There are a lot of familiar faces on the Sherman Lady Bearcats basketball team this season. That’s what happens when you only graduate one senior.

With a lot of experience returning, the Lady Cats are hoping to show progress and end a five-year playoff drought as Sherman opens the season today at 4:45 p.m. against Frisco Independence and plays at Richardson Pearce at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

“We have the majority of that crew coming back,” Sherman head coach David Upton said. “I don’t measure it in wins or losses. That can be unfair at times. We’re looking at it like — are we improving? Did we do everything in the summer and in the fall to get ready for our season? I think we are better.”

The Lady Bearcats finished 8-23 a year ago and went 2-10 in the district standings that put them in last place but just one game back of a three-way tie for fifth place.

Forward Alaura Andrews was the lone senior for the group but the team also lost post players Kamdyn Klingsick and Madison Sorrels as transfers.

“They have that year of experience. They know the system better,” Upton said. “When I first got here we had a little bit of height but we don’t have that now. Last year we had to adjust to that. We’ve got to get out and push pace. We have to force turnovers, use our size to our advantage instead of our disadvantage.”

The offense will once again revolve around the backcourt of seniors Jaylen Edmonson and Libby Ticknor. Edmonson was a first-team all-district selection and Ticknor was picked second-team all-district.

“Everybody knows they’re our go-to girls and will get most of the shots,” Upton said.”We’re going to start with four guards and see how that works and if we can get that accomplished we’ll stick with it.”

Senior Kursten Alexander, junior Olivia Bindel and sophomore Abigail Khader round out the starting five.

Finding a supporting cast that can contribute valuable minutes is the biggest part of Sherman’s turnaround process. Off the bench will be seniors Madison Keher, Scotti Lyons and Alexis Deere and juniors Amiah Dehorney and Jadyne Gatewood.

“I think everybody has a good idea of their roles and how we’re going to be using them to be successful,” Upton said. We’ve got a couple of post players who can score.”

In addition to non-district games against Richardson Pearce, Little Elm, Anna, North Lamar, Frisco Wakeland, Greenville, Royse City and Anna, the Lady Bearcats are hosting a team from Australia on Dec. 4 and compete in the Frisco, Anna-Melissa and McKinney North Tournaments before 10-5A play starts in January.

The latest realignment put Sherman into a district with Denison, McKinney North, Wylie East, Lovejoy and Princeton, which moved up from Class 4A. Everyone but the Lady Bearcats made the playoffs last season, meaning someone will be left out of the bracket this year and Sherman will have to knock out someone from getting back there in the process of breaking through to the postseason.

“This is a gritty group. We went through some ups and downs last year but they plugged along,” Upton said. “We had a team meeting about a week and a half, two weeks ago and the girls wrote down their goals. Almost 100 percent of them wrote down to make the playoffs. Judging by the intensity of the practices, it’s something they want.”