Three returning starters will anchor Cougar girls’ team

These eight girls comprise the Centre High School girls’ team this winter. Pictured are: back row (from left),  Kaitlin Brunner, Summer Espinoza, Shelby Pankratz, Katie Marler; front row, Kelsey Hett, Kate Basore, Haizea Diego, Becca. Not pictured: Grace Peterson, Emily Schlesener, Janel Dones.
These eight girls comprise the Centre High School girls’ team this winter. Pictured are: back row (from left), Kaitlin Brunner, Summer Espinoza, Shelby Pankratz, Katie Marler; front row, Kelsey Hett, Kate Basore, Haizea Diego, Becca. Not pictured: Grace Peterson, Emily Schlesener, Janel Dones.
The Centre girls’ basketball team will look to three returning starters to anchor the team this season.

That list begins with senior Shelby Pankratz, a two-time all-league recipient. The 5-foot, 8-inch guard earned first-team all-league honors last year at the conclusion of a season in which she averages 10.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Senior Summer Espin­oza, a 5-8 forward, scored 4.6 points and grabbed 6.7 rebounds per game.

Junior Kate Basore is Centre’s third returning starter. A 5-10 post, Basore averaged 5.5 points and grabbed 8 rebounds per game.

“Shelby Pankratz is a proven scorer and will key our offense, while Kate Basore is an excellent rebounder and provides a good inside presence,” said coach Alan Stahlecker, entering his eighth-year.

“Sum­mer Espinoza is a good all-around player whose experience over the last two seasons will be vital to our success.”

Three additional letter-winners are senior Katie Marler (5-6, guard/forward) and juniors Janel Dones (5-3, guard) and Emily Schlesener (5-9, guard/forward).

Two newcomers to watch are junior Haizea Diego (5-7, guard/forward) and freshman Kelsey Hett (5-6, guard).

Depth will be an issue for the Cougars this season. They will rely on some newcomers to fill voids created by the graduation of five seniors from last year’s 5-16 team.

“(I) am expecting some new players to step in and make key contributions, which is both a strength and a weakness,” Stahlecker said. “We don’t have much depth.”

The Cougars will have 11 athletes on the roster this season.

Centre will host Central Christian in its home-opener Friday.