By Cara L. Dempski
BOYCEVILLE — In the first practice of the 2017-2018 season, Boyceville head girls’ basketball coach Jolene Bird was already dialing up the intensity for her girls.
A small group of watchers gathered toward the end of the practice, when Bird was running a two-on-one defense drill. Groups of three raced to the opposite end of the court via a route marked out by cones on the baselines, one shot for a score, before running back to the opposite basket to defend while the other two worked to get a score.
[emember_protected] The girls were tired by the end of the night, but Bird plans to keep the team working hard to stay in the mix with this year’s Dunn-St. Croix conference race, a year after going 14-9 overall and 8-6 in conference for fourth-place finish.
“Our goal this year is to work hard and play smart every game, and never lose a game because we got out-hustled,” Bird explained.
That may seem a tall order considering the Bulldogs lost six seniors to graduation this past May: Madsyn Riek, Cassie Malean, Morgan Kuhn, Brooklyn Hellmann, Emma Harnisch and Brooklyn Booth. Of the group, Riek was named to the first team all-D-SC, and Kuhn and Malean were presented with honorable mention.
Bird boasts just one returning player with any substantial varsity experience with sophomore Rachel Prestrud back for a second season.
The Lady Bulldogs will have just two seniors on this year’s team, with Marissa Dormanen back after sitting out her junior season with an ACL injury. Mariah Drury is also stepping onto the court as a senior in the hopes of picking a lot of varsity minutes this year.
Juniors Alyx Bloom and Amber Retzloff return for another season after picking up some varsity minutes off the bench last year, and are joined this season by exchange student Kanako Nakamoto.
Sophomores Emma Ouellette, Tyra Kostman, Taylor Grambow, Ana Evenson, Naomi Hillman, Hannah Johnson and Megan Hintzman are a group Bird has her eye on to contribute in a variety of ways for the 2017-2018 season. Monica Miranda joins the group hoping to make an impact on the hardwood.
A group of five freshmen will be getting their first taste of high school competition this year. This group includes Mya Lagerstrom, Kady Grambow, Jensine Boesl, Chrissa Kersten and Faith Harnisch.
Bird expects Colfax and Durand to top the conference this year, but also believes Elk Mound and Mondovi will be in the mix. Durand and the Elk Mound shared last year’s D-SC title with identical 13-1 records.
Jolene Bird is entering her 21st year coaching the Lady Bulldogs and has a 278-172 record overall.
The Boyceville ladies will head to Baldwin-Woodville November 17 before taking a trip to St. Croix Central November 21. The Bulldogs will host Turtle Lake November 30 before hosting Colfax December 5 to open conference play.
Seniors: Marissa Dormanen and Mariah Drury.
Juniors: Amber Retzloff, Alyx Bloom and Kanako Nakamoto.
Sophomores: Emma Ouellette, Hannah Johnson, Megan Hintzman, Tyra Kostman, Rachel Prestrud, Naomi Hillman, Taylor Grambow, Anna Evenson and Monica Miranda.
Freshmen: Mya Lagerstrom, Kady Grambow, Jensine Boesl, Chrissa Kersten and Faith Harnisch. [/emember_protected]