By Greg Gielczyk

WHITTEMORE - Three seniors return for the Whittemore-Prescott girls basketball team this season, and they're naturally expected to be the team leaders on a squad that is 10 players strong.

Kenzie Broughton, Lexi Hart and Cheyenne Lewis are talented, skilled players who will serve as team captains this year. Each has different attributes that head coach Jayme Nickell hopes to utilize to put the Cardinals in position to win.

Broughton probably will be the Cardinals' leading post player, and is an extremely good rebounder and excellent screen setter according to Nickell. She works extremely hard, and gives 100 percent Nickell said.

As a junior last year when the Cardinals went 4-16, Lewis was primarily a defender and really didn't look to score very much. She spent the summer working on her offensive game, and built a lot of confidence. Nickell is looking for her to be more of a scorer this season.

"Lexi is kind of the engine that drives our ship," Nickell said. "When she's engaged and rolling having a good game, we're having a good game. She kind of sets the tone for everyone else.

"She's my starting point guard and controls the tempo of the game, and gets everyone going."

The Cardinals also have three juniors on the squad in Jayda McKuen, Laila Bell and Carly Gibson. There are also two sophomores in Sarah Santiago and Americus Caron, with two freshmen in Brianna Listeman and Skylar Swanson.

Gibson is a transfer from Standish, while McKuen comes from California and was a new student last year. McKuen has never played basketball before, but Nickell says she's very athletic and very fast, and has good defensive instincts.

Bell started on the varsity as a freshman, but then went to a different school last year.

"She's what most coaches like to call a thoroughbred," Nickell said of Bell. "She works extremely hard. She's a very skilled, smart player. I'm excited about her and what she can do on the court.

"I pulled Americus up for districts last year. She brings a lot of speed to the floor. She and Jayda run track for me, too. She's gets after it defensively and is another guard. She's going to be one of the girls that I look to to guard the other team's best players and take them out of the game. Sarah is a hard worker, rebounds really well."

Nickell boldly predicts that Swanson is going to lead the North Star League in rebounding this year despite being only a freshman.

"She's got a relentless motor," Nickell said. "She's just goes and goes. She rebounds very well. She's very athletic. She jumps very high. She gets off the ground. Her and Kenzie are going to be fighting over rebounds.

"Brianna Listeman runs the floor very well. Defensively, she's got instincts that you can't teach. She's get steals. She's just very raw offensively. She's got a little bit to work on. Defensively, I like what I see from her. The game's not going to be too fast for her defensively."

With the speed they have, and the height they don't, the Cardinals are going to run an up tempo game.

The Cardinals are going to look to push and get out and run.

"We run basically an extended motion offense," Nickell said, "with some high post action, and setting lots of ball screens."

Nickell says the North Star League is very deep, but the Cardinals hope to be right there in the mix.