I find it interesting that the Brookfield Central girls basketball team is ranked seventh in the state by Wissports.net. Could it be that four consecutive Greater Metro Conference titles in a row and five in seven years have something to do with it?
Last year the Lancers had Valerierose Agnello, Anna Liewen and a handful of seniors finally getting their chance to play. They learned well from the previous classes and won the GMC (13-1) and finished 17-7 overall.
Well doing last week's previews, I think this season's team might be better than I expected it to be.
First of all, one of the major keys to this team's success is Liewen.
The Lancers have their leading returning scorer and rebounder back, but they will have to make sure she will be able to stay on the floor and not on the bench in foul trouble. Sometimes, she has a tendency to play out of control, and the Lancers will need her to step up big time her senior year.
I really don't think there is a physically stronger player in the GMC. If she puts her mind to it, she can be dominating inside.
She also has to improve her finish around the basket. Because of that strength, not too many people will be able to stop her from getting inside. But then she needs to convert her shot. Too many times last season, she went to the hoop but didn't finish strong, and the Lancers can't afford that this season.
There is no question she has talent, but this team will need her leadership as well.
Perhaps the Lancers' best player is sophomore Lydia Rohde, a 5-foot-10 inch point guard who was a big part of Central's success last year.
Rohde didn't play like a rookie last year, and this season she needs to understand that sometimes her unselfish play can end up hurting the team. She not only needs to shoot, but she needs to take the ball to the hoop. You see, if you foul her, it's an almost automatic two points from the free-throw line.
One of my favorite players is Sarah Fotsch. At 5-9, Fotsch doesn't take a back seat to anyone when it comes to going to the boards. She has a take-no-prisoners attitude and gives Central a good 1-2 punch on the boards with Liewen. But like Liewen, there are times that Sara can play a little out of control.
Two other new players also got my attention.
Debbie Entzminger, a 5-8 junior, shot well from the floor and was impressive at times around the basket.
The other newcomer who jumped out at me was freshman Emma Brauer, a 5-7 guard, who took the ball to the basket and scored within seconds of entering the game. If there is one thing I cannot stand about girls basketball, there are too many players who are afraid to shoot the ball. So Emma got an A-plus from me for that alone.
On the other side of town, East's second-year coach Kelly Lam will have her hands full this year. She lost her best players to graduation and had some other players concentrate on other sports and not come out.
Emily Utic, a 5-foot-9 inch junior guard, and senior Kristen Kreh, a 5-1 senior guard, are Lam's only returnees.
But she might have something in freshman Kellie Goodman, a 5-8 swingman, and Lauren Kennedy, a 5-10 junior, who is her tallest player.
The Spartans improved from the free-throw line over the weekend, going from 9-for-26 to 13-for-20 in the first two games.
"After all, that's why they're called free," Lam told me last week.
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