The Centre Cougar boys appear to be loaded for bear this season as they return four senior starters and five letter-winners from a squad that went 12-9 a year ago and swept its Eisenhower League schedule with a 6-0 record.
Coach Greg Wyatt, now in his second year as boys’ coach after a previous tenure with the girls’ team, will have a pair of Eisenhower all-league performers at the heart of his year’s squad.
Earning league recognition for their hoops prowess were Tanner Johnson, a 6-foot, 2-inch forward who averaged nine points, eight rebounds and two assists per game, and Brian Burhoop, a 6-2 guard who scored seven points, pulled down six rebounds and handed out two assists per contest.
They will be complemented by returning starters Rustyn Kerbs and Adam Matz, a pair of 5-9 guards who each contributed three points, two rebounds and one assist per contest.
The fifth returning letter-winner, Tyler Klenda (6-1), averaged five points and four rebounds and one assist as a guard.
Battling for playing time from last season’s junior-varsity squad are three juniors: Trevor Hageburg, a 6-4 forward; Kordell Harding, a 6-1 forward; and Shane Methvin, a 5-9 guard.
Sophomores returning from that team are James Wyatt, a 5-11 guard-forward, Justin Deines, a 5-9 guard, Houston Svoboda, a 5-7 guard, and Kody Johnson, a 5-9 guard.
One thing the Cougars will need to adjust to this year is a new league. Joining Centre in the newly formed Wheat State League are Goessel, Hope, Little River, Elyria Christian, Peabody-Burns, Solomon, Wakefield and White City.
“We should be pretty good and should be one of the teams favored in the new Wheat State League,” Wyatt said. “We should have experience and depth going for us. If some of our younger kids step up, we will be pretty good.”
Last season, the Cougars ended their season at regionals. This year, they hope to go further. Centre will start the season Friday at Southeast of Saline.