COLFAX — 25 players, including five seniors, six juniors, seven sophomores and seven freshmen greeted Colfax girl’s basketball coach Joe Doucette on the opening day of practice Nov. 12.
After losing just two players through graduation from the team that went 21-4 (15-1 in conference), won a conference and regional championship then lost a sectional semi-final game to state tournament entry Eau Claire Regis last season, Doucette believes his team will be able to repeat when it comes to another conference championship.
Gone are two time All Conference pick Sam Yolitz and sharp shooter Brianne Kragness, but returning are seniors Hannah Hover who averaged 9.7 points per game and was named first team All Conference as a junior, Ryleigh Prochnow, who averaged 6.6 ppg, and Kenna Breckner, Brittany Rothbauer and McKayla Harmon, all who saw court time on the varsity level last year.
Juniors returning are first team All Conference player Mallie Doucette who led the Vikings in scoring with a 12.1 ppg average last year, along with Braanna Steen, an honorable mention All Conference player who scored 8.3 ppg last year and Taylor Shipman, Emily Halpin and Katlin Sauerwein. Back after missing her sophomore year with a knee injury is Jessica Moonen.
Sophomores with varsity experience are Alexis Rudi, Dannielle Dachel and Chey Olson. Karina Wait was also expected to help out but will miss most of the season with a knee injury.
Freshmen Dempsey Fogarty and Andrea Brantner may also contribute at the varsity level this year.
Coach Doucette begins his 23rd season leading the Vikings and believes having a lot of kids with varsity experience should be a strength of the team this year.
“We should be able to defend well but we will have to make shots at key times,” he said. “We also need to stay healthy, rebound and defend at all times. Our weakness may be under the basket because we don’t have any really big players. Our biggest goal is to work hard, keep improving and reach our potential as a team. We want to represent the school and community in a classy way and impress our fans with our hard work and teamwork. We have great team chemistry this year,” he added.
Doucette thinks Mondovi, Elk Mound, Glenwood City and Boyceville could all be tough competition as far as the conference goes this year.
“But we would love to be in the mix and we we think we can win another conference title,” he said.
Assisting Doucette will be Mick Hover as they begin the season on the road at Plum City Nov. 20, then play at home against an always tough Hayward team Nov. 27.