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GLENWOOD CITY — An important key to rebuilding the Glenwood City girls’ basketball program for success on the court is stability.
It’s a priority for Kirsten Konder who heads into her second season as the Lady Hilltoppers head coach.
“As the team had four head coaches in four years, the largest obstacle is building a solid foundation for our team and making sure that consistency is present within our program,” stated Konder.
Laying that foundation, however was a rough and rocky one last season as Glenwood City went without a win in the Dunn-St. Croix (0-14) and finished 1-24 overall. The Toppers’ lone victory a year ago was a 46-27 home non-conference win over Bruce.
But, Konder believes the program and this year’s team are on the right path for improved play and positive results.
Although the team had to say goodbye to the leadership of recent graduates Brooklyn Caress, Mali Draxler and Aubree Logghe, this season’s outlook is promising, according to Konder, as the team returns four of its five starters and eight letter winners from last season.
Topping those lists of returning starters and letter winners, are Libby Wagner, the squad’s only senior, and junior post player Isabel Davis.
Konder is excited to see this pair lead the varsity this season.
“Both of these players have a strong knowledge of basketball along with the leadership that it takes to get the team more wins this season,” noted Konder.
“Libby and Isabel led our team in the majority of the stats we had from last season. They are level headed while playing and motivate our team as a whole to put their best foot forward every day,” she added.
Glenwood City’s other returning letter winners are juniors Jenna McCarthy, Morgan Blaser, and Brooklynn Brite and sophomores Opal Voeltz, Emma Bliese, and Kaylin Brandt.
Other sophomores looking to contribute are Anaka Eliason, Ava Multhauf, Lillie McGee and Kyra Flick.
A newcomer that Konder is excited to have for the next four years is freshman Tori Ohman.
“Watching Tori play last year at the middle school level, the true athleticism is present,” Konder stated. “I feel that if Tori works hard in this sport, she could join the 1,000-point scoring club in her career at Glenwood City.”
Joining Ohman as part of the incoming freshmen class are Kirah Krueger, Morgan Knops, and Yadi Moreno.
Konder believes one of the team’s strengths this season will be the varsity experience that many of her players gained last year.
“Our team was very young last year and this year we have more players coming back on the varsity team,” said Konder.
Konder does admit that perimeter shooting remains a weakness for the team especially from behind the three-point arc.
“Last year we weren’t the strongest shooting team in the three-point category,” stated Konder. “Even though that might not be our strong suit, our team was hard at work this summer going to Winona for tournaments and putting the work in through open gyms and our school’s Tops Program.”
To that end, Konder would like to see tangible improvement in three-point shooting as well as at the free throw line.
“These are two areas, after analyzing the 2022-23 season, that we need to improve on, especially if we are to be competitive in the Dunn-St. Croix,” Konder said.
Konder would like to see this year’s team as a whole pick up its overall play in each and every contest.
“We have numerous three-sport athletes on our team and I know that we can pick up the level of play, which will ultimately result in more wins this season,” she said.
Konder does not see much change in the conference’s top contenders. She has tabbed both Elk Mound, the defending Dunn-St. Croix champion, and Colfax, who finished as the runner-up and made it to the state semifinals last March, as the teams to beat in this year’s race.
Assisting Konder again this season is Samantha Johnson. Managers are Ava Swenby, Ayla Voeltz, Emilyn Hoffman, and Jaycie Oberle.
The Hilltoppers open the season this week with a pair of non-conference road games. They were at Somerset last night (Tuesday, November 14) and travel to Independence this Thursday to take on Independence/Gilmanton.
Senior: Libby Wagner
Juniors: Isabel Davis, Jenna McCarthy, Morgan Blaser, and Brooklynn Brite
Sophomores: Anaka Eliason, Opal Voeltz, Kaylin Brandt, Emma Bliese, Ava Multhauf, Lillie McGee, and Kyra Flick
Freshmen: Tori Ohman, Kirah Krueger, Morgan Knops, and Yadi Moreno