Posted 12/14/11 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
While the Watford City girls basketball team opened its season last Monday at the Killdeer Roughrider Tournament, the Wolves will be opening its home season on Tuesday, Dec. 20, with a new head coach and a lot of new players.
“Graduation really hit us hard as we lost six seniors from a very successful team,” states John Zenz, who is taking over the helm as the girls head coach.
Last year, the Wolves took first place in the District 15 and Region 8 Tournaments and finished the season with an eighth place finish at the State Class B Tournament.
“We have to replace a very good group of senior girls from last year’s team,” states Zenz. “The girls are really going to have to step up into some new roles this year.”
Zenz only has one starter, junior McKayla Haugeberg, returning from last year’s team. Haugeberg, along with the return of senior Brianna Allex and junior Sadie Kieson, both of whom saw a lot of playing time last season, will provide the nucleus of Zenz’s team.
Also competing for varsity minutes will be senior Charlie Hystad, junior Madison Brown, and sophomores Amanda Mogen and Fallon Fladeland.
“These girls played a lot of junior varsity minutes for us last year, and we are hoping that they can take the next step up to the varsity level,” states Zenz.
Making their debut on the varsity squad are senior Taylor Sparby and junior Tasha Bailey, as is eighth grader Katie Mogen.
“We are hoping to play an up-tempo game with McKayla and Brianna being able to push the ball for us,” states Zenz. “We have good depth at the posts and are hoping to get some consistent play down low.”
While Zenz acknowledges that his team is going to be a little short on experience and will be lacking somewhat for outside shooting, he predicts that the Wolves will be in the thick of things when it comes to tournament time.
“The pre-season favorites in our district are Stanley and New Town, and Divide County is a Region 8 top pick,” says Zenz. “But as we improve throughout the season, I feel that we can be in the district and region race.”