Journal covered girls basketball teams probably wanted a better 2018-2019. Only two of the seven (Kingsland, Houston) made Rochester and the section quarterfinals. Each lost. Only three of the seven finished above .500 (Kingsland, Houston, FC). Individuals did stand out, as two girls became their school’s all-time leading scorers and third went over 1,000 points. The Knights, Hurricanes, and Falcons return key assets this season. M-C, Lanesboro, Chatfield, and R-P will try to get to double-digit wins. The SEC realigns, as Kingsland moves to the West and Schaeffer Academy to the East. G-E is with A-C and not in the SEC. W-K doesn’t have a girls team in the TRC.
Houston enters the year amidst a renaissance. Dale Moga’s Hurricanes went 10-3 in the SEC, sharing the East crown with Kingsland. It was their second straight SEC-East title. They went 16-11 overall, making Rochester, but losing to Goodhue in the section quarters. The ‘Canes graduated just one senior, a great one, two-time All-SEC 1st Team pick, leading scorer (19.4 PPG) and rebounder (7.5 RPG), and the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,756), Alyssa Rostad. The four returning starters will have to pick up the slack. Second team All-SEC pick Emma Geiwitz (5’9” Jr. G) is the top returnee. Using her open court skills, she broke out last year (18.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 4.9 SPG). Becca Rostad (5’4” Jr. G > 9.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 1.5 APG), an All-SEC HM pick, Jenny Albrecht (5’11” Sr. C/F > 4.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.3 SPG, 2.3 APG), a fourth-year starter, and Casey Porter (5’8” Sr. F > 2.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG) round out the returning starters. Sydney Torgerson (5’9” Fr. > 6.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.6 SPG), last year’s sixth person, is another key asset. She had an impressive 8th grade year. From there, Priya Kingsley (5’6” Fr. G), Allison Papenfuss (5’7” Jr. G), and Amelia Torgerson (5’9” Jr. F) played around 20 games. Houston has its league schedule, including the Rochester SEC Showcase (vs GM). They play L-O twice (non-con at home). The ‘Canes have two in Eyota (D-E, Z-M) to start the year and the Decorah Border Battle (Turkey Valley). Other home non-con tilts are Cannon Falls, Hayfield, St. Charles, K-W, and FC. Away non-con games are R-P, La Crescent, L-A, and AC/G-E.
Fillmore Central posted a county-high for wins last year. The Falcons went 10-6 in the TRC, 17-9 overall. Levi Olstad’s group was the section’s five-seed, but got upset by Southland in the 1A Round of 16. FC graduated a pair of starters, All-TRC HM players Paige Donlinger and Madison Scheevel. They return three starters, a list headed by All-TRC picks, seniors Kandace Sikkink (5’8” F) and Emma Breitsprecher (5’10” G/F). Sikkink (12.9 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.6 SPG) is the squad’s leading returning scorer, a strong interior player (15.2 points and 10.7 rebounds over FC’s last 20 games). Breitsprecher (8.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.6 SPG) is a fourth-year player with excellent length and athleticism (the section’s pre-eminent hurdler in the spring). They are joined by FC’s third senior and returning starter, multi-tasker Kassidy Broadwater (5’6” G > 5.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, 4.1 SPG). From there, Ashlyn Simon (5’7” Jr. G), Maddie Krage (5’6” Jr. F), and Lauren Mensink (5’7” So. G) played in most games last season. Kelly Ristau (6’3” Jr. C) is the county’s tallest player. Seventeen of FC’s 26 games are either on the road or neutral site. In addition to their TRC schedule, they have the Decorah Border Battle (vs Decorah), the Rochester TRC/HVL Showdown (Z-M), and holiday games (M-C, at Kingsland). Other non-con games are Hayfield, Southland, Schaeffer, SG, Houston, GM, and Lanesboro all on the road, L/P at home.
Kingsland had a good season a year ago, going 10-3 in the SEC, 16-10 overall. The Knights shared the East title with Houston. Steve Hauser’s group made Rochester, but fell to Hayfield in a 1A quarterfinal. A trio of starters graduated, the biggest, leading scorer and rebounder (17.8 PPG, 10.4 RPG), the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,548), Lauren Buchholtz. This year’s Knights are junior and sophomore driven, devoid a rostered senior. They do have experience. A good bunch of underclassmen saw time last year. Ellie Buchholtz leads the cast. The 5’8” junior G was 2nd Team All-SEC (16.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.5 SPG). She’s scored more at this point than Lauren (1,000-points is doable this year). Also back is returning starter Shelby Beck (5’10” So F > 5.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.3 APG) and sixth person, All-SEC HM pick, Sam Wernimont (5’4” Jr. G > 6.6 PPG, 43 made threes). Merredith Farlinger (6’0” Jr. F/C > 2.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG) and Audrey Webster (5’4” So. G > 2.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG) are other returning full-timers. Emily Miner (5’9” So. F) and Anika Reiland (5’4” Fr. G) got time late last year. Alyssa Link (5’7” So. G) is back from injury. The Knights have their league schedule, which features the Rochester SEC Showcase (vs M-C). They play Lanesboro twice (non-con on the road to open the season). They have the Decorah Border Battle (Central Elkader) and holiday games (FC, at Southland). Other home non-con games are Goodhue, L-A, Hayfield, and Chatfield. Away non-cons are St. Charles, K-W, R-P, and BP. Seven of their last ten are on the road.
Chatfield begins the season with a youth movement. The Gophers will have just a sole senior, three juniors, and seven sophomores on varsity. A year ago, Brian Baum’s club went 3-13 in the TRC, 7-21 overall. They fell to Lake City in the 1AA Round of 16. Four seniors graduated including two starters. A couple more reserves last year aren’t out for b-ball. The sole senior is post Silja Erickson (5’9” F > 6.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG). The top returning scorer is sophomore Tessa McMahon (5’5” G > 7.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.0 SPG), who had a nice freshman year. Molly Henry (5’7” F/G > 6.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.2 SPG) is the top returning junior, giving Chatfield a 6 PPG player back from three classes. Paige Erickson (5’8” Jr. F > 3.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG) and Peyton Berg (5’5” So. F > 2.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG) also played every game. Chatfield has the Rochester TRC/HVL Showdown (Goodhue) and the WSU Tourney (PI, Lanesboro). In addition to their TRC schedule, they have home non-con games with Triton, BP, Lake City, Cannon Falls, Stewartville, and Z-M. Away non-con games are K-W, Kingsland, and Pine Island.
Mabel-Canton enters the year similar to recent memory. The Cougars have some athletes but lack size. M-C went 4-9 in the SEC last season, 8-20 overall. They fell to Hayfield in a 1A Round of 16 contest. Coach Adam Wilder graduated two starters while a third (would-be starter) is not out for b-ball. Payton Danielson (5’4” Sr. G > 11.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 3.6 SPG) is the top returnee. Entering her sixth year of varsity, she is near 1,300 career points and can become the Cougars all-time leading scorer. She led M-C in scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals last season. Lauren Wyffels (5’4” Jr. G > 7.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.0 SPG) and Jordyn Newgard (5’6” Jr. G/F > 3.8 PPG, 3.4 PRG, 1.1 APG, 1.2 SPG) are M-C’s two other top returnees. Camryn Cox (5’4” So. F) and MaKenzie Kelly (5’4” Fr. G) saw action in 20-plus games last year. Avery Davis (5’8” Sr. F > 3.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG in 2017-2018) returns from injury. The Cougars have their league schedule, including the Rochester SEC Showcase (vs Kingsland). They play extra non-can games with West teams L-O (away) and GM (home). M-C has the Decorah Border Battle (South Winn) and two Holiday games (at FC, Southland). Other home non-con games are Decorah, Medford, La Crescent, St Charles, R-P, and A-C/G-E. Away non-con games are Kee and L-A. They end with six home games.
Lanesboro will be the only county girls team to start the year with a new coach. Athletic Director Bret Klaehn takes over. He’s the Burros fourth coach in four years. Team orange and black went 2-11 in the SEC, 4-22 overall last year. They fell to Goodhue in a Section 1A Round of 16. Lanesboro lost a pair of starters including All-SEC HM pick Emily Snyder. Nine regulars return though, including senior starters Payton Benson (5’4” G > 8.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.4 SPG), Sophia Simes (5’6” G > 4.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG), and Alida Berg (5’5” G > 3.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG). Brielle Ruen (5’8” So. G > 3.5 PPG, 2.4 RPG) is the top scoring returning reserve, while Sophie Pieper (5’8” Sr. G/F), Sydney Taylor (5’9” Jr. F), Malia Tessum (5’4” So. G), Kaci Ruen (6’0” Fr. C), and Jessie Schreiber (5’11” Fr. F/C) played in all or most of last year’s games. The Burros have their league schedule, including the Rochester SEC Showcase (vs L/P). They play an extra non-con game with West foes Kingsland (home), L-O (away), and L/P (home). They have the Decorah Border Battle (Postville) and the WSU Tourney (Caledonia, Chatfield). Other away non-con games are Triton, Hayfield, St. Charles, and R-P. Home non-cons are Klawock City (AK), A-C/G-E, and FC.
The Trojans of Rushford-Peterson will look for a new start this season. R-P went 1-15 in the TRC, 6-22 overall. They lost to GM in a 1A Round of 16 game. Seven seniors graduated including All-TRC pick, leading scorer (18.6 PPG) Abbey Hoegh, and All-TRC HM selection Megan Oian. In Head Coach Jake Dahl’s second season, the Trojans will have a lot of minutes open. Ellie Dahl (5’9” Sr. F), Alayna Helgemoe (5’5” Jr. G), and Kaylee Ruberg (5’9” Fr. F) are three returning full-timers. None averaged over 3.0 PPG. Avalon Jacobson (5’5” F) and Jimmi Ritter (5’6” G) round out a three-gal senior class, R-P’s five total returnees. Everyone else will be new to varsity. In addition to their TRC schedule, the Trojans have the Rochester TRC/HVL Showdown (vs Pine Island) and the Decorah Border Battle (Decorah). They have home non-con games with Houston, Kingsland, and Lanesboro. Away non-con games are Schaeffer, SG, Cannon Falls, and M-C. County foes Kingsland, FC, M-C, and Lanesboro are over a five-game span late in the season.
*All stats based of team and Paul Trende calculation, subject to discrepancy.