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With eight of last season's top nine scorers returning, the outlook is strong for the Cedarburg girls basketball team in 2016-17.

The one graduation loss is a significant one: Allie Barber, who finished her brilliant career by averaging 18.7 points and 9.4 rebounds last season for a team that went 19-6 and lost to Beaver Dam in WIAA sectional play.

Everybody else who played major roles on last season's squad is back, though.

Kalli Murphy, a 5-foot-9-inch junior guard, returns after tallying 12 points, seven rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season to earn second-team all-North Shore Conference honors.

Kennedy Ross, a 5-9 senior guard, is back after contributing seven points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per outing and receiving honorable-mention all-conference for the third straight season.

Ross is a four-year starter and Murphy a three-year varsity player for the Bulldogs.

Also back are 6-0 senior post Shannyn Block (5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game) and 5-5 senior guard Morgan Wallace (4.9 points, three rebounds, three assists), both who are third-year varsity players.

Rounding out the group of returnees are 5-8 senior guard Allison Jessup, 5-8 junior guard Kendra Murphy, 5-6 senior post Lauren Driscoll and 5-4 junior guard Sarah Peksa.

Coach Dave Ross knows some adjustments will be in order after losing Barber.

"Allie gave us strong inside play," Ross said. "Now we need to find some different ways of scoring, taking that extra pass or dribble. We have some players who need to play big minutes and expand their games from last year."

Ross said the guard play should be strong, and the large amount of varsity experience will help with team chemistry.

He also likes the athleticism offered by 6-1 sophomore post Abby Belschner and 6-1 freshman post Maddie Barber, Allie's sister.

Ross said defending champion Germantown, which topped Cedarburg by one game last season, is the favorite again, with Homestead also strong and Grafton and Port Washington improved.

The Bulldogs have a difficult schedule, featuring 12 games against teams rated or given honorable mention in their respective divisions.

"This is designed to get us ready for the season," Ross said, "but it will be brutal."

They begin with a pair of contests in the Brookfield Central Shootout this weekend. They will meet Green Bay Notre Dame at 3:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, and D.C. Everest at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26.

Cedarburg begins North Shore play at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at home against Whitefish Bay.

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