NORTHOME — For the past three years, the Kelliher-Northome girls basketball team has had an incredible attitude, according to head coach Justin Lundin, who hopes positive mental approach will continue despite the Mustangs losing three post players to graduation.
“It’s going to be challenging to play without their size,” Lundin said.
“We are a lot shorter this year,” senior captain Kelly Heck said. “We lost three of our tallest players.”
Heck will be the only returning starter. Other captains are senior Paula Pearsall and junior Teresa Weidenborner. All three play as guards for the Mustangs.
According to Lundin the top seven girls on the team are strong players, but they are lacking in numbers for the 2013-14 season.
“We’ve got a lot of eighth and ninth graders,” Lundin said.
The team goal this season is to get the younger players playing at the varsity level and also to play together as team.
“They definitely have potential,” Lundin said.
Starters for the Mustangs will include Kelly Heck, Sierra Heck, Breanna Salmonson, Megan Hudec and Teresa Weidenborner.
“If we’re going to beat teams that are very big and physical, we’ll have to beat them with our quickness and our speed,” Lundin said. “We have our work cut out for us.”
BLACKDUCK — Offseason participation will hopefully be a key tool in the upcoming season for the Blackduck girls basketball team, according to head coach Eric McKeeman.
This year’s captains are junior Alex Arp and seniors Brooke Mistic and Madison Liapis. All three girls helped to gather the team and play together during the offseason.
McKeeman said that a couple of the girls also attended camps and played AAU basketball during the summer.
“We had leagues that they could play this summer, too,” McKeeman added.
The team is high in numbers this year, only losing two seniors from last season.
“We’re pretty deep,” McKeeman said. “We’ve got a lot of girls who can play and we will be playing quite a few girls.”
With the higher numbers this year, McKeeman said he would like to see a little more chemistry developed on the team as the season goes on. Overall, the goal for this year will be improvement among individual players and the team as whole, according to McKeeman.
The only full-time starter who returns is junior Alex Arp, so McKeeman says that the lack of varsity experience could hurt the Drakes this year.
Blackduck is 2-1 in the early going and a preseason scrimmage in Bemidji, which included last year’s state tournament participant Win-E-Mac, gave the coaching staff a hint of what was to come.
“They looked pretty good, though,” McKeeman said of this team. “I think we’ll be better than last year.”
Among the expected starters this are forwards Alex Arp and Brooke Mistic, guards Madison Liapis and Kristina Napieralski and center Michaela Holmgren.