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Open field for District 11 girls

By Staff | Nov 29, 2013

File Photo Rugby’s Shea Heidlebaugh drives the baseline against Velva defenders during a game between the two teams on Feb. 12 in Rugby.

Girls high school basketball practice begins Monday and area teams are eyeing an interesting season with a solid mix of teams in the upper half of District 11.

Coaches from Rugby and TGU listed their teams in a group with Velva and Dunseith as preseason favorites.

“To be honest, this is as tight a district we’ve had in quite some time,” Rugby coach Jen Brossart said. “It could really come down to four or five teams.”

TGU coach Malcolm Marcus said: “I don’t think anybody is head and shoulders above the rest. I think Velva, last year, they were better than anyone else. I think this year it will be more competitive for that top spot.”?The Titans return all-region selections Mattie Schmitt and McKenna Thompson, and Rugby will be led by Darby Deckert and Shea Heidlebaugh. The Aggies are the reigning champions in the district.

“Velva lost a lot of their key players to graduation, but with Velva they have such a strong tradition of defense,” Brossart said. “Full court, in your face for 90 feet that carries over. It’s their tenacity on defense that can lead to a lot of breakaway points.”

Brossart’s team doesn’t enter the year with a clear-cut scorer, but she hopes it works to the Panthers’ advantage.

“It’s gonna be tough to say ‘We’ll just guard that person,’ ” Brossart said. “We definitely have some depth that we haven’t had in the past. We’ll be quicker than we have been and be able to keep up with the full-court style of play. One area we will struggle with is the post. We do have some height coming up, but they’re freshmen.”

Both coaches interviewed agreed the region isn’t as open. Defending state champion Bishop Ryan is the clear favorite, but after two dominant years fewer teams are going to as intimidated by the tall Lions.

The Panthers open their season Dec. 13 against Langdon Area.

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