The Cyclones expended a lot of energy in about every facet of the game in the 2013-14 season.
The Cyclones are now experienced with six of the top seven players returning, plus have a season under their belts with coaches Kelli Fischer and Dennis Darting.
Ottawa has a different mindset of working to get good enough to compete for a Frontier League title against the likes of Paola and Louisburg.
“We are a month and a half or more ahead of where we were last year,” Ottawa coach Kelli Fischer said Wednesday during the week-long team camp.
“We have everything in. We want the little things done better. We know our offense. We have a knowledge now. They are seeing things that they did not see last year.
“Our expectations are higher. By the time the season starts, it will be another level higher.”
Cyclone senior forward Kylie Foster said being involved in basketball this summer is a fun, but this time is going to be a difference maker.
“It helps we played a year together. Last year we did not have that much experience on varsity or playing together. We can read each other.”
The players are putting in a lot of sweat equity this summer. After camp week, the players will meet twice a week for a couple of hours and play games in summer leagues.
“It is fun getting back into it,” Foster said. “We will be in the gym twice a week every week. It will help us with our defense a lot.”
Ottawa added a zone offense to work against zone defenses.
“I am always looking to make improvements,” Fischer said. “We are working to get those easy shots. Those 15-foot uncontested shots. Those are things we want.
“Our defense should be much stronger. We are adding more quickness.”
The confidence level of the players is also rising. The Ottawa coaches are looking for a more aggressive team.
“One of things we talked about was getting to the rim more,” Fischer said. “We have got to draw the fouls and not avoid it. We need some of them shooting 16 or 17 free throws a game.”
Fischer would like to add more depth to the varsity squad. She played exclusively with seven players last year.
“We have other kids that can fill in now,” Fischer said. “We have a good solid group. The number of girls we have now I am pleased with. These kids are dedicated. I am excited about it.”
Moving up in the Frontier League and possibly making a run in the postseason will not be an easy task.
“It is a tough league,” Fischer said. “Nobody in the league lost a lot.
“I want to keep building this program and keeping this thing going.”