The Centre High girls basketball team will enter the 2019-20 season with no losses to graduation last May. The team has only nine players, but four are returning starters.
Senior point guard Kelsey Hett has started every year in high school. At 5 feet, 7 inches, she is the tallest player on the squad.
“I believe Kelsey is one of the better players in all of class 1A this season,” said coach Alan Stahlecker. “She led us in virtually every statistical category last season. She was an all-league player in the Wheat State League the past two seasons.”
Stahlecker said Kelsey is strong as she drives to the basket, where she can shoot or make a great pass to set up a teammate. She is a steady 3-point shooter. Junior Alyssa Espinoza was the second leading scorer and rebounder last season. She was all-league honorable mention.
“Alyssa can take over the game for stretches of time and goes to the basket very well,” Stahlecker said.
He described her twin sister, Samantha Espinoza, as “a very solid player who plays good defense and rebounds well.” He is hoping she will score more this year. Junior Cailey Barney, at 5-foot-5, is small, but quick, the coach said.
“She plays good defense and does a lot of the little things that are needed to make a team successful.”
Sophomore Carly Deines is a letter winner and will probably round out the starting five. She played a lot last season and was described as a strong defender and good rebounder.
“I expect her to take another step up this year in production,” Stahlecker said.
Sophomore Alex Remmers lettered last year.
“She is a good offensive threat who didn’t play a lot last year due to some injuries,” Stahlecker said.
Sophomore Emily Casey also lettered last year. Stahlecker described her as “a good shooter.”
Two freshmen, Lili Espinoza and Jorja Peterson, are the other two players.
“The team has good basketball skills,” Stahlecker said. “They play well together and with a lot of tenacity.”
Not much depth and a lack of height are the coach’s main concerns.
“We are essentially a team of guards,” he said. “We cannot afford to have either foul trouble or injuries.” He expects Little River and Rural Vista to be the strongest teams in the league.
“We should be competitive with them and everyone else,” he said.
Stahlecker is in his 11th year as head coach and was an assistant for five years.