They reached their goal last year of double digit victories, and now the Bethel Bees girls’ basketball team is ready to gear up for another big season.

But what lies ahead for the Bees as far as expectations? Coach Mark Mays kept it very simple with his answer.

“That will be decided on by the captains,” he said. “They are setting goals and I will leave that up to them. We want to do better than we did last year, and we are very capable of it. It is what you do on the floor that counts, but I think we will be real competitive. We have 27 girls on our system while a lot of the league is down on numbers.”

“Coming in you know who everyone expects to be at the top, and we want to be there too, Mays added. “We have worked all June for us to get there going to Ohio State, Toledo and Xavier to play great competition and get ourselves better.”

With all of the hard off season work behind them, the Bees can focus on the start of the season which begins around Ohio this weekend.

“Everything has been super positive and we have a group of seniors who has been under this system for three years, so now it’s just getting focused on our opponent and playing the game the way it should be played.”

Leading the way for the Bees is junior Alaina Hawthorn who is a 6-foot-1 wing player who averaged over 10 points per game last year.

Sarah Swisher is also back from last year, and will be a strong player on the boards for the Bees this season.

Also returning is Becky Schwieterman who is a four year starter and according to Mays is determined to have a great senior season for the Bees.

“I would like to see double figures from her this season, she will be a key leader for us this year,” Mays said.

Delaney Hardert also returns for the Bees, who has worked in the offseason to improve her game offensively and rebounding, and Mays says she should provide some leadership.

“We have some kids under the basket who should help us this year around the rim,” Mays said.

Also returning are twins Emily and Morgan Crase, who have bought into what the coaching staff is trying to accomplish according to Mays. “They know where this program was in the past, and where we are now headed in the right direction.”

Kayla Grable also returns as one of the fastest kids in the Cross County Conference, and is an athletic guard for the Bees.

Mays also mentioned Grace Anthony as a sophomore who he hopes can develop through the season and provide some outside perimeter threat for the Bees.

In the CCC, Tri Village and Miami East are the favorites, but Mays feels Bethel will be in the top five this season.

“If we are not in that range, I will be disappointed because we have the kids to get to that level,” Mays said.