"That's our biggest rival the last 15 years. Their guard, Rami Almesty, we've not been able to stop him. The last two years, he's averaged about 30 points a game."
Junior center Reggie Magnusson leads Centre at 16.2 points a game and pulls down six boards a contest.
"On the offensive end, Reggie has been outstanding. When we need buckets, we know we can go to Reggie. Or if he's double teamed, he can kick out to an open shooter. His defense is much better this year, but he's a bit foul prone and we're working on that," Mason said.
Coy Zerhusen leads the team with seven rebounds a game and hits for 10 points, and Matt Nestheide averages 10.2 points and a team-high 2.8 assists per game.
But what's pleased Mason most is his team's defense.
"We have a group of guys who understand situations on the floor and make good decisions on the fly," he said. "And we're defending very well. Our field goal percentage is 38, and anything under 42 is a good defensive team."
Mason said Hendrix is an improved squad.
"They have a new coach and upset McMurry (Texas), who are typically in consideration to be ranked," he said. "And the first weekend everybody has hopes and thinks they can win a conference championship."
Starting three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior isn't necessarily a recipe for success, but the Centre women have won two of five games for coach Jennifer Ruff-Osborne, including a 63-55 win over Maryville on Sunday after losing to the Scots earlier in the week.
"I'm pleased so far, considering our youth and our schedule," Ruff-Osborne said. "Our schedule is so tough."
She hopes playing a tough non-league schedule will pay off once conference play starts
"We always try to schedule a good non-conference teams. We hope that will prepare of us the teams in our league. Obviously, it's a tough conference with two teams in the top 25," she said.
Jayme Davis leads Centre at 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds a game. Sarah Sheeran averages 12.2 points a contest and has a team-high nine blocked shots. Chelsea Wessel hits for 9.2 points and is tied for the team lead in assists with Casey County's Amy Barlow at 2.2 a contest.
Ruff-Osborne said her freshmen have "stepped up, and don't play with much fear."
"Rhodes is always right there, it should be a tough game for us," she said. "Winning against them is never easy, and they've got more experience than us. Hendrix was a young team last year. Now they've got a year of experience, but they have a new coach.
"We've got some kinks to work out, but obviously we'd like to be at the conference tournament (in March). We've got to protect our home court and steal a few on the road."