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Lady Panthers Look to Continue Success

By Staff | Nov 20, 2015

Returning Seniors Lauren Kraft, Ashley Schmaltz and Shea Heidlebaugh will lead this year's Panther squad.

Another year, another Rugby Girl’s Basketball season has started headed by eighth-year coach Jennifer Brossart.

Through the first couple days of practice, Brossart is seeing a large number of athletic girls at practice, many looking to continue the success they already experienced in recent months in volleyball and cross-country. One of the surprises, as practice opened up, is the number of girls participating this year. “I’m very happy in the amount of kids we have out this year. We have 17 kids who came out that are in grades 9th through 12th”, said Coach Brossart

“These girls are ready to play,” Brossart said. “They’re a hardworking group, they’re intense, they’re getting after it and hopefully it continues.” Shortly after Thanksgiving they will be looking at bringing some of the 7th and 8th graders up from the C squad for the rest of the year. Brossart said, “I really like the group of girls we have coming out. It is a nice group who have had success this year already in other sports.” They are looking for that same kind of success on the basketball court.

Coach Brossart said about the outlook for this year, “I expect us to make a run, we lost four seniors from last year’s crew that saw a lot of play time. It might take awhile for some of these girls to get used to the increased minutes and get into a rotation. But all and all we have three great seniors that played a lot last year and I expect them to play another big role this year with on-court leadership.” The three seniors are Lauren Kraft, Shea Heidlebaugh and Ashley Schmaltz, who also anchored the volleyball team this year.

In addition to the three seniors Brossart is encouraged by “a nice group of underclassmen” that will contribute heavily this year.

“We have Breanna Thompson, who is a junior this year. She is 6’2″ that is returning and she is coming off a great end of the year. Breanna lead us in blocks with over 60 blocks and average 8 points a game, she was really critical in some of our games.”

Another underclassman Brossart will depend on is cross country star Tristin Lunde. “Tristin will be looking to step up filling in an important role for us as a rebounder and defender she will also be playing a little post even though she is only 5’8″.”

About the lack of size Coach Brossart said, “We don’t have a lot of height this year so we are going to have to depend on speed. We should be pretty active in the post.”

Another athlete Brossart will be looking to for valuable minutes is Madison Uhlenkamp, a sophomore who was lost last year with an ACL injury. “A lot of girls put a lot of time and energy into the off season. I’m really looking forward to a good effort from all these girls this year,” said Brossart.

Kraft shared this about the upcoming season, “I expect us to do pretty well in the regular season, then districts and hopefully when it comes to regional’s we will know what to do and have fun with it.”

Schmaltz said, “I’m expecting a lot of the younger girls to step up. I saw them over the summer and a lot of them put in a lot of hours at the gym and a lot of hard work. I’m expecting to see that pay off during the season this year”

Heidlebaugh commented, “I’m expecting it to be like any other year, we worked our butts off these first couple of weeks and it will all come together; I am sure of that.” She continued, ” The first couple of weeks of practice are terribly and everyone hates it but it will be worth it in the long run. We will do what we always do with this program work, then work harder and hopefully that will payoff and get us t the next level.”

After a 24-4 record last year and being the runner-up at the Regional 6 tournament to Bishop-Ryan; this year’s team is hungry for success. With these seniors, their underclassmen and this talented, driven coach, you have to believe that success is imminent.

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