But with all five starters returning this season, and the team already off to a 4-0 start on the hardwood, head coach Robert White thinks his 2012-2013 team can post a breakthrough season this winter.
“This year’s team has a chance to be the best in our school’s history,” said White, who led the Lady Knights to an 11-14 record last season and had them just two points short of a state playoff berth, losing to Roswell in the region playoffs. “We’ve steadily improved each year I have been here and we have great balance this year.”
Centennial’s balance includes five very experienced upperclassmen in their starting lineup, including senior captains Lauren Spence and Asia Mitchell — two athletic post-players that bring veteran savvy and tenacity to the Lady Knights’ front court.
The seniors are joined in the starting five by a trio of juniors that are three-year starters — Chelsea Reese, Paige Elliott and Becca Davis.
Reese, a 5-foot-9 guard that is averaging five steals per game this year, was an all-region player last season; Davis, a 5-foot-10 guard that has dished out over four assists per game this year, is running the team from the point and Elliott, a 6-foot-1 center, returns to the middle after leading the Lady Knights in scoring and rebounding last season.
“As a coach, I am most comfortable with a fast-paced game and this is the first team I have had here that can play that style,” said White. “We had six players score in double figures already through our first [few] games.”
Centennial’s early season success includes wins over Berkmar (54-42), Sandy Creek (44-43), Marietta (49-23) and South Gwinnett (63-54). Sandy Creek and Marietta were state powers a year ago, winning over 20 games each region championships, and White hopes their ability to run with some of the state’s best squads in November will help them meet their lofty goals come February.
“The Centennial girls’ basketball program has only had one winning season, in 04-05, so we have two team goals this season. First, to win 15 games, and next is to win our region and qualify for the state tournament.”
The Lady Knights will open region 6AAAAAA play at West Forsyth on Friday and play at region-favorite Alpharetta next Tuesday.