BALDWIN - Baldwin girls high school basketball, after a year's absence, will make its return on Friday, junior varsity style.

This marks the fourth week new Baldwin girls coach Nikki Bergman has been working with her team to prepare for Friday's home game to open the season.

Friday's opponent will be Pentwater, and the schedule basically involves West Michigan D League opponents, along with games against Charleton Heston Academy.

Games tip off at 6 p.m.

The Panthers will play at Marion on Dec. 11 and at Manistee Catholic Central on Dec. 13. The final game before the holiday break is at home on Dec. 18 against Crossroads Charter Academy. The season resumes at Walkerville on Jan. 3.

Bergman has no seniors on the team, but has two juniors and the rest are underclassmen.

Junior forward Monique Rowland is among the team's key players.

"Monique is an athletic wing player with some length and speed," Bergman said. "She lacks high school playing experience, even as a junior, but has potential to be a key player for the next two seasons. She is a hard worker and coachable player, as well."

Another promising player is freshman guard Azariah Boatwright.

"Azariah is a guard with slashing athletic ability," Bergman said. "I expect as she gets more comfortable in our system that her strengths will start to show as her confidence grows. If she can stay consistent and continues to work hard, she has potential to be a really good player for us."

It will be a learning season.

"I expect us to learn and develop throughout the season," Bergman said. " I expect our team to listen, practice hard and understand how all the little things contribute to a culture where winning is a by product of doing things the right way.

"We have some athletes with some experience in volleyball, softball and/or track. If we can develop some basketball skills to add to that athletic ability we should be able to do some nice things on the court. Right now we lack some of the intangibles that are going to necessary for us to be successful on the court. I'd like to see some more leadership and effort emerge on the practice court."