The Portage Collegiate varsity girls' basketball team is gearing up for a new season.

The squad finished last season with a 5-3 record but lost by six points in their first playoff game. With five returning players this season, head coach Dave McLeod says it should be an interesting year.

"We definitely have a few girls that are ball hawks," McLeod explains. "They're around the ball all the time. The ball always seems to find them. I think we're definitely going to score quite a bit on the fast break this year. I think that's probably going to be our strong suit."

The head coach says they're set to get their first taste of competition on Monday as they play an exhibition game against Winkler. He describes what he'll be looking for in that outing.

"We're just trying to implement our systems, like our zone defence and our offence. So, just trying to get the girls familiar with that, especially the newbies," McLeod continues. "We'll try to get everyone comfortable, and then we'll have a look and see what we have to work on after the break."

The PCI team will be fairly young this year, as McLeod says he brought up a Grade 9 player as well as a Grade 10. He outlines the benefit this will have on the younger players' development.

"I think it will be great for them. It really gives them someone to look up to, and the competition will be a lot better for them in varsity. So, I think they'll develop at a much faster rate than if they were playing JV (Junior Varsity). I'm excited to see how they come along."

McLeod adds the team has already shown that they're a hard-working group, and he hopes to see more of that effort when PCI begins their regular season in the new year.