Preview: Girls basketball team aiming for a more successful seasonThis year’s girls basketball team at Hastings High School doesn’t exactly have a lot depth. There is some talent throughout the team, but that lack of depth means the Raiders will need to stay healthy in order to compete this season.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
This year’s girls basketball team at Hastings High School doesn’t exactly have a lot depth. There is some talent throughout the team, but that lack of depth means the Raiders will need to stay healthy in order to compete this season.
That said, the 2012-13 campaign is off to a bit of a rocky start, as one of the team’s top players (Jill Weinzettel) is out with an injury for four to five weeks.
“We’re a little behind the eight-ball there already,” coach Mike Harp said. “Staying healthy will be a big key for us.”
While Hastings isn’t exactly healthy right now, Harp is still optimistic. He’s banking on Hastings’ snapping its losing streak in the Suburban East Conference.
“We want to be more competitive in the SEC,” Harp said. “We’ll get some wins there. It will all depend on when we get Jill back and how healthy she will be. She’s our tallest player, and she gives us that inside/outside game. But our goal is to win seven or eight games. That’s a real possibility this year, depending on how fast we get Jill back.”
Last season, Harp introduced a new offense. This season, the players know what to expect from that structure.
“We’re much more prepared this year,” he said. “Our offense isn’t new this year. We’ve had a year and a summer to get used to it. Our goal is to improve every game and get better every game. If we do that, the wins will take care of themselves.
“We’re optimistic that we’ll be a much better team than we were last year.”
Captains for the Raiders this year are Lauren Thomas and Nicole Hollar.
“Both of them will do great jobs as captains,” Harp said. “They both work hard and are always positive.”
Thomas is 5-10 and will play inside. She is a junior.
“She’s a great kid,” Harp said. “She’s been playing basketball for a long time. She’s been up through the traveling program. She loves the game and really works hard at it. She’s really improved over the last few years.”
Hollar, meanwhile, is a 5-8 guard who has great speed and athletic ability.
“She is very quick, and very athletic,” Harp said. “She does a great job for us, especially defensively. We’ll look for her to have more of an offensive role this year. We’ll be looking for her to step up her offensive game a little bit.
Hastings has four seniors on the roster.
They are Morgan Tjomsland, Hanah Martin, Hollar, Thomas and Ashley Bayne.
“It’s a great senior class,” Harp said. “They’ve worked really hard and they’re a lot of fun to coach. I am hoping they have a lot of success this year. They’ve worked really hard for a long time. I’ll be sad to see them leave, but I hope we can get some success this year to send them off on the right foot.”
Two returning starters from last year’s team are Hanna Norman and Weinzettel. They both started as freshmen and are back for their sophomore seasons.
“We’ll be expecting big things from them as sophomores,” Harp said. “We think they’ll be some of our top scorers and rebounders, and some of our main ballhandlers.”
Juniors on the team are Grace Daggett, Lexie Stoker, Anna Connell, Kayla Denault, Jenny Schutt and Teresa Childs. Sophomore Paige Ahrens rounds out the lineup.
Harp said the SEC will be strong this season, but he expects Roseville will be at the top of the standings. White Bear Lake will be close behind.
Mounds View and Forest Lake will be right there with them.
“I expect Roseville to be the dominant team this year,” he said. “White Bear Lake comes back strong. The whole SEC is pretty dang good when it comes to girls basketball.”