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KHS Girls Basketball--Team returns with some experience

KHS girls basketball head coach Jason Schwarz is pleased to have three well-known members of last year’s Class B state tournament team returning as seniors this season in Erika Lemere, Kortni Miller and Katie King.

12/08/10 (Wed)


KHS girls basketball head coach Jason Schwarz is pleased to have three well-known members of last year’s Class B state tournament team returning as seniors this season in Erika Lemere, Kortni Miller and Katie King.


“We have some experience,” King said. “Most of the girls playing this year have been to the state tournament.”


Consider juniors Halie Nelson and her intense defensive efforts, Ashley Barnhart and her skills from the 3-point line and rebounding, and sophomore Lexie Munson, another strong shooter from several ranges, to round out the varsity leaders.


“Our experience is probably the most important thing,” Schwarz said. “The kids we’ve got are some who’ve played a lot of varsity minutes in the past couple years. Then throw in Shelby Hass, who we expect to come off the bench and give us some good minutes. She’s an undersized post player who’s effective inside as a good rebounder and a good shooter from about 15 feet.”


But as quickly as Schwarz listed his experienced players, he acknowledged the loss of last year’s seniors Macie Harris, Chelsey Zietz and Dayna Froseth and referred to the chemistry that needs to develop among the current Honkers squad. “We have kids stepping into some different roles this season,” he said. “We’re asking them to fill the positions and roles of those three seniors and that creates a domino effect, which leaves some substitution positions that open up.”


Lemere agreed. “We don’t have many girls on the team,” she said, “so we know we have to be independent and step up because we know there are not many girls on the bench.”


“We want to play well as a team,” King said. “That means we have to rely on everyone.”


Along with learning the finer points of their new positions, the Honkers are working on their defensive play, which has featured an intensive man-to-man strategy in the past. “I’m not so sure how deep we can go on the bench yet,” Schwarz said. “Some lineups may not be as quick as last year. We’re going to do some different things defensively.”


He’s also looking for new shooting leaders to emerge. “We have to see who can step into some of those shooting roles,” he said. “We’re asking kids for more shooting outside.”


“We need to work on our quickness,” added Lemere. “We lost some of our fast girls from last year.”


“We’re doing a lot of conditioning,” Miller said. “We want to get ready for the fast break.”


Lemere laughed. “That’s why we’re not complaining about running in practice,” she said.


Kenmare girls basketball fans should expect to see aggressive play from the team, as before. “We’ll be getting the ball into the lane more,” said Schwarz, “but that’s something we have to work on. We’d like to take the fast break when it’s there.”


The Honkers will employ a matter-of-fact approach to offense. “We’re going to take the shot we want,” Schwarz said. “Good offense makes the other teams play defense. We’ll try to break the other teams down and move the basketball around on offense. We’ll probe until we get what we want for a shot.”


He noted that King would be a magnet for other teams’ defensive play. “Offensively, our play may center on Katie, but we know other people will have to lighten the load on her,” he said. “We have to see who’s going to step up to do that for us.”


The Honkers will not play a game on their home court until almost a month into the season, but they open on Friday and Saturday in Minot against Carrington and Dickinson Trinity. “We tried to make the schedule as tough as we could,” Schwarz said, adding that Kenmare lost to those teams last season. “They’re both as aggressive on defense as we’re going to see all year, and it’s reasonable to think we could go 0-2 to start, but we’re a new team with new pieces and Carrington and Dickinson Trinity are probably saying the same thing right now.”


On Monday, the Dynamic Dozen tournament starts with play in Glenburn and Stanley. “Then we take a really long break and come back after Christmas,” said Schwarz, adding the team will use the break to rest, correct some problems, and prepare for a double-header against Beach, the 2010 Class B champions, and Hazen on the road January 7th and 8th.


“The idea to play them came at the motel after the championship game at the state tournament last year,” Schwarz said.


He wanted the Honkers to face the Buccaneers in the toughest environment possible, their own gym, and to make a weekend of it by returning a game with Hazen after hosting the Bison last January. “It’s an opportunity to put ourselves up against some of the best teams,” he said. “[The Honkers] are such competitors. They go out there and they don’t expect to lose, they expect to win.”


He considers the games as a way to build the team’s experience and confidence. “And if we’re lucky enough to get back to the state tournament, we know who our first round opponent will be,” he said. “The match-ups will be the same as they were for the state volleyball tournament.” Thus, the Region 6 winner will open against the Region 7 champion.


A full schedule of District 12 games stands between the road trip to Beach and Hazen and a berth in the state tournament. Schwarz noted several teams in the district were going through transition periods, with the Knights returning some key players and Bishop Ryan considered to be an up and coming young team with several skilled players.


Kenmare will start their season against strong teams from outside the region and finish with tough games against neighboring schools, including Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood, Stanley and Bottineau. “I’m looking forward to the schedule,” Schwarz said. “It’s going to challenge us.”


Looking at the region, Schwarz predicted Westhope-Newburg, Bottineau, Rugby and Velva as the teams to watch this season. “We don’t have a cakewalk whatsoever,” he said. “There are some good traditional programs with good coaches. But more than anything, we’ve got to play against ourselves.”


He wants the Honkers to take care of all elements in their game, including ball handling, passing and rebounding. “We’ve got to execute the things we know we need to execute,” he said, “to go out there and do the things we’re capable of doing.”


Schedule and roster

The Honkers are led by a trio of seniors in Kortni Miller, Erika Lemere and Katie King.


Juniors wearing the maroon and gold this season include Halie Nelson, Ashley Barnhart and Samantha Fetterhoff.


Sophomores taking the court this season are Lexie Munson and Shelby Hass.


Freshmen testing their wings as Honkers include McKenzie Chrest, Taylor Eckleberry, Kennedy Fricke and Shantell Brekhus.


At the bench, Caleen Crider, Morgan Goettle and Chelsea Nelson will keep stats for the team.


Coach Schwarz is assisted by Arnold Jordan.


Both games this weekend will be played at the Minot Auditorium.


The Dynamic Dozen tourney is scheduled for December 13, 14, 17 and 18, with the first round in Glenburn and the remainder of the games played in Stanley.


The rest of the schedule includes:

Jan. 7, at Beach, 5:30 pm Mountain Time

Jan. 8, at Hazen, 4 pm Mountain Time

Jan. 10, Westhope-Newburg at home

Jan. 13, Surrey at home

Jan. 18, at DLB

Jan. 21, Berthold at home

Jan. 22, New Town at home

Jan. 27, at Our Redeemer’s Christian School

Feb. 1, at Minot Bishop Ryan

Feb. 4, at Glenburn

Feb. 8, MLS at home

Feb. 14, at Stanley

Feb. 18, Bottineau at home


The District 12 tournament will be played February 25, 26 and 28 at the Minot Auditorium, followed by the Region 6 tournament on March 7, 8 and 10 in the same location.


The Class B state girls basketball tournament is scheduled for March 17, 18 and 19 in Bismarck.


While the team is certainly aiming for the regional tournament and a return to the state court, Miller noted the team wants to have fun playing basketball. “And I hope all of our fans come out and support us, even though we lost a lot of girls,” she said.


“We’re going to try hard every game,” King said, even as she, Miller and Lemere discussed their opening games against four of the toughest teams in the state. “When our fans are loud, that helps!”