24 March 2014

Girls B-Ball: A major improvement

Sofia Chadwick Most Outstanding Player and All-Missota Conference (photo by Jim Lindquist)
After a two-win season in 2013, the Tigers were looking for a step forward in 2014.  What they got was  a 500 percent improvement with a 10-16 overall record, including a 4-12 finish in the rugged Missota Conference.

"The girls have a lot to be proud of," coach Sondra Chadwick said. "The improvement they showed since last season was incredible. We had a very tough schedule again this season, and our conference was as strong as ever. 

"I felt we had kids who really worked on their skills during the off-season and that paid off this year, as we had six different players as high scorers in games and we were able to play a deeper bench than we had in the past. The girls were very supportive of one another and that showed in their level of trust and cohesiveness on the court.  

"I've never had a team that worked as hard as these girls did every day in practice. They were a focused group that was competitive with one another and committed to the team's goals."

Because Chadwick considered this season's reversal of fortune such a team effort, all 18 members on the varsity roster, half of them upperclassmen, were awarded varsity letters: senior Aly Grebner and juniors Sofia Chadwick, Alicia Hett, Abby Gallus, Kaitlyn Gorden, Jordyn Homeier, Leah Hammond and Sydney Speer.

Underclassmen letterwinners included sophomores Morgan Mach, Heidi Lambrecht, McKenna Mayer, Pieper Walton, Emily Hazelbaker and Madalyn Allison and freshmen Kamryn Corraro, Ali Saby and Ashley Steffes.

Sofia Chadwick, who led the team in scoring with a 16 points-per-game average and passed the 1000-point career mark, was selected the team's most outstanding player and also landed a spot on the all-Missota Conference squad. Hett received all-league honorable mention and won the team's Hustle Award.

Homeier was tabbed as "Most Improved" and Chadwick, Gallus, Grebner and Hett shared the Tiger Leadership Award.

Alicia Hett all-Missota honorable mention and Hustle Award Winner (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Coach Chadwick pointed to  a win over state-ranked New Prague and solid victories over Holy Angels, Apple Valley, Rochester John Marshall, Rochester Century and Princeton and a 5-1 run by the three high school teams at the Monticello Holiday Tournament as two key moments from the 2013-14 season.

"We had a letdown in the second half of the conference season when injuries and illness gave us a short bench," she said.

With a junior varsity that improved throughout the season and a ninth grade team that consisted mostly of eighth graders posting a 22-1 record, Chadwick feels the best is yet to come for her program.

"This group of girls has not yet reached its peak in terms of potential," she said. "I anticipate that with a strong core group of kids returning - our top scorers, top rebounders and top defenders - we will be competitive as we move into the South Suburban Conference.

"The South Suburban is a grind of a conference with some of the toughest players in the state. We will need to increase our strength in order to compete in such a physical conference...I expect that we'll continue our growth into a very strong program." 

Before completely putting the 2013-14 season in the rear view mirror, Chadwick said 
she wanted to pay a special tribute to the team's only senior, captain Grebner.

"Aly has been a contributor in this program since ninth grade and has a love for the game that I have not seen in any other player I've coached," she said  "I've had the opportunity to watch her grow as a leader on this team over the years.

"She took her role as captain seriously and demonstrated good choices both on and off the court, She was a model student-athlete. Aly is someone that the girls looked up to, and we enjoyed coaching her. We will miss her greatly."