The 2013-14 Centre High School girls’ basketball team includes four returning starters and two additional letterwinners.
Senior Cacey Simons has been a starter since her freshman year. Senior Makenzie Deines became a starter during the last season, and senior Bryanna Svoboda was a starter as a freshman and a junior, sitting out her entire sophomore year due to an injury in the first game of the season. Junior Shelby Makovec joined them as a freshman.
Junior Brenna Shields and senior Amy Makovec are two additional letterwinners who have seen a lot of playing time.
The team has advanced to the state tournament the past two years and is hoping for a return trip. They finished 16-7 last year, improving from 14-10 the previous year.
Centre is ranked No. 7 in 1A Division l in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association preseason poll.
Simons led in overall scoring and free-throw percentages last year and was a leading rebounder. Coach Alan Stahlecker said Simons passes well and can block shots. She was first team all-league for all three years of high school. She received all-state 1A honorable mention by the Wichita Eagle, Topeka Capital-Journal, and KBCA as a sophomore and a junior.
Stahlecker described point-guard Shelby Makovec as a “good all around player.”
“She makes the offense happen because she drives well and is a good scorer, passer, and defender,” he said.
She was first team all-league as a freshman and sophomore, and received all-state honorable mention both years by the Eagle and Capital-Journal. She received 1A honorable mention by Kansas coaches as a freshman and third team as a sophomore.
Post player Deines is a good shooter and “decent” rebounder. Guard Svoboda is a good ball-handler, shooter, and defender.
Sophomore Allison Basore has a chance to be a post player. Stahlecker said she is a good shooter, rebounder, and shot blocker. She and Deines, both 5 feet, 10 inches tall, are the tallest players on the team.
Playing the guard position, Amy Makovec is a good shooter and passer and a good off-ball defender. Stahlecker sees Shields, a guard and small forward, as a player who rebounds, defends well, and has great quickness.
He expects juniors Nellie Kassebaum and Callie Riffel to be major contributors this year.
Other juniors on the team include Cassidy Hill, Marie Miklus, Kailyn Riffel, and Cassy Thompson.
Carissa Shields, Abigail Svoboda, and Kristin Vinduska are sophomores. Kaitlin Brunner, Summer Espinoza, Katie Marler, and Shelby Pankratz are freshmen.
“I expect that our experience and skills will make us very competitive in the Wheat State League, in our area, and in Class 1A, Division l,” Stahlecker said. “I expect us to be able to compete with any team we face this year.”
He expects the team to be in contention for the league title. He named Little River and Goessel as potentially the team’s toughest opponents, but he also said, “Virtually any team in this league can beat any other team on any given night.”
Stahlecker was an assistant for five years before becoming head coach five years ago. Kim Shannon Shields is in her third season as his assistant.
The Lady Cougars open the season Tuesday in the Herington Preseason Tournament.