Thin on depth, Lady Cougars can still compete
With only 11 players projected to come out this season, numbers were already slim for Centre Lady Cougars basketball coach Alan Stahlecker when practice began Nov. 13.
Not even a week into the season, 11 was reduced to nine, with two deciding against going out.
Now ninth-season coach Stahlecker finds his team down to a quartet of seniors, one sophomore, and four freshmen.
Despite being thin on depth, the loss of Shelby Pankratz, Katie Marler, and Summer Espinoza is tempered by four letter-winners and a pair of starters returning from last year’s team that finished 12-10.
That should be enough to make the Cougars competitive again this season, especially when the two returning starters are Kate Basore and Kelsey Hett.
As a junior, the 5-10 Basore was named as a first team all-Wheat State League selection as well as gaining honorable mention from both the Wichita Eagle and Topeka Capital-Journal.
Outside of Basore, the Cougars don’t have much for a presence inside, with nobody else listed taller than 5-9.
Kelsey Hett broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and has the ball handling, quick defense, and scoring to strengthen the backcourt and run Centre’s offense. Expect Hett to improve her numbers of 8 points, 2 assists, and 3 steals per game average as a sophomore.
Emily Schlesener logged valuable minutes as a junior and will be counted on for production in the frontcourt.
Schlesener plays hard on rebounds, averaging nearly 5 a game to go along with a 3-point average.
“Those three will need to step up their scoring and lead the team in other aspects of the game,” Stahlecker said.
Senior Janel Dones should also figure into the mix for the starting lineup as a guard.
The freshman trio of Cailey Barney and Espinoza twins Alyssa and Samantha also could challenge for a starting spot in what’s likely to be a four-guard offense.
How quickly they adjust to the varsity level will have an impact on how far the Cougars can go this season.
Freshman Lacey Wingerd provides depth, but Centre may be in a jam should any injuries, or foul trouble occur.
Last modified Nov. 30, 2017