Capitol North girls basketball teams figure to chase favorites Lodi, Lakeside Lutheran
GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW
CAPITOL NORTH CONFERENCE
Watertown Luther Prep;4-6; 11-11
Top WIAA tournament performances: Lakeside Lutheran — Lost to Marshall, 61-39, in D3 sectional semifinal; Lodi — Lost to Marshall, 56-47, in D3 regional final.
RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
First team: Alana Gilles, 5-10, sr., Lodi (player of the year); Kaitlyn Shadoski, 5-10, sr., Lakeside Lutheran; Hanna Walters, 5-6, sr., Poynette.
Second team: Jaden Kolinski, 5-10, so., Lodi; Julianna Wagner, 5-4, so., Lake Mills; Lauryn Milne, 5-9, so., Lodi.
Honorable mention: Rhianna Walzer, 5-8, sr., Lodi; Jalynn Morter, 5-4, so., Poynette; Jade Pitta, 5-8, so., Lake Mills.
1, Lodi; 2. Lakeside Lutheran; 3, Poynette and Lake Mills.
Coach: Tim Dworak, seventh year (60-85).
Returning starters: Jordan Link, 5-8, so., G, 5.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.2 apg.
Other returning letterwinners: Molly Kahl, 5-8, so., G, 4.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1 apg; Savannah Olson, 5-5, sr., G, 1.8 ppg, 2 rpg, 1.3 apg.
Key fact: The Cardinals’ varsity roster only contains two seniors and more than half of the players are underclassmen.
The lowdown: Depending on how this young team develops, Dworak believes Columbus will “compete for the middle of the pack in our conference race this year.” Sophomores Link and Kahl and senior Savannah Olson will provide great basketball IQ and leadership for the Cardinals.
Quotable: “The players have to learn our systems and play as a team this year to be able to accomplish our goals,” Dworak said.
Lake Mills L-Cats
Coach: Brandon Siska, second year (5-17 overall).
Returning starters: Julianna Wagner, 5-4, so., PG, 9.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.6 steals per game; Jade Pitta, 5-8, so., F/G, 9 ppg, 3.9 rpg; Taylor Roughen, 5-6, so., 7.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg; Hannah Lamke, 5-7, so., F/G, 2.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg.
Other returners include: Vivian Guerrero, 6-1, so., C.
Key fact: The L-Cats, who started five freshmen last year and ended a 13-game conference losing streak, have seven letterwinners returning. They rely on freshmen and sophomores.
The lowdown: Sophomore point guard Wagner leads to the way for the L-Cats, who plan to start four sophomores and a freshman and have two sophomores and a freshman come off the bench. Sophomore center Kayla Will, who started as a freshman, likely will miss the season due to injury, Siska said. Freshman forward McClain Mahone, who’s 5-10, could contribute.
Quotable: “We will be drastically improved from last year,” Siska said. “Although we are still very young, we expect to compete at the top of the conference.”
Lakeside Lutheran Warriors
Coach: Tim Matthies, 20th year (353-122)
Returning starters: Kaitlyn Shadoski, 5-10, sr., G, 9.8 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 apg, 1.4 spg; Lauren Thiele, 5-10, jr., F, 5.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.1 spg.
Other returners include: Morgan Slonaker, 5-7, so., G, 2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.6 apg; Hannah Willems, 5-10, sr., F, 0.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg; Maggie Cody, 5-9, sr., G, 4.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg; Abby Buxa, 5-11, sr., F, 1.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg.
Key fact: Lakeside Lutheran has won outright or shared the past five conference crowns and will challenge favorite Lodi for the top spot this season.
The lowdown: Lakeside Lutheran lost five letterwinners but has five returning this season. The Warriors’ young roster will be led by first-team all-conference senior guard Kaitlyn Shadoski. Junior forward Lauren Thiele and senior guard Maggie Cody should provide some balanced scoring for the Warriors, who figure to contend despite some roster turnover from last year.
Quotable: “Overall, we will have more youth and be less experienced but have a group that will give maximum effort and should prove to be both gritty and competitive,” Matthies said.
Lodi Blue Devils
Coach: Michelle Puls, seventh year (81-68).
Returning starters: Alana Gilles, 5-10, sr., P/G, 17.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg; Lauryn Milne, 5-9, so., G, 10.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg; Jaden Kolinski, 5-10, so., G/P, 10.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg; Rhianna Walzer, 5-8, sr., G, 5.8 ppg, 3.7 apg, 2 spg.
Other returners include: Olivia Wendt, 5-9, sr., G, 2.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 apg; Kaelyn Kruchten, 5-10, sr., P, 1.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg; Taylor Ripp, 5-8, so., P, 1.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, Morgan McNeill, 5-9, jr., P, 0.2 ppg, 0.8 rpg.
Key fact: Gilles was named Player of the Year in the Capitol North last season.
The lowdown: The Blue Devils return four starters from last year’s squad with reigning Capitol North Player of the Year, Gilles, at the helm. Lodi will contend for a conference championship behind discipline on offense and tough-mindedness on defense. Seniors Olivia Wendt and Kaelyn Kruchten will continue to be role players and add quality minutes off the bench.
Quotable: “We have very strong senior leadership and experience,” Puls said.
Coach: Steve Maselter, first year (0-0).
Returning starters: Jalynn Morter, 5-4, so., G, 10.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.6 spg; Hanna Walters, 5-6, sr., G, 10.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 3.o spg; Molly Anderson, 5-9, jr., F, 3.9 rpg, 1.1 apg.
Other returners include: Haley Walters, 5-5, sr., G, 3.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.7 apg; Katelyn Chadwick, 5-9, so., G, 3.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.0 apg; Megan Reddeman, 5-9, so., F, 2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.6 apg.
Key fact: Maselter, a former assistant at Sun Prairie and Madison East, takes over for Randy Hamilton as the Pumas’ coach.
The lowdown: The Pumas will be led by the quick and competitive Walters, coming off a strong junior season, and Morter, coming off a strong freshman year. “(Morter) is a threat to score from behind the arc and gets to the basket as well,” Maselter said. Maselter said the Pumas have a mix of experience and young players, which means he expects his team “to be a tough team to contend with” while also room for growth. Ashlynn Kosky, a 6-2 player who averaged 12.7 points and 10.2 rebounds last year, decided not to come out for her junior season, Maselter said.
Quotable: “We have to bring energy and enthusiasm night in and night out to reach our potential,” Maselter said.
Watertown Luther Prep Phoenix
Coach: Mark Schroeder, first year (0-0)
Returning starters: Carly Hirsch, 6-1, sr. F, 6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg; Abbie Burke, 6-0, sr., F, 4.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg.
Other returners include: Ally Goba, 5-3, sr., G, 3.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.8 apg, 1.3 spg; Rhianna Hunter, 5-9, sr., F, 1.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg; Sarah Thede, 5-6, sr., G, 1.5 ppg, 0.4 rpg;
Key fact: Schroeder was Watertown Luther Prep’s girls junior varsity coach for the past four years. Randy Mensching had been coach.
The lowdown: The Phoenix lost four of their top five scorers from last year and new coach Schroeder believes his team will be rebuilding. Point guard Goba is expected to run the attack, with Hirsch and Burke figuring to be inside threats. Luther Prep also could get contributions from 6-0 freshman forward Grace Schmidt.
Quotable: “We are young and inexperienced,” Schroeder said. “We have a hard-working group that pushes each other but also supports one another.”
-- State Journal staff, Jon Masson