By Cara L. Dempski
GLENWOOD CITY — Last year’s Hilltopper girls’ basketball team did not win a game until the week between Christmas and the New Year.
That was a December 30, 2016 comeback victory in the Glenwood City Holiday Tournament to beat Ellsworth 52-51. The only other win the Lady Toppers nabbed during the 2016-2017 season was a 53-46 conference victory over the Mondovi Buffaloes.
After finishing 2-21 overall and 1-13 in the Dunn-St. Croix last season, it is probably a safe assumption that head coach Dean Fayerweather and his Hilltopper ladies are hungry for more this year. Especially when considering the team’s goals for the 2017-2018 season.
“Goals for this team would be to dominate the boards and loose balls. I would like to see this team progress defensively and be very respectable in most categories,” Fayerweather said in his preview questionnaire. “Non-statistical goals would be to play as one, and not become individuals to get things done.”
The Glenwood City coach welcomes back a few experienced seniors after saying good bye to last year’s crop of upperclassmen. Becca Moll led the Class of 2017 as an all-conference honorable mention player, and moved on to other pursuits along with classmates Jessica Crossley, Briana Barstad and Morgan Peterson.
Fayerweather knows the team will miss Moll’s rebounding and post play, but sees promise in returning senior starters Jenesa Klinger and Mariah Voeltz. Klinger led the team stats in nearly every aspect last year, averaging 10.3 points per game, and picking up 124 total rebounds and 55 assists.
Voeltz averages 5.1 points over 19 games last year, and tallied 76 rebounds and 22 assists. The duo are joined by fellow letter winner Cortney Lawson, who pulled in 11 rebounds off the bench last season, and senior newcomers Emily Hill and Makayla O’Brien.
Junior letter winners Delaney Quinn and Hanna Strehlo return to the court as starters after Quinn logged seven PPG and Strehlo three throughout 2016-2017. Fayerweather sees fellow 10th-grade players Olivia Scalze and Alexys Curvello as two players capable of providing significant help to the varsity squad this year.
Olivia Jenson, Bella Gaustad, Maggie Wallin, Julia Dinkel and Marie Schmidt are also hoping to make an impact for the Hilltoppers.
The sophomore class will be represented by Makiah Schutz, Bethany Ullom, Bella Lawson, Kassidi Thompson, Mae Buttles and Kaitlin Lee, and are followed by a sizable freshman class.
This year’s ninth-grade team members are Delanie Fayerweather, Yasmin Mendez, Kinzie Strong, Gabrielle Moede, Tasha DeSmith, Maddie Oehlke, Hallie Dopkins, Bella Rassbach, Myah Eliason, Lexi Wannemacher and Jordana Shervington.
Fayerweather hopes his four returning starters – Klinger, Voeltz, Quinn and Strehlo – will help with experience and energy since both the seniors and juniors have played together as a group since elementary school.
“Our weakness will be gelling together,” the Glenwood City coach explained.
The Hilltopper helmsman named Colfax as this year’s team to beat in the Dunn-St. Croix, since they have no senior players and return a significant number of starters from last year. He also sees Durand and Elk Mound as posing a big threat in the conference.
Dean Fayerweather is in his second year at the head of the Glenwood City girls’ basketball team. He will be assisted by Pete Gaustad and Amy Dopkins.
The Hilltoppers will take on Amery at home to open the season November 21 before hosting Grantsburg November 27. Their first road trip will be to Flambeau November 30, and they will play their first Dunn-St. Croix contest at Spring Valley December 5.
Seniors: Mariah Voeltz, Cortney Lawson, Jenesa Klinger, Emily Hill and Makayla O’Brien.
Juniors: Delaney Quinn, Maggie Wallin, Olivia Jenson, Hanna Strehlo, Alexys Curvello, Bella Gaustad, Olivia Scalze, Julia Dinkel and Marie Schmidt.
Sophomores: Makiah Schutz, Bethany Ullom, Bella Lawson, Kassidi Thompson, Mae Buttles and Kaitlin Lee.
Freshmen: Delanie Fayerweather, Yasmin Mendez, Kinzie Strong, Gabrielle Moede, Tasha DeSmith, Maddie Oehlke, Hallie Dopkins, Bella Rassbach, Myah Eliason, Lexi Wannemacher and Jordana Shervington.