A look at LaCrosse Girls Basketball
Coach: Chris McGowen, first year
Last year: 14-10 (5-2 Porter County Conference), lost Class A sectional opener to Oregon-Davis.
Key losses: Justene Charlesworth (15.7 ppg., 4.8 rpg., 3.2 apg., 1.3 spg. 37% 3-pt. FG), Dana Wherrett (1.8 ppg., 2.5 rpg., 1.8 apg.), Erin O’Connor (6.5 ppg., 3.9 rpg.), Allison McCormick (8.2 ppg., 6.3 rpg., 1.5 spg., 1.5 bpg.).
Key returning players: Mya Morrow (3.2 ppg., 3.5 rpg., 3.3 apg., 1.2 spg.), Claire Garwood (9.6 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 1.4 apg., 1.3 bpg.), Katie Bell (7.8 ppg., 5.1 rpg.), Madi Heavilin (2.4 ppg., 2.9 rpg., 2.6 apg.).
Key newcomers: Taylor Kleine, Sami Vance, Kaylee Welkie, Jersie Bartels.
Outlook: Despite losing 1,000-point scorer Justene Charlesworth, the school’s career leader, and three other players to graduation, LaCrosse has its sights set high this campaign. The Tigers have lost to Morgan Township the last two seasons for the coveted Porter County Conference tournament title. They’re looking to earn that final victory in the PCC tourney this time, and hope to hoist the sectional trophy. “We finally want to get over that hump,” McGowen said. “It’s one of those things where right now the girls, they got to know me a little bit last year, being the JV coach, but it wasn’t my team. I couldn’t really put my handprint on things. But now, we’re coming to an understanding of how I want things done. Pay attention to detail, little things add up to big things. Once you start doing the little things right, the big things are going to happen.” While he’s detail oriented, McGowen knows replacing Charlesworth will be a collective job. “You’re never going to replace a Justene Charlesworth,” he said. “So it’s going to be a group effort, it’s going to be collaborative. Everybody step up. Everybody do what they’re asked to do and do it to the best of their ability, and good things are going to happen.” In the starting five, there won’t be any player shorter than 5-foot-9. “Our goal is to win the PCC, win the PCC tournament, win the sectional,” McGowen said. “That’s year in and year out, that’s what we expect to do, and that’s what we want to do. These girls have the capability, it’s just whether or not they’re going to put it all together.”
-- compiled by Zack Eldridge