With the loss of four seniors to graduation last spring, most of whom were starters, the Centre High School girls’ basketball team has just one returning starter this year.
Shelby Makovec, a 5-foot-6 point guard, was named three years to the All-Wheat State League first team, three years honorable mention All-State by the Wichita Eagle and Topeka Capital-Journal, and two years to the All-League third team by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association.
Makovec averaged 15.8 points a game, scored 34 3-point baskets, had 3.4 assists per game, and had 2.8 steals per game last season.
Senior Brenna Shields and Junior Ally Basore saw significant playing time last year. The 5-6 Shields will play guard and forward positions. Basore, at 5-10, will play the post position.
Other returning letterwinners include Nellie Kassebaum, a 5-4 senior guard; Shelby Pankratz, a 5-7 sophomore guard; Cassidy Hill, a 5-6 senior forward; Callie Riffel, a 5-5 senior guard and forward; and Kailyn Riffel, a 5-5 senior guard and forward.
Carlotta Benning, a 6-2 junior exchange student, is expected to contribute at the post position. Summer Espinoza, a 5-8 sophomore, also will play post, as well as forward.
“With only one returning starter, we will lack experience at the beginning of the season,” coach Alan Stahlecker said. “We have a good balance of athletic ability and team chemistry that I believe will keep us very competitive in the Wheat State League, with teams in the area, and in 1A Division I.”
The 2013 team finished 19-4 overall and 6-1 in the league. They played in the state tournament for the third consecutive year.
“With Shelby Makovec running our offense and leading our defense and with post players that can rebound, we should continue the trend of solid basketball at Centre,” Stahlecker said.
He said Goessel and Rural Vista look the strongest right now, but he believes Centre, Little River, and Elyria Christian will compete with them for the league title.
“In this league, any team can win on any given night,” he said.
Stahlecker is in his sixth year as head girls’ basketball coach. He was an assistant for five years. Kim Shannon Shields is his assistant.
The team’s first game will be Dec. 5 at home against Central Christian of Hutchinson.