Between not starting practices until January and losing 1,000-point scorer Kelsey Hett to graduation last year, Centre girls basketball will have to rely on its experienced core of players to find success this season.
The Cougars return all five starters, highlighted by twin sisters Alyssa and Samantha Espinoza.
Both 5’6” seniors, they received all-league honors last year. Alyssa averaged 11 points per game, 6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals, was a Wheat State League first-team selection, and received All-State honorable mention. Samantha averaged 8.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2 spg, and received WSL honorable mention.
Competing in terms of height will be a challenge for the players, but quickness and agility at all positions will set them up to give other teams some struggles, coach Alan Stahlecker said.
“We are experienced through our first six players,” he said. “We are very inexperienced beyond that. Though not tall by high school standards, the Espinoza twins are extremely athletic and are able to hold their own inside, and even exploit their skills against taller players. They both can step outside and shoot the 3-pointer.”
The team’s other returning starters are 5’4” junior Carly Deines, who averaged 3.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game, 5’5” sophomore Lili Espinoza, and 5’6” junior Alex Remmers. The team also adds one junior and seven freshmen .
In his 12th season as coach, Stahlecker sees his players as defenders who generate steals but he also want to see more consistent scoring.