There will be a lot of familiar faces returning to the Class 5A Centennial League in girls basketball this season.
As such, Cherry Creek coach Chris Curneen suspects the same teams that finished at the top of the league standings will be vying for the league title in 2012-13.
“It should be a three-way battle for the league title,” said Curneen, whose Bruins squad finished third in the Centennial League last year with a 10-4 record, 14-11 overall. “The league didn’t graduate many, so (the league) should be one of the best leagues this year.”
Cherry Creek brings back a pair of first team all-Centennial League players in 6-foot senior, Megan Rohrer and 5-foot-1o junior, Mikaela Eppard. Kate O’Brien, Molly Rohrer and Brittney Roy will all see significant playing time.
“We’re hoping for a final four appearance,” said Curneen, whose team lost in the second round of state last year.
Arapahoe and Grandview finished tied atop the league standings with 13-1 records last year. The Warriors (19-6) overall, lost by a point (44-43) to ThunderRidge in the round of 16.
With nine seniors on the rosters, depth is not an issue for Arapahoe.
In the Continental League, Regis Jesuit looks to reload after losing four key players to graduation from last year’s team that reached the Final Four. The Raiders do have a pair of dynamic juniors that coach Carl Mattei figures should lead the way in 2012-13.
Justine Hall, a first team All-Continental League player who averaged 13.3 points per game, is back, as is forward Diani Akigbogun, who averaged 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds and was second team All-Continental League selection.
Jordan Molyneaux (6-foot-4 junior), Anna Ptasinski (5-foot-10 junior who returns from an ACL injury), Kesli Lidge and Jessica Lewis are all players Mattei identified as being integral to the team’s success.
Heritage finished last season with an 8-3 mark in Continental League play (18-7 overall) and reached the second round of the state tournament. Littleton was 2-9 in league, 7-17 overall.
In Class 4A, Valor Christian coach Sherryl Klosterman returns 10 players from last year’s team, and is hoping that depth is a source of strength for the Eagles this season.
“We are an experienced and deep team with eight seniors and two returning sophomore starters,” Klosterman said. “Our strength will be our versatility, as we have several players who can play multiple positions, creating mismatch issues for our opponents. Defensive pressure and intensity will be our key to success this season.”
Caroline Bryan, a 5-foot-10 sophomore who averaged 14 points and nine rebounds (honorable mention All-State), returns, as does 5-foot-11 sophomore Kendall Bradbury, who scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds a game.
Kara Foley (nine points, four rebounds) and Annalise Pequette (seven points, four rebounds) are other key returning players for Valor Christian, which finished 2011-12 with a 19-5 record and lost in the second round of the 4A state tournament.
In Class 3A, St. Mary’s Academy was 10-11 overall, with a 4-6 mark in Metro League play. Kent Denver was 2-16 with a 2-8 league mark.