Girls Basketball: A Big Start To The Season

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ocused defense by Senior Mimi Schrader in the 21 point victory over Moorhead. Photo by Kelsey Deering.

Sam Lavely, Sports Editor

  Following last year’s disappointing loss in the section semifinals last year, girls basketball has started impressively this season, with an 8-0 start and an average margin of victory of 26.63 points. This year’s team is stacked with forwards, including sophomore Jenna Johnson, junior Annika Stewart and senior Kallie Theisen. This big three leads the team in scoring with 16.9, 15.0 and 12.6 points per game respectively.
  Head coach Mike Schumacher said that the forwards are “feeding each other very well.” Johnson had seven assists in the Trojans’ win on December 11. The ability to run a high-low post setup with passing bigs opens up more scoring inside. The offense is constantly shifting while simultaneously ready to feed the ball for an easy layup or kick out the ball for an outside shot. With three forwards in the starting lineup, senior point guard Mimi Schrader said that her job as floor general has not changed much from the past several years. “It’s all pretty much the same for me… I just need to know when to feed the post or make a reversal,” said Schrader.
  Schrader’s feeding in the post has been very effective as Stewart, Johnson and Theisen are all averaging over twelve points per game. Theisen just passed 1,000 points in her high school career on December 11 against Moorhead. Theisen scored 18 points in the game.
  According to Schrader, the large lineup allows for several defensive shifts throughout the game. “We can switch from man to a 2-3 zone to a 1-3-1 at any time because we know we can protect the inside,” said Schrader. Changing defensive setups in the midst of a game can be very challenging for opponents to deal with, as the opposing offense must always be adjusting their play style to the defense. “We try to use our size effectively on both offense and defense,” said Schumacher.
  Wayzata will need to use every advantage they have this year against their familiar rivals, the Hopkins Royals. Hopkins and Wayzata are ranked first and second in the state respectively. “They are very very good,” said Schumacher, “a quality program with high quality players.”
  One of these high-quality players is Junior Paige Bueckers. Bueckers, currently averaging 25.75 points per game, was named Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year as a sophomore, a member of Team USA U16 and U17 Junior Olympics team, and is currently ranked as the top player in the nation for the class of 2020. “She’s had so many accolades it’s hard to keep track,” said Schumacher. “She’s our focus defensively whenever we play Hopkins, but we can’t sell out to stop one player.” Schrader, the Trojan tasked with guarding Bueckers, said that “[the team] just needs to switch it up on them constantly.” Changing defensive looks will force Bueckers and the Royals to constantly adjust and mess with the flow of their offense. The tall lineup of the Trojans gives Wayzata an edge for much of the regular season, but they need to use height to their absolute advantage if they hope to make it past the section tournament, which Hopkins has won the past four years.