For Shipley junior Jordyn Turner, the 2010-11 season isn't about erasing the memory of last year's loss to Friends' Central in the Friends Schools League championship game.

It's about embracing it.

"It's something I use to motivate myself, and it's something that I use to motivate the team," Turner said. "I don't want to erase the memory. I want to use it."

That the Gators were in rebuilding mode last season didn't comfort the team when its two-year winning streak in the Friends League championship game was snapped.

In a rematch of the 2009 league final, the Gators were beaten handily, 49-32.

Since then, the desire to make up for the loss has been driving the Shipley girls' team.

"The team is definitely ready to go right now," coach Sean Costello said 10 days ago. "It's almost been a hindrance at this point; they're almost playing too fast right now because they're just so excited to get started."

Turner and senior Celeste Golub are the two returning starters on a team that features three highly touted freshman starters.

Turner and Golub were first-team all-league players last season. Golub averaged 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in 2009-10. Turner averaged 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds.

"Last year, [Golub and Turner] had to give a lot. They had to score, they had to defend, and they had to handle the basketball," Costello said.

"So I think they're excited because a lot of the freshmen can do some of these things.

"But the biggest difference is that right now, they're the role models on the team. They have such a high work ethic that I hope it starts to rub off on the underclassmen."

Turner said transitioning to a leader on the team was easy.

"It's going great," she said. "I think the main thing is to keep these girls focused on and off the court. Off the court, I'm on them about their schoolwork. On the court, I'm on them about working hard. That's the only thing that you can always do is work hard."

One thing Turner hasn't worried about with her three new teammates is talent.

The freshmen recently played together for Costello on one of the most competitive AAU basketball teams in the country.

The freshman class includes Colleen Walsh, who will start at shooting guard; Sox Alexander, who will handle point-guard responsibilities; and 6-foot-1 Aja Ellison, who will start at center.

Ellison is the daughter of Pervis Ellison, who led Louisville to a national championship in 1986, before being taken first overall in the 1989 NBA draft and spending 11 years in the NBA.

"We're going to have to be a strong defensive team, and I think there's going to have to be some growth by the underclassmen," Costello said.

"And I just think we need to get the same effort that we got out of Jordyn and Celeste last year and hope that the other pieces fall into place."

Contact Chris Melchiorre