After showing flashes of potential last season, Polytech Panthers girls basketball will be hoping to accelerate the team’s growth under new head coach Kyle Taylor. He will patrol the Polytech sidelines after years of coaching in New Hampshire and New Jersey.

Taylor has a deep background in several sports, coaching softball and middle school baseball along with high school and collegiate basketball, spending time at Inter-Lakes High School and

Plymouth State University in New Hampshire and Kean University in New Jersey.

By coaching multiple sports and boys and girls teams, Taylor believes the experience has helped him grow as a coach.

“It’s learning how to work with different athletes and finding out what everyone can bring to the table, how you’re going to motivate and work within a particular team culture,” Taylor said. “In the places I’ve been you get to work within a lot of different team cultures. It’s really about how you adapt and work with the kids, how do you work with the assistants and how do you make sure your students are on the right path in sports and in life.

“Out of all of those teams I’ve coached, you learn how to build, it’s all about family and community,” Taylor said. “I want my team to create a family bond and build a winning culture.”

While they may have been overlooked by some, Polytech improved last season, finishing 10-10 overall and beating the previous year’s 7-13 record. The Lady Panthers began 7-2 and were 10-6 in the home stretch, then lost their remaining four games.

Sporting a roster with one senior, the majority of last year’s group will be back. And after showing promise at times last season, Taylor believes the building blocks of something special are already in place.

“When I was applying for the job and interviewing, I was able to look back and see what they’ve done the last few years. There’s already a good foundation, especially with the players we have coming back,” Taylor said. “Short term it seemed like a good opportunity to succeed, then I was able to look at the school and the facilities and what they have to offer and then I saw it was a very good long-term option.”

Out of the 11 players on the team last year, 10 are eligible to return.

“I know we have a great group of sophomores that I’m excited to have along with a core of incoming seniors as well,” Taylor said. “I’m excited to be able to work with them all, from the seniors down to the sophomores and also excited to see what freshmen we have coming in and see what they can possibly bring. It’ll be fun to see what we can do with the foundation they’ve already built here. They definitely have a great core already put together.”

Taylor met with the team to go over their summer schedule, while explaining his goal of helping to build a winning culture.

“Building a culture is a step-by-step process,” Taylor said. “I don’t expect to have the kind of culture I want right off the bat. It’s going to be a process, but my expectations have been laid out to the team and they’re starting to understand what they are.

“When I came in I said we have 10 weeks to get better than everyone else, that’s the start of our culture. Once September comes, we’re going to have nine weeks after school starts, then it’ll be a week-by-week program at that point.”

Polytech will open their season Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Caesar Rodney.