By Jeremy McDonald
INDEPENDENCE, Ore.– The Central Girls basketball team has always seemed to have that one leader you could really point out in recent years.
Liz Chavez, Meagan Mendazona, Kennedy Kantola. You could possibly add Sadie Wendring to that this list year. And good thing is too, she’s only a junior for the Panthers so it’s just the beginning as she learned first-hand from Mendazona and Kantola the past two seasons.
“They’re great leaders so it’s great to learn from them. But I feel like every game, just seeing how hard they worked and what they do is really helped me picked up the skills,” said Wendring.
“She’s already doing that in practice, which is good,’ adds Head Coach Marc Burleson. “We’re trying not to focus on her because we have a team concept and not an individual concept. Even when Meagan was here, we tried to have a team concept so they can’t take away just one player and they have to focus on all five on the floor and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Central returns a solid squad from Spring. Kendall Seidel and Peyton Foreman will anchor the post, Ashley Barba will be a big factor this year at guard points Burleson. Pointing towards her and Wendring’s experience at the position will help compensate for each other on the floor.
“Hopefully she’ll step into her own this year and pick up some of that slack to give Sadie an opportunity to play,” Burleson said of Barba.
Hadley Craig, a freshman post/wing player has Burleson’s attention as she’s getting some reps in practice with the Varsity squad as with the season starting Wednesday at North Eugene High School.
“Now it’s just a matter of settling in. Knowing what their roles are and just playing hard,” Burelson said.
The one benefit this year compared to the Spring is just more opportunity to put work in. The limitations a few months ago had inhibited Central to an extent, but now with a normal season they’ll have an opportunity to go through the grind of practice and games to find their groove and improve.
“We got a great group returning. We got a freshman coming in that’ll add a lot of skill. I think this year it’s just the amount of practice because last year we didn’t have much practice,” Wendring said. “This year we’re going to implement our offense’s and get to the grind.”
The Panthers first home game will be December 3 when they host Cascade. They’ll host Ridgeview on December 7 before traveling to Springfield and Hillsboro with Mid-Willamette Conference play starting December 21 when Central hosts Dallas.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald