FOUNTAIN — Kylee Shook hasn't been around for years. Chloe Welch, the standout guard who led Mesa Ridge to the Class 4A Final 4 a year ago, has graduated and moved on.
Before the year started Jeff Beatty, the colorful personality who led the Grizzlies from the sideline opted to not return.
Yet, the Mesa Ridge girls basketball has sustained the success it has come to know in recent years and is enjoying every second of it.
"They're good kids and they're good basketball players," coach Monte Fetters said. "They're really competitive and the effort is there. They have great attitudes and they cheer for each other."
This year should've been different from the outside looking in. Welch was Mesa Ridge's leading scorer last year but currently she's finding minutes at the Division I level for the Davidson Wildcats.
The only other player to average double figures was Ashley Bowen, but the day after the 2017-18 season ended, her family moved to Texas.
So now it's Serin Dunne who's leading the charge and who has helped the Grizzlies (14-3 overall, 11-0 4A Colorado Springs Metro League) once again climb into the CHSAANow.com 4A rankings.
"We just switched our mindset from last year," Dunne said. "We did have those two primary scorers and we were relying on them and this year everyone has stepped up in leadership, scoring, rebounding and everything."
It's eerily similar to a year ago just with different pieces. Mesa Ridge gets the bulk of their scoring from a talented guard and support from down low. It's not Bowen this year, but rather Angelina Jackson who scores over 10 a game and pulls down six rebounds in the process.
It would appear that the kind of engine that drives this team could look entirely different, but the destination - and the journey in getting there - appears to be the same.
But that mentality isn't what pushes the Grizzlies. This is a different team than it was a year ago and while the ultimate goal of a state championship might be the same, these girls are looking to establish an identity independent of what past teams have been.
"There's a good tradition here," Fetters said. "They've won a lot and these girls want to be the team that wins a lot too. They don't want to be the team that lets that down."
To a degree, it started with Fetters. Beatty stepped down from the program and Fetters didn't accept the position until October. For now he's taking the approach of focusing on this season and not the long-term future.
It's no secret however, that he cares for his players and is relishing the opportunity to help him succeed.
"That was a lot of it," he said. "Those kids that were seniors deserved to have a good, positive year and deserved to have basketball be a positive experience for them."
He is a coach at heart. His father, Carl, was the longtime football coach at Cheyenne Mountain and currently serves as linebackers coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo. Both Carl and Monte have been around their share of high school basketball teams.
Fetters has coached girls golf at Mesa Ridge for seven years so when the season was itching closer he became the ideal candidate to fill the hole.
And he hasn't missed a beat as far as the success of the team is concerned. The Grizzlies can clinch the 4A CSML title as soon as Feb. 8 they it can beat Mitchell, Woodland Park and The Classical Academy, teams they have already beaten this year.
From there, only time will tell what this version of Mesa Ridge is capable of once the postseason begins.
"We'll go deep if we stay focused," Dunne said. "We have to play our roles, of course, and just step up for the rest of the season."