The Marion County girls basketball team hopes to take another step forward this winter under fourth-year coach Megan Zook.

In Megan Zook’s first two years as head coach of the Marion County girls basketball team, the Lady Mustangs won just three games combined. Last season, the Lady Mustangs picked up five wins.

Heading into her fourth season, Zook is hoping to see an incline in the number of wins.

Despite having just eight girls on the varsity roster, the fourth-year coach is excited about the upcoming season.

“We have been scrimmaging since the first day of practice and I have already noticed a lot of improvement,” Zook said. “I have been bringing in former players to scrimmage against the girls and also we have went up against the boys team. What I have seen so far is very encouraging.”

Juniors Payton Hays and Sadie Spratt will lead Marion County this season.

Hays averaged 15 points and 8 boards last season, while Spratt tossed in 12 points per contest as a sophomore.

“They are our two big returnees and we will rely heavily on them once again this season,” Zook said.

Sophomore Makenzie Crook is back on the court after missing most of last season with a hip injury. Zook expects Crook to provide a spark on both ends of the court.

“She is feisty and brings a ton of intensity, both offensively and defensively,” the Lady Mustangs coach said. “She is just everywhere on both ends.”

Senior Aimee Glaspie will provide the size for Marion County. She returns to the court for the first time since junior high.

“Aimee is right around 6-foot and I see her contributing a lot for us in the middle this season,” Zook said of the Lady Mustangs lone senior.

Freshmen Delaney Huffman and Jordan Chatfield are both expected to compete for a varsity spot this season. Both players had success in the Lady Mustangs junior high program, according to Zook.

“There is a lot more to learn at this level, but they are starting to mature into their roles nicely,” Zook said of her two freshmen.

Rounding out the Marion County roster will be juniors Elizabeth Corey and Caity Feith.

Zook mentioned the biggest key for the Lady Mustangs success this season will be to focus on what they do.

“We just have to continue to get better and better each day,” she explained. “We have to concentrate on ourselves. We can’t worry about the other team. We need to come ready to play every practice and every game and just focus on us. We can’t already be defeated before we step out there on the court.”

Only two of the Lady Mustangs 19 losses last season came by single digits. In the five wins, Marion County averaged just under 48 points per game, while scoring just 30 per contest in its losses.

Zook hopes for her team to be more competitive and consistent this season. She hopes in turn, the wins will continue to see a spike and get the program back to where it once was.

“The girls all get along well and they all want to win,” the Lady Mustangs coach said. “We only won once in my first year and we have picked up a couple more wins each year. So we are just looking to continue growing the program. We are a little low on numbers this season, but all the girls are giving it their all.”

The Lady Mustangs open their season at home on Monday against Brashear.