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Girls basketball: Trojans to stay with their bread-and-butter style

BY AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- While the faces and names may be a little different this year, much will be the same for the Worthington girls basketball team. The Trojans have just one returning senior on the team, and a handful of retur...

Trojans Girls Basketball letterwinners web.jpg
Returning letter winners for the Worthington Trojans girls basketball team include (from left) Stephie Bauman, Madisyn Huisman, Evelyn Othow Payton Sauerbrei. Not shown is Sophie Wietzema. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

BY AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- While the faces and names may be a little different this year, much will be the same for the Worthington girls basketball team.

The Trojans have just one returning senior on the team, and a handful of returning letter winners.

But as has become the norm for long-time head coach Eric Lindner, WHS will once again utilize an up-tempo, high-pressure style.

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“We lost some pretty good players and we had some coming back,” Lindner said. “Luckily, they’ve maintained their skills and gotten a little bit better, so that’s helped.”

After senior Evelyn Othow, juniors Payton Sauerbrei and Madisyn Huisman will be counted on heavily. Sophomores Sophie Wietzema and Stephie Bauman return as letter winners and will make bigger contributions this season.

Lindner is also looking for Maya Scheitel-Taylor, Olivia Hayenga and Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor to play key roles this season.   

“We have different kids who can do different things and also it seems to be a real tight-knit team,” Lindner said. “Practices have been going really well as far as dealing with the teamwork aspect. They are really an unselfish group.”

While a few of the key scorer’s from last year’s team are now gone, Lindner sees this year’s team being more balanced offensively.

“The thing that you find when you lose players is some of those kids had those skills to score and do a lot of those things before, but always conceded to what they thought was the more gifted player,” he said. “They have a tendency to give the ball up to that player because they are expected to do all the scoring. Whereas now that it kind of lies on them and it’s more of a team thing. When you talk about taking things away, that’s going to be tough because all of those kids are capable of scoring.”

In a recent scrimmage, Lindner said that balance was evident.

“In the scrimmage, I was thinking where are we going to get the scoring,” Lindner said. “We didn’t have any problem scoring the basketball. With Evelyn and Payton and Maya and Hayenga and Stephie, they can all hit the 3. We got a lot of buckets off our pressure. It’s going to be a team of getting after it for two halves trying to cause a lot of turnovers and transitioning those into easy baskets.”

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One area that will be different this year is a lack of inside players, which could create rebounding issues.

“When you look at this team, it always seemed like we had some bigger kids,” Lindner said. “But now we have more perimeter-oriented kids. Most of the time we’re going to try to use our quickness and do a lot of things off motion.”

Worthington opens its season Tuesday at Spirit Lake, Iowa. And with a grueling schedule on tap this winter, Lindner knows his team will be tested each night.

“There’s no nights off, that’s for sure,” he said. “That’s what we kind of always told our kids, if you play a tough schedule, you’re going to get better. You might get beat up a little bit along the way, but you’re definitely going to get better. When you look at our team with one senior that’s played and two on the team, we have a young team. Playing the better competition is definitely going to make us better this year and will make us better in the future.”

Trojans Girls Basketball 2 web.jpg
Worthington Trojans Senior Stephie Bauman drives for a layup during a practice drill. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

Related Topics: GIRLS BASKETBALL
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