The Centre High School girls’ basketball team lost just one starter to graduation last year, so prospects look good for another successful year.
The team won 10 of its last 12 games in 2011-12, including the substate tournament, and went to the state tournament for the first time in many years.
Returning starters include two girls — Ellie Miller and Bryanna Svoboda — who did not play most of the season last year because of injuries but did letter and start in 2010-11.
“With four returning starters from the 2011-12 season and two more from 2010-11, as well as two top substitutes from last year, we return a lot of experienced players for this season,” coach Allen Stahlecker said. “We are fairly tall up front and very athletic in the backcourt. We have a number of players who are capable of providing the scoring offense we need.”
Three returning letter winners and starters are seniors, two are juniors, and one is a sophomore.
Beka Basore, a 5-foot, 10-inch senior, returns in the post position. She received all-league honorable mention last year.
Genesis Rudolph, a 5-5 senior, returns as a guard.
Cacey Simons, a 5-10 junior, will be a forward. She received all- league honors last year.
Shelby Makovec, a 5-5 sophomore, will be a point guard. She also received all-league honors last year.
Miller, a 5-7 senior, will return as a forward and will also play post.
Svoboda, a 5-7 junior, will be a point guard.
Letter winners Amy Makovec, a 5-2 junior, and Brenna Shields, a 5-5 sophomore, will play the guard position.
The 21-member squad includes five other sophomores — Cassidy Hill, Nellie Kassebaum, Callie Riffel, Kailyn Riffel, and Cassy Thompson — and five freshmen — Ally Basore, Taylor Peterson, Carissa Shields, Abigail Svoboda, and Kristin Vinduska. Two exchange students — senior Olesya Opanasyuk and junior Sualeha Mustafa — also are members of the team.
“We have a lot of young players who are still developing their skills for high school basketball,” Stahlecker said. “Many of them have the potential to be contributors in the future.”
Maintaining a healthy squad and developing skills and teamwork are his concerns for a successful season.
After a 3-7 start in 2011-12, Stahlecker is hoping the team’s trip to state, along with its experience, will create the momentum for a better early season.
“The Herington Pre-season Tournament always provides some tough, competitive games,” he said. “With a couple of new opponents on the schedule, there will also be some unknowns.”
Stahlecker expects the teams in the Wheat State League to be balanced and therefore quite competitive. He expects his team to be in contention for the Wheat State League title.
He is in his fourth season as the head coach after five years as an assistant. His record as a head coach is 31-34. His team tied for third in the league last year and had an overall record of 13-10.
Stahlecker is assisted by Kim Shannon Shields, who is in her second season. Shields has a lot of experience working in a variety of sports. Stahlecker said that experience is helpful in dealing with various athletic abilities and personalities.
The season begins Nov. 30 with a home game against St. Xavier.