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home : sports : sports Tuesday, May 24, 2016

3/20/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Saber freshman Allison Keitel goes up for a lay-up during Central’s victory over Solon. Photos by Ross Eberhart
Sophomore Miranda Meland launches a three-pointer during the Sabers’ game with West Delaware.
Late surge has young Sabers excited for next winter

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

Youth provided a "good news-bad news" situation for the Central girls basketball team.

With four freshmen and one sophomore seeing significant time, it took some time for the Sabers to gel on the basketball court and the team opened the season 0-12.

That was the bad news.

Once things did take shape, the Sabers were a tough team for anyone to play. Central went 6-5 in its final 11 games, topped one of the two WaMaC East champions and won a postseason game for the sixth-straight year. Oh, and every player that took part in at least five games will be coming back.

That is very good news for Central fans, who will have the opportunity to cheer on a group that is not only talented but now experienced as well.

Understandably, it took some time for the young Sabers to grow as a team, but even during their 12-game losing streak to start the season, Central showed flashes.

The Sabers nearly picked up their first win right away in the first week of the season as they fell in overtime during both of their games at the River Queen Classic (Central lost late leads in regulation against both Prince of Peace and host Clinton).

Central came close three more times at the tail end of 2012. The Sabers dropped a two-point game to Solon, fell by one to Anamosa and came up short in another overtime encounter, this time with rival Maquoketa.

After two more losses to start the new year, the Sabers finally picked up win number one and they did it in impressive fashion by knocking off eventual WaMaC East co-champion Mount Vernon by 10 points on the road.

After falling against Dyersville Beckman, the Sabers won again, this time with a tight 49-47 victory over West Delaware.

Central kept winning; knocking off Anamosa 24-21 in a low-scoring affair and then following it up with a nice 51-44 win over Solon.

The Sabers added one more victory in the regular season as they earned a measure of revenge against Maquoketa with a 37-25 win.

Central opened the postseason with a victory on its home floor against Davenport North before falling in the regional semifinals against North Scott.

Nearly the entire Central varsity roster (the Sabers' lone senior, Elyse Arensdorf, saw action in three games before an injury prematurely ended her season) will be back to build off that late-season success.

That includes four players - juniors Abby Willis and Gretchen Henningsen, sophomore Miranda Meland and freshman Amanda Brainerd - who were All-WaMaC East selections this season.

Fellow juniors Stephanie Schrader, Sarah Schoel and Emily Burke will give Central a deep senior class, while freshmen Brittany McNamara, Hailey Saunders and Allison Keitel will all have a year of varsity action under their belts.

Add in some new faces and the Sabers will have plenty of opportunities to produce nothing but good news (and results) next winter.

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