ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DIANE MAYS
This year some of the young Centre girls will have a chance to step into the spotlight when the Cougars step onto the basketball floor this winter.
“We’re going to be fairly young,” said coach Greg Wyatt. “It’s going to be a case where some young players are going to have to fill the shoes of some seniors we lost last year. They do have athletic ability, but it’s just a matter of them picking up the system.”
One of Wyatt’s key players this year is Ashley Bowman, a 5-7 senior.
“She’ll be asked to do a lot, both inside and outside,” Wyatt said.
Laura Klenda, a 5-10 junior who was an all-league selection from last year, will be asked to do provide much of the team’s inside game.
“For the simple reason that we’re not very tall this year,” Wyatt said.
Rachelle Jirak, also a junior, will be asked to fill a leadership role in a guard position.
Wyatt said several newcomers could add a lot to the Cougars’ game this season.
“We’ve got a handful (of young players), and any one of them could step into (a role),” he said. “It’s just a matter of which one picks up the system the fastest.”
Having a number of girls who can fill a role on the court should work to the Cougars’ advantage, Wyatt added.
“We could be pretty deep this year if they pick up the system, but we’re going to be young.”
Wyatt said because the team is not exceptionally tall, team strengths will have to come from somewhere else.
“Speed and quickness is probably our strength, and lack of size is probably our weakness,” he said.
Wyatt said his team will have to work hard to compete effectively in the Eisenhower League. He said several schools are going to be tough to beat.
“White City will probably be the favorite for the simple fact that they’ve got five really good athletes that will be on the floor, and they’ve tasted what state competition is like because of volleyball,” Wyatt said.
Bennington will be another tough contender. Wyatt said everyone else in the league will probably be on a more equal level this season.
The Centre-Hope game, scheduled for Dec. 17, usually turns out to be a big game because of the rivalry between the two schools. But Wyatt said most of their games will turn out to be “big” this season.
“It almost seems like anybody we play gears up to play us,” he said. “We just have to be ready to play every night out.”
Centre will travel to Southeast of Saline Friday to open their season against the Trojans. Game time is 6 p.m.