Lady Cobblers look to rebuild with young talent

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When you lose five starters to graduation, a basketball team is often looking at a rebuilding year. That certainly could be the case for the Rapid City Central girls basketball team this season.

Central is coming off a 17-9 season in which they finished fourth at the state tournament.

But this year, the Cobblers will have to try and replace 75 percent of their scoring.

Leading the way for Central this season will be senior guard Bailey Johnson who averaged 6.8 points per game, along with junior forward Juneau Jones who averaged 5.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.    

"Bailey Johnson is going to have a great season for us," Rapid City Central head coach Kraig Blomme said. "Juneau Jones has played a ton of varsity for us. We have some new girls that are stepping up from the JV that will be ready to play. It's going to be fun. It's going to be excited."

This year, the Class 'AA' playoffs will look a little different. The new sweet 16 format eliminates district play and seeds teams for a 16-team tournament.

The eight winners then advance to the state tournament.

Coach Blomme disagrees with the decision to change to a new playoff format.

 "Moving to the Sweet 16 was a terrible decision," Blomme said. "Losing the atmosphere and the competitiveness of a district tournament, I think is a shame for these girls. I've said many times, I think if you go back and talk to a lot of the kids that have graduated and have played some of their best memories are the rivalry games in the district tournament. I think that's a terrible decision to take that away from the kids all the way across the state."

Central opens the season by playing in a three-day classic in Gillette, Wyoming starting on December 7.

The Cobblers home opener is December 19 against the Douglas Patriots.

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