She's a team basketball player. If I played, I want her on my team. She's not selfish. I'd like her to take off with it, let everybody collapse on her, then kick it out for an open look.''
Who will be on the other end of those passes?
Well, there's not a ton of experience back, as Michaela Hinerman and Ashley Sherman are the team's lone seniors. Isabella Preston and Payge Farmer, both sophomores, saw starting time as freshmen.
In fact, Farmer had nine points in the Bruins' season-ending loss to Parkersburg South last season.
''Besides Angela, Michaela, Sherman, and Preston, the rest of them played sparingly,'' Scherich said.
Junior Lauren Altobell, who did not go out for basketball as a freshman, bounced back and forth as a swing player a season ago.
''She was one of the ones who improved as the season went on,'' Scherich said.
Krista D'Ulise, a junior, also returns.
Others hoping to claim a roster spot, including a pair of promising looking freshmen in Kelsea Wensyl, an Ohio County transfer and gym rat, and 5-9 Gabriella Velegol, daughter of Follansbee mayor David A. Velegol Jr., who is advanced for her age and reportedly lives for the game.
Junior Kourtney Koscevic is back after playing a bit as a freshman. Sophomores Abbey Jackson, Jessica Gaston, Madisyn Reynolds, and Josie Summers were in the early preseason mix, along with another freshman in Shelby Grizzel.
Scherich said they'll try a few things differently to beef up the victory column, but the big thing has been getting the players to play the game more in the offseason.
''We're pretty athletic, but while we're athletic, the other team's girls are basketball players. Basketball players beat athletes.''
The schedule, Scherich figures, will be more of the same.
''The TRAC features some of the top teams in the state,'' he said. ''I wouldn't be surprised if the other teams (John Marshall, Wheeling Park, Morgantown, University and Parkersburg South) are all ranked in the top-10 when the things come out.''