The Centre High School girls basketball varsity team is looking to improve on its record of 10-11 last year. Theo Kassebaum is the only senior starter, and the team is still quite young. Three of the six returning letterwinners are sophomores.
Sophomore Cacey Simons received all-league as a freshman. She was a starter and led scoring at 10.1 points per game. Coach Alan Stahlecker said she is an excellent outside shooter and drives the ball to the basket well. She was the second-leading rebounder last year with 6.6 rebounds per game.
“Cacey plays good defense and is a team leader,” he said.
The other returning starter is sophomore Bryanna Svoboda. She played point guard as a freshman.
“Bryanna is very talented and a hard worker,” Stahlecker said. “She plays excellent defense and, with her length (5 feet, 7 inches), can get into passing lanes to make steals.”
Stahlecker noted her ability as a 3-point shooter. He is expecting her to score more this year.
Amy Makovec replaced Svoboda in the last five games of the season last year after Svoboda was injured. Stahlecker said she gained valuable experience in handling the ball under pressure.
Kassebaum is a guard/forward who excels as a defensive player and rebounder.
The other letterwinners are juniors Beka Basore and Genesis Rudolph.
Stahlecker said Basore, at 5 feet, 9 inches, is a post player who is a good rebounder and has developed her inside moves in the last year.
“She will need to be a force for us inside,” he said.
Junior Genesis Rudolph is a good defender and has the ability to score 3-pointers at times.
Stahlecker expects junior Carrie Carlson to step up to the next level.
“She needs to be ready to be a good rebounder for us,” he said.
Jasmin Abdel Ghany, an exchange student who has played some basketball in her native
Germany will see action as a “good all-around player.”
At 6 feet, 1 inch, and 5 feet, 9 inches, respectively, sophomores Yvonne Calvert and Makenzie Deines bring a little height to the frontcourt. Stahlecker said they need to develop defensively and as solid rebounders.
Freshmen Shelby Makovec and Brenna Shields will see some varsity playing time as guards.
“Hopefully, they will develop over the course of the season,” Stahlecker said.
Other members of the squad are senior Bessie Yang, junior Anastasiya Lesnikova, and freshmen Cassidy Hill, Nellie Kassebaum, Callie Riffel, Kailyn Riffel, and Cassy Thompson.
Stahlecker is in his third year as head coach after having served as assistant for five years. His assistant this year is Kim Shannon Shields.
Stahlecker is expecting a balanced and competitive league this year. He expects Little River and Peabody-Burns to be “the teams to beat.” He believes that Centre has a chance at the league crown.
“We can play with anybody in the league, and I expect us to be at the top of the list,” Stahlecker said.
The team’s beginning skills will be tested Friday when they play the season opener against Southeast of Saline at home.