Tiger girls wrap up first season with Henrich as head coach
The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta varsity girls' basketball team made strides while adjusting to a new coaching staff this season.
Dale Henrich, who made the transition from assistant boys' coach to head coach of the girls' program this season, wishes he could have the team back again next year.
"It would have been nice to work with these girls another year," he said.
Next season's team will change drastically with eight seniors graduating this spring.
At the start of the season, Henrich made it his main goal to have fun. He believes players can have fun and still have a successful season.
The Tigers finished the 2010-2011 season 8-15 overall and 6-10 in the West Central Conference South. They defeated all but two conference teams, Benson and Yellow Medicine East, along the way.
The Tigers finished sixth in the conference and took the No. 5 seed going into the Section 6AA West Tournament.
Henrich saw a lot of improvement throughout the season. The Tigers started the season Dec. 2 in Osakis with a 22-point loss and ended back in Osakis with a 50-49 loss in the first round of the Section playoffs.
Henrich said the Tigers' improvement versus the Silverstreaks' was evident in that last game.
"We had improved a lot," he said. "The kids went in thinking they had a chance.
"You want to get to a point where you can be competitive and have a chance to win."
The Tigers proved they could do just that on several occasions.
Erin Schieler was voted the team's Offensive MVP. She finished her Tiger career with 423 points, which puts her in 17th place since the program began. Her 280 career rebounds places her eighth in the standings. This season, she recorded 55 blocks for fourth place in the single-season rankings.
Henrich chose Erica Domnick to receive this year's Tiger Award. Domnick made the record books with 318 career rebounds which puts her in sixth place overall. This season's 197 rebounds earns her the No. 3 spot in the single-season records.
Kuhn received the team's Defensive MVP award.
Loew was voted Most Improved.
"She worked really hard and became an improved dribbler," said Henrich.
Henrich gave Hannah Sayles the position of point guard this season and praised her ability to adjust and handle the ball.
"She did well," he said. "She was one of our best three-point shooters."
Henrich said Shadow Olson helped the Tigers on the defensive end.
"She was one of our best shooters from outside," he added.
Henrich said Natalie Johnston steadily improved throughout the season.
"She was a kid that made the team better in practice," he said. "She worked hard."
Henrich explained theat Elizabeth Helberg had a tough position, playing behind two all-conference centers in Schieler and Domnick.
The team was named the 2010-11 team academic champion for Section 6AA by the Minnesota Girls' Basketball Coaches' Association. The Tigers had a cumulative average GPA of 3.749 to earn the award.
Three members of the team earned academic all-state honors: Erica Domnick, Sarah Kuhn, and Kelsey Loew.
Schieler and Domnick were both named to the All-West Central Conference South team. Beth Holland received an Honorable Mention.
"I hope they had a fun time and look back with fond memories," said Henrich of the seniors. "That would be a success."