Beth-Center lost four section games in the closing minutes a year ago and losses kept the Lady Bulldogs out of the WPIAL girls playoffs.
Longtime coach Steve Beyer knows that having three starters returning will help with the move up to Class AAA.
“We moved up and it will be a challenge for us,” he said. “We are the smallest school in the classification, but we will not make excuses and we feel that we can compete with anyone on any given night.”
The Lady Bulldogs are in Section 2-AAA with Brownsville, Charleroi, McGuffey, Seton-La Salle, South Park, Washington and Waynesburg Central.
“I think with South Park and Seton-La Salle in our section that they will be the teams to beat,” Beyer said. “Our goal is to make it back to the playoffs again.”
What are the keys to make it back to the playoffs?
“We have to play solid defense and pride ourselves to hold opponents to 36 points (or less),” Beyer said. “Our offense will be fast-paced as we have a lot of players capable of scoring and need everyone to contribute.”
Senior guard Frankie Pryor and junior guard Olivia Greco enter their third year as starters, while junior forward Elizabeth Trump is the third returning starter.
“Frankie is our best defender and always has the task of shutting down the opponents No. 1 player,” Beyer said. “Olivia averaged 16 points per game a year ago, is our returning point guard and best 3-point shooter.
“Elizabeth is our best rebounder on defense.”
The other two starting positions are still up for grabs and Beyer mentioned several players who are either in the running to start or will play key roles off of the bench.
The group includes senior guards Nicole White and Caleigh Bolin, junior guard Madison Hunyady, junior forward Markie Lewis, sophomore forward Anna Sloan, freshman guard Julia Ogrodowski and freshman forward Rebecca Red.
“We will be successful if we play solid defense,” he said. “We also need everyone to contribute on the offensive end and we can’t just rely on one or two people to score.”
Beth-Center opens in the Freedom Tip-Off Tournament.