ELK MOUND — Replacing your top two scorers, one who was also the leading rebounder and the other the leader in assists and steals from last year’s team are a major obstacle Elk Mound girls’ basketball coach Jordan Kongshaug will have to deal with this season.
Gone are Josie Hayes who scored 1,195 points last year after leading the conference in scoring, and also averaging 7.7 rebounds a game for the team. She was a three time All Conference player for the Mounders. Also gone via graduation is Kaysi Meindel, who was second on the team and in the conference in scoring with an 11.4 average and added 99 assists and 88 steals, making her a First Team AC selection. Both are currently on the roster at UW-River Falls. Emma Hayes, another starter from last year will also need to be replaced. The Mounders finished the season in third place in conference play at 11-5, and their 17-7 overall record with the final loss coming in the regional final against Cameron, brought the team to heights the team hadn’t reached since 2004.
Kongshaug believes his team will be strong defensively and hopes they can get out and run the floor on the offensive side. Consistency in the scoring department will be something they need to work on, especially early in the season. Returning starters include senior Jamie Solem who averaged 3.5 points a game last year and sophomore McKenna McVey who was third on the team in scoring with a 6.5 average and second in rebounds with 5.4 a game.
Also back with varsity experience are six seniors including Anna Sessions, Katie Johnson, Mattie Pitts, Lindsey Kohls, Kaitlyn Hollister and Danae Sternecker along with sophomore Sarah Winchester.
“We hope to challenge for a spot in the upper half of the conference,” Kongshaug said. “We want to work hard at every practice to prepare us to be competitive on each game night. We want to be playing our best ball at the end of the season,” he added.
Kongshaug looks for Colfax, Mondovi and Boyceville to be the teams to beat in conference play.
“Colfax is very athletic and they have quality players every year and a strong tradition for winning. Mondovi has a lot of depth and several players from last year returning, and Boyceville has one of the best guards in the conference in Abby Bird,” he said.
Kongshaug is assisted by Mike Schiszik, Jonathan Chisholm and Mike Wettstein. The Mounders will be tested early as they open the season by hosting Mondovi Nov. 26.