KEARNEY — Postseason success has defined Kearney Catholic High School girls basketball throughout coach Rick Petri’s 22-year tenure.
Last season, the Stars didn’t live up to the standard set in Petri’s first 21 years at the helm. The Stars lost to Adams Central 58-57 in overtime in the second round of a Class C1 subdistrict game.
The defeat snapped two streaks.
It marked the Stars’ earliest playoff exit in seven years and was the program’s first losing season since 1995-96, as they posted a 10-11 record.
This season, the Stars return four starters and three key contributors from last year’s team. Ainsley Aden, Liza Trettel, Ashlyn Wischmeier and Ashley Keck are the returning starters. The only absence from the starting lineup is Olivia Micek, who was the Stars’ best player last season.
Micek was the only player to average double-figures scoring with 14.0 points per game. She also added 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game last season.
Aden is the Stars’ top returner after averaging 7.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season. Trettel posted 7.5 points per game and Wischmeier added 6.0 points per contest.
Juniors Sydney Owen and Jacee Nore, sophomore Kyla Reifenrath and freshman Jenna Kruse are players who are expected to contribute this season.
“With four returning starters and three others that have played some minutes, we will have some experience,” Petri said. “We believe we have some younger players that can make an impact, as well. Their ability to make significant strides as the season progresses could allow us to be more competitive as the season progresses.”
The Stars haven’t qualified for the state tournament since 2016-17. In Petri’s 22 years at Kearney Catholic, he owns a 452-109 record and the Stars have won two state titles with him at the helm.
The Stars tip-off the season against Sutton at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at KCHS.