Tigers open season with experience of six seniors
The Morris Area/ Chokio-Alberta girls' basketball team is ready for another season under the leadership of seventh-year coach Ken Gagner.
The Tigers have three returning starters on the roster: senior captains Heather Gagner, Stef Strobel, and Megan Dierks.
Dierks, a 5-foot, 9-inch center, averaged 10.4 points per game and 4.2 rebounds. Gagner, a 5-6 guard, had a 6.5-ppg season in 2007-08 and averaged 2.3 assists. Strobel, a 5-7 guard, averaged 4.6 points, 2.3 assists, and 4.0 rebounds.
"With three returning starters, we hope to be able to start the season strong," said Gagner. "Our players understand our system and should be able to give teams many different looks."
Others expected to see varsity action include Alissa Melberg, 5-7 senior center; Kelly Ritter, 5-8 senior forward; Kelsey Amundson, 5-6 senior forward; Mary Rentz, 5-9 junior center; Jenna Nelson, 5-9 junior guard; Nicole Gillespie, 5-9 junior center; Kelsey Greenwaldt, 5-9 junior center; and Erin Schieler, 5-9 sophomore center.
"We will have good depth and we will need each player to play her strengths and accept her role on the court," said Gagner.
Lost to graduation from last season's 10-14 team are Kelsey Draper (4.2 ppg/3.4 rpg), Rachel Strobel (6.8 ppg/4.0 rbg), and Britney Greenwaldt (3.0 ppg/2.3 rpg).
"We must improve our defense, rebounding, and ability to score easy baskets by pushing the ball up the floor," added Gagner.
Minnewaska Area and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City finished last season on top of the West Central Conference South and are the favorites going into the season. Gagner expects New London-Spicer, Minnewaska, Osakis, and West Central Area to be tough in Section 6AA. The NL-S Wildcats are ranked fourth in the state in Class AA.
Gagner's assistant coaches are Jim Greenwaldt and Michelle Stewart.