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Young team takes to the court for Berthold

With a roster of 13 players, most of whom are in eighth and ninth grade, second-year Bombers girls basketball coach Jennifer Kramer refuses to write off this season for her young team.

12/14/11 (Wed)

2011-2012 Berthold High School Girls Basketball Team


By Caroline Downs

With a roster of 13 players, most of whom are in eighth and ninth grade, second-year Bombers girls basketball coach Jennifer Kramer refuses to write off this season for her young team.

“We graduated our starting five from last year, but we have a brand new team,” she said. “I like that they’re willing to learn and that they’re trying everything we’re showing them.”

Kramer is excited about the players’ enthusiasm and cooperation evident during the first two weeks of practice. “Their team chemistry is really good and they play well with each other,” she said. “They’re young, but they want to win and succeed together.”

That team chemistry begins with Emily Engelhard, the only senior returning to the squad, and the lone junior Jordyn Hornberger. Both players bring some varsity experience from last season and have now shouldered the leadership roles for the Bombers.

“They’re pushing the other girls, and they’re helping the other girls,” Kramer said. “I like their chemistry together, too. In our drills, they push each other and they make each other better.”

With limited varsity experience on her roster, Kramer has been focusing on basic skills as her team comes together. “We have a lot of raw athleticism on the team,” she said, “so we’re working on the fundamentals and the rules of the game. The players are fast and strong, and now we need to [direct] that energy into basketball skills.”

Some of that raw energy has been channeled toward strength training this year, too. “Our girls have been in the weight room along with the open gyms we’ve held,” said Kramer. “We want them to stay healthy and be stronger, and they’re seeing that they need to be stronger.”

Kramer is watching her players for combinations to put together on the court. “We want to see what rotation works for us,” she said. “It’s about finding a rhythm and what five girls fit that rhythm and flow of the game.”

The Bombers crowd will notice a difference in the team’s offense this year, with more structure on the court. “There won’t be a lot of free-lancing,” said Kramer. “The fans will see five girls at a time in a set offense. We want to make teams play defense against us.”

However, Kramer also expects her players to take advantage of strong defensive play and turn those opportunities into scores. “If we get steals, we want to push the ball up the floor!” she said.

She didn’t believe the shot clock would affect the Bombers much on offense. “We always shoot fast,” she said, laughing, “but it will matter on defense. Let’s hold teams back so they don’t have time to shoot.”

Kramer was looking forward to starting the season at the Sawyer Invitational tournament this week, after the Bombers finished second in 2010. “Last year, we had five wins going into our district games,” she said, “so we’re hoping to have another successful tournament.”

She predicted the Bombers would match up well with District 12 opponents Surrey, Glenburn, Des Lacs-Burlington and Our Redeemer’s this season. “Every one of those team graduated players,” she said. “They’re all going to be tough, but they’re all younger teams with no super-tall girls.”

She noted Bishop Ryan as the team to beat in the district and region this season, with an experienced roster featuring some of the district’s tallest players.

Meet the Berthold
girls basketball squad

Emily Engelhard is flying solo as the Bombers lone senior this year, playing forward and guard.

Junior Jordyn Hornberger will take to the court as a starting guard.

Sophomores Rachel Birdsall, Jessi Johnson and Bethany Limke wear the purple and gold as sophomore players on the squad.

Emily Roark, Madison Erickson and Liz Neshem will test their wings during the season as freshmen Bombers.

Kaylee Kurtz, Ally Brown, Cassidy Limke and Mychal Fjeldahl are stepping up from the eighth grade class to assist their older teammates.

Emilee Gregory, Miles Knudsvig and Nicole Johnson will handle statistician duties for the team this season.

Coach Kramer is assisted by Stephanie Pusc.

Games begin this week
The Bombers opened their season last night in the first round of the Sawyer Tournament, with game results unavailable before press time. Tournament play will continue Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Sawyer. Berthold will wrap up December play with a game at Parshall on the 20th.

A full January schedule begins on the 2nd for the JV team playing in the Glenburn Tournament. The varsity takes the court again on the 6th at Sawyer, then hosts Lewis & Clark-Makoti on the 9th for the season’s first home game.

The Bombers go on the road against DLB on the 12th and to Westhope-Newburg on the 14th, then host three home games against Glenburn on the 17th, Kenmare on the 20th and TGU on the 21st.

Berthold travels to Bishop Ryan on the 21st and Surrey on the 30th to close out the January games.

The Bombers begin February by welcoming District 12 rival MLS to town on the 3rd, then travel to Crosby to play Divide County on the 4th and to Minot for a game against Our Redeemer’s on the 7th.

Berthold will host Max on the 14th and then welcome Burke County on the 17th for the last home game of the season. The final regular season game will be played on the 18th in Ray.

The Bombers will compete in the District 12 tournament at the Minot Municipal Auditorium on February 24, 25 and 27, working to qualify for the Region 6 tournament scheduled for March 5th, 6th and 8th.

The Class B state girls basketball tournament is slated for March 15th, 16th and 17th in Bismarck.

Kramer invited Berthold parents and students to support the Bombers. “These girls are going to grow so much,” she said. “They’re going to be fun to watch and they’re going to surprise a lot of people with their chemistry. You’ll see some success for these girls!”