Hopes are high with start of new season
By Neal A. Shipman
After finishing last season with a 20-6 record, and claiming the District 15 and Region 8 crowns and an eighth place finish at the State Class B Tournament, John Zenz, head coach of the Wolves girls basketball team, is looking forward to what this year brings.
And Zenz has every reason to be looking forward to another successful season. He has a solid core of returning players from last year’s roster, and his Wolves are a preseason pick to be one of the top teams in the Region.
“We have a solid group of girls this year who are very good athletes,” states Zenz. “And their quickness is going to fit very well into the style of basketball that we like to play - which is high tempo with lots of trapping on defense.”
Leading returners for Zenz are Katie Mogen, a 5’9” junior center; Kara Langerud, a 5’5” senior guard; and Ricki Lindley, a 5’6” junior forward.
Mogen, who was an All-State player last season, averaged 17.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game last year, while having 70 steals, 44 assists and 20 blocked shots.
Langerud averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game last year, while having 52 steals and 107 assists.
Lindley averaged 10.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, while having 72 assists.
“We lost some of our post depth from last season,” states Zenz. “But we have some players that could step up and help us as the season develops.”
Three of those players that Zenz is hoping to help make an impact are Leah Arndt, a 5’5” junior forward; April Spruell, a 5’5” senior guard; and Mackenzie Sparby, a 5’10” sophomore center.
“All three of those players saw varsity playing time last season,” states Zenz. “And they will be fitting into our rotation throughout the season.”
Part of Zenz’s challenge this season is whether he wants a taller or shorter team on the court.
“We will be a much better pressing team defensively with a smaller lineup,” states Zenz. “But we will be able to add size to our lineup when we want to be in a half court defense.”
And having that combination of quickness and size is what Zenz is hoping will see his Wolves making a return trip to the State Tournament.
Watford City and Parshall are the preseason picks to win District 15 and Region 8. But Zenz knows that a lot can happen between the start of the season and tournament time.
“We’ve got a very competitive schedule this season,” states Zenz. “We’ve added Minot Ryan to our schedule, and they will be a very tough opponent. But in order to get better as a team, you’ve got to play good opponents.”
Rounding out Zenz’s varsity squad is Tarynn Jacobson, a 5’3” senior guard; Alyssa Prichard, a 5’9” senior center; Krystal Wold, a 5’8” junior forward; Alli Mogen, a 5’7” junior forward; ReiAnn Lindley, a 5’6” sophomore forward; Mikka Haugeberg, a 5’5” freshman guard; and Avery Sundeen, a 5’5” freshman guard.
This weekend, the Wolves will be competing in the Roughrider Tournament in Killdeer. Watford City’s first game will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 9, when they take on the Heart River Cougars.