The ladies of Central finished just two games under .500 at 12-14 last season. But an early exit in the Class 5, District 15 tournament and a milestone left unreached is what is really motivating a much younger Indian team in 2012.
"We are just so young, we've got to get things put together, and we need to get them put together in a hurry," head coach Kevin Kelley said."We have one returning starter, and really she's played quite a bit more than anybody else that we have."
Senior guard Maddyson Schultz knows she has her work cut out for her as the lone senior to lead Central through another tough season in Class 5.
But the chemistry this group of newer teammates has already built helps take the edge off.
"The chemistry, we all know where each other's going to be," Schultz said. "I think our offense is going to be pretty powerful this year as well as our defense. We're all pretty fast, we're in shape."
"They play well together, they like each other and have fun when they're together," Kelley said.
"We play a lot better together. We know each other," junior guard Brady Rodney said. "None of us have really played together before but it seems like people want to be here more than they did at first. We're more in shape and everything. "
Mix that chemistry with a fresh memory of a one-point loss to Park Hill in the district semifinals last year along with what was at stake for Kelley, and the Indians have plenty of motivation.
"It was supposed to be Coach Kelley's 500th win. We all really wanted it and we were so close too. The fact that we didn't get it, we really want it now."
"I sure would like to get that win pretty quick. I don't want to have to go very long, and I think they're excited for it too," Kelley said."
"I think that's our goal: to go further in districts instead of just losing that one game. That broke all our hearts last year," Schultz said.
That's a tall task given what the ladies need to overcome: replacing three seniors and four starters from last year's squad.
Kelley is confident , once the Indians get a few games under their belts, the inside presence could work in their favor on a nightly basis.
"We've got some size this year, a little more size. We're really going to want to get the ball inside," he said. "I think that's going to be our forte is to go inside and then be able to get it to the girls on the outside too."