A Centre girls? basketball team aiming to repeat last year?s success and punch another ticket to state will look to three returning senior starters to lead the way.
All-league pick Beka Basore is expected to set the pace, backed by classmates Ellie Miller and Genesis Rudolph.
?The way we finished last season, we?re looking to build off the momentum of winning 10 out of our last 12 games and going to state,? said coach Alan Stahlecker. ?That was a pretty good experience for them.?
The Cougars also will look to two-time all-league returning starter Cacey Simons and all-league returning starter Shelby Makovec to round out the core group.
Players who also are likely to see minutes this season are letter-winner Brenna Shields, as well as Bryanna Svoboda, who was a starter during the 2010-11 season but sat out last year due to injury.
?We expect (Svoboda) to step back in and make some key contributions,? Stahlecker said. ?I look to all of them to do the things that we need to have done.?
Centre only lost one senior to graduation and returns nine letter?winners in all.
?We?ve got some good, experienced scorers,? Stahlecker said. ?We haven?t been a strong scoring team in the past few years, so I?m hoping we?ll be able to put up a few more points than we had.
?But our defense was solid enough last year that it got things turned around.?
Even so, Stahlecker hopes to improve the Cougar defense this year. He?d especially like to see the girls be more aggressive?without getting into foul trouble.
Though defense is a strength, Stahlecker believes his team?s greatest strength is chemistry.
?The chemistry of the team last year was great, and since there?s not a lot of change (in the lineup) I?m anticipating that will be good,? Stahlecker said.
He described that chemistry as, ?just that ability to work together, not worry about who gets points, but just try and accomplish some great things.?
With last year?s trip to state under their belts, the Cougars are expecting to be in the hunt for the top spot in the Wheat State League this season.
Tough Little River and Goessel teams may be the greatest challenges on their league schedule.
?With our depth I expect us to be right in contention,? Stahlecker said. ?I?m not saying we?re the favorite, but we?re right up there.?
The Cougars are scheduled to begin their season by hosting St. Xavier Nov. 30 in a non-league matchup. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.