Although six players have returned from ’s 2010 girls’ varsity basketball team, only two started last year. Still, Wildcat Coach Wallace Horton said each returning player brings with her the experience and leadership necessary to assist in guiding this season’s incoming youth.
“We’re excited about the prospects, not only for this year but down the road,” said Horton regarding his incoming varsity players.
Five of those prospects played on the undefeated junior varsity team last season, which bodes well for 2011 and years to come. Chemistry usually takes time to build but the coach is hoping the previous playing experience of some of the girls will speed up the process. Centreville showed that chemistry on the floor and got out to a promising start last week, defeating Edison in the first scrimmage of the preseason.
“We were very pleased with the effort,” Horton said. “We wanted an early test to see where we were and feel we had a pretty good barometer.”
The Wildcats are counting on fourth-year starter , who averaged 11 points and 7 boards in 2010-11, to lead Centreville back to the playoffs. Sophomore Jenna Green also returns with one year as a varsity starter under her belt. Green will control the tempo on the court at point-guard this season – a position her sixth-year coach believes she is tailor-made to play.
“She’s quick, sees the court and se understands the game,” Horton said. “She possesses all of the elements you want in a point guard.”
Horton refers to himself as an “old-school-type coach” but said he is willing to switch things up in order to get the best results out of his players’ talent and ability. He believes he has the tools now to run the fast break at times and hopefully score off the transition. Horton said the principles will stay the same but he wants to “maximize the talent that we have for the greatest good.”
The Wildcats’ 2011 schedule is the toughest since Horton took the reigns at Centreville. But Horton said he would have it no other way because a team only improves by playing the best. The Wildcats are used to playing proven opponents as they beat several teams that made it to the Northern Regional playoffs, including a defending AA state champion. Centreville has made it to regionals three out of the last six seasons. That includes last year when they finished 14-10 and reached the tournament, but lost in the first round to T.C. Williams after leading in the first half. Seven of the Wildcats’ 2010-11 losses came against regional playoff teams and the current AA state champion.
“We’re feel like we’ve turned the corner,” Horton said. “But we are confident and think we can have a winning season this year.”
The journey will not be an easy one as the Concorde District is rampant with talent. Horton said the coaches in the district are some of the best in the area and each game is a battle in the Concorde. The Wildcats’ first true test will comes in one week against a big Lake Braddock squad led by its 6’ 4” center. But Horton said he, his staff and his girls are ready for the test.
“We’re going to try and get better every day in practice,” he said. “We feel very strongly about this group and by the end of the season we can be a pretty good basketball team.”
plays at home against Lake Braddock at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 29.