The faces are familiar, but the look is different for Casa Grande High School's Lady Gaucho basketball team this season.
Casa Grande lost just three players from a team that last season dominated the Sonoma County League, finished second in the North Coast Section playoffs, won 31 games (losing just three) and became the first Casa Grande girls team ever to reach the NorCal playoffs.
Those three players — Gretchen Harrigan, Samantha Sack and Desi Zidan — were the brains, the heart and the soul of that exceptional team.
Many of the players who played important roles on that championship team are back, but are being asked to step up into leadership roles, many at different positions.
"It is different for them this year, not just getting more time on the court, but in adjusting to who the leaders are," says Casa Grande coach Dan Sack.
"Even the returning starters will have new roles."
One of those assuming a new key role is senior guard Lyndsey Murnin. She was a huge part of Casa Grande's success last season, and is being asked to do even more this year.
She was one of the team's top scorers last season as the shooting guard and backed up Stephanie Sack as point guard. This year, with both Sack and Harrigan graduated, she is being asked to not only do more scoring, but also direct the team as the No. 1 point guard.
"She's perfect for that role," Sack says of Murnin at the point. "She knows the offense and never forces her shot. She takes the shot when it's available."
Brooke Santander, one of the taller of the Lady Gauchos at 5-feet, 8-inches, moves to the post full time after playing primarily on the wing last year. Not only is she a tenacious defender and rebounder, she is also an outstanding outside shooter with a good 3-point touch.