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7 letterwinners return to WP girls basketball team PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 02 December 2010 19:35

By Josh Sumner

The Wauneta Breeze


Focus on keeping a high level of intensity will be his team’s number one priority this season, said Broncos girls basketball Head Coach Roger Lauhead, who enters his 20th straight year at the helm at WP.

For the first time in 19 years, the Bronco girls team is coming off a losing season in which it went 10-11.

“Most of our losses were due to the fact that we went dead and didn’t respond,” said Lauhead. “Hopefully we don’t have prolonged periods of time where we don’t score while giving them easy shots.”

Lauhead said his team’s initiative this season is to make sure that his players develop the instinct to keep their foot on the gas pedal down the stretch in ball games.

Don’t be surprised to see this batch of Broncos bounce back.

Lauhead knows what it takes to build a winning team, having coached WP to a state championship in 1997 and making the state tournament on nine occasions. His teams have averaged nearly 17 wins per season in his tenure, and last season the veteran coach picked up his 300th win.

Joined by assistant coach Kathryn Pruter, Lauhead is busy implementing a new strategy into his game plan this season. Expect the Broncos to play more man-to-man defense than in years past, said Lauhead.

“Man defense will help us keep the intensity up,” said Lauhead. The Broncos used the scheme against Class C1 Ogallala last weekend and ended up winning the exhibition. “I was pleased by the low number of turnovers. They kept concentration throughout the game and won 45-42.”

Lauhead said he thinks this year’s team will have the ability to play in multiple gears — the girls will play in transition when needed and they’ll slow it down in the half-court when they look for their shot.

“We’ll look to run whenever we can, but if we’re committing too many turnovers, we’ll take time and get the shot we need,” said Lauhead.

The 2010-11 Wauneta-Palisade Bronco girls basketball team hopes to bounce back from its first losing season in almost 20 years. Seven returning letterwinners include, front row from left, Shelby Hamilton and Bethany Riener. Seated at middle, Renae Gardner, Jenae Bischoff and Sheyla Christner. Standing in back row, Rebecca Strand and Laura Rundback. (Josh Sumner | The Wauneta Breeze)


Seven letterwinners back in the mix

This year’s Wau-Pal girls basketball team boasts a mix of experienced veterans and talented underclassmen that should give them the depth to endure a playoff run.

Senior Bethany Riener will be called upon to do a lot this year on the offensive side, said Lauhead. Riener averaged 12.4 points per game and was selected to the All-RPAC second team last season.

“Bethany is a good ball-handler who is capable of playing point guard,” said Lauhead. “She’ll be asked to play the 2 more often this year because we’ll need her to shoot more often.”

Seniors Jenae Bischoff, Shelby Hamilton, Laura Rundback and Rebecca Strand join Riener.

Bischoff was the team’s third-leading scorer last year, averaging 6.3 points per game, and third-leading rebounder with 91 for the season. “Jenae is an experienced player who brings hard defense and good shooting to the table,” said Lauhead.

Unfortunately for the Broncos, they’ll start the season with Hamilton on the sideline. Hamilton sustained an injury playing volleyball that could force her to miss much of the basketball season. Her 3.6 points per game will be missed.

Rundback will be asked to provide more minutes at guard this season while helping to fill the gap left by Hamilton. Meanwhile, Strand — the team’s fourth-leading rebounder last year — will be relied upon for her ability to clean the glass.

Junior letterwinners Sheyla Christner and Renae Gardner will play big roles this year, too, said Lauhead. Christner averaged 1.7 points per game last season, while Gardner contributed 2.3 per contest. “Renae is a good shooter and rebounder,” said Lauhead. “She should help in the post this season. Sheyla is a good all-around player who can play two or three positions and always brings intensity.”

Joining Christner and Gardner are fellow juniors Kassandra Carl and Jonee Maris. Sophomore Emma Skelton and freshmen Abbie Fanning, Tailor Lee, Brooklyn Nordhausen and Cassidy Rathe round out this year’s 14-player roster.

Lauhead said his young players are doing a good job of pushing the older players in practice this year, which is just one more reason to expect elevated intensity from the Broncos this season.


Change in class doesn’t change much

Similar to boys basketball Head Coach Dave Kuhlen, Lauhead said he doesn’t think his team’s transition from D1 competition to D2 will make much difference.

“Several teams who were D1 last year dropped to D2, which levels the playing field,” said Lauhead. “Our schedule is mostly the same with the exception of districts, but our district looks pretty tough. Just about everybody we play has experienced coaches and players. Nobody’s weak.”


Season tips off tomorrow in Palisade

The Broncos officially open the 2010-11 season tomorrow (Friday) evening as they play the inaugural basketball games on the newly floored Palisade gymnasium. WP will try to avenge last year’s sub-district loss to Brady when they host the Eagles, who went 13-9 last season.

Girls jayvee action starts the evening with a 3 p.m. MT/4 p.m. CT tip-off. Jayvee boys, varsity girls and varsity boys games will follow.

Check page 8 of this week’s issue for a full 2010-11 boys and girls basketball schedule.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 December 2010 19:36