Willmar, Litchfield, MACCRAY head area girls basketball field

Willmar, with All-Area players Laura Nielsen and Andrea Brown back, is the Tribune pre-season No. 1 rated area girls' basketball team. The Cardinals went 20-6 last year. Nielsen, a strong senior post player, was a first-team All-Area pick. Brown,...

Willmar, with All-Area players Laura Nielsen and Andrea Brown back, is the Tribune pre-season No. 1 rated area girls' basketball team.

The Cardinals went 20-6 last year. Nielsen, a strong senior post player, was a first-team All-Area pick. Brown, a scrappy senior guard, was on the second team.

Litchfield, led by All-Area pick Becky Smith, had the most balanced team in the area last year and again will boast a lot of depth and balance. They are our choice at No. 2.

MACCRAY comes in at No. 3 with All-Area post player Hilary Groothuis back, as well as two other key players.

At No. 4 is New London-Spicer, which perenially is in the top two among area rankings. but has just one starter back this season. Still, the Wildcats have tradition on their side, as well as several stellar letterwinners back.


Dawson-Boyd rounds out the top five with three quality starters back.


(West Central South)

Brittany Smith, a 5-11 junior post, and Jen Hovey, a 5-7 senior guard, return to the starting lineup for the Falcons who will see new territory by moving into the West Central South Conference.

Smith (3.2 points-per-game, 3.0 rebounds-per-game), Hovey (2.9 ppg) and 5-11 junior wing Kjersten Karlsgodt (3.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg) will need to step up their offense for ACGC to contend.

Hovey will lead an experienced backcourt that can control the ball. The Falcons don't have a lot of height, but depth should help them as the season progresses.

2004-05 RECORD

4-10 in Two Twelve; 6-18 overall



Terry Karlsgodt


Brittany Smith, 5-11 junior post

Jen Hovey, 5-7 senior guard


Kjersten Karlsgodt, 5-11 junior wing

Rachel Ruzicka, 5-7 junior guard


Jacklyn Pistulka, 5-7 junior guard

Sara Lund, 5-9 junior wing/post

Kristen Whitcomb, 5-8 junior wing


Kassidy Fischer, 5-9 junior post

Stephanie Nelson, 5-7 sophomore wing

Theresa Johnson, 5-8 sophomore guard

Liberty Slinden, 5-11 freshman post



(Central Minnesota)

The Jaguars got hot at the end of last season, winning five of their last seven games, advancing all the way to the section championship. This season's squad, which has a lot of speed, hopes to build on that late success with two solid inside players back in senior 5-9 forward Tiffany Gruber (10.4 ppg) and junior 6-0 post April Hansen (15.4 ppg), the latter an All-Area pick last season.

Six other letterwinners return, but the team graduated a trio of six-foot post players.

The Jaguars should benefit from a strong regular-season schedule that features three conference teams that are rated in the top 20.

2004-05 RECORD

4-8 in Central Minnesota; 14-15 overall



Greg Hagen


Tiffany Gruber, 5-9 senior forward

April Hansen, 6-0 junior center


Ashley Roelike, 5-8 junior forward

Kelly Heiserich, 5-6 junior guard

Jeana Radermacher, 6-0 senior center


Ashley Nelson, 5-10, senior forward

Katie Gruber, 5-8 junior forward

Nicole Sobiech, 5-8 junior forward


Emily Roelike, 5-6 freshman guard


(West Central South)

The Braves should increase their win total from a year ago as five starters return, led by Emily Jensen, a 5-7 senior guard who was selected to the All-Area second team last season.

Jensen averaged 13.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.6 steals a game last year. Nikki Linn (30 treys), a 5-7 senior guard; Brittany Holm (13 ppg), a 6-0 junior post; Kelly Jepma, a 5-9 senior forward; and Melinda Paulsrud, a 5-2 senior guard, also return to the starting lineup.

2004-05 RECORD

1-9 in West Central South; 4-19 overall


Mark Grussing


Emily Jensen, 5-7 senior guard

Nikki Linn, 5-7 senior guard

Brittany Holm, 6-0, junior post

Kelly Jepma, 5-9 senior forward

Melinda Paulsrud, 5-2 senior guard


Julie Martin, 5-9 senior forward

Lacie Plumhoff, 5-5 senior guard

Britta Fennell, 5-4 junior guard

Toni Hampton, 5-11 junior post


None listed


(West Central South)

The Warriors have five starters back from a team that scored only 50-or-more points in a game three times last season.

Missy Benson, a 5-7 senior guard, averaged 9.5 points-per-game last season. Megan Novotny, a 5-9 senior post; Kory Plumley, a 5-6 senior wing; Alison Agre, a 5-7 junior wing; and Leah Miller, a 5-9 junior wing; all averaged between thee and six points-per-game last season. Agre missed the second half of last season with a knee injury.

The Warriors will try to compensate for the lack of scoring by playing solid defense again after giving up less than 50 points-per-game last season.

2004-05 RECORD

4-10 in 212; 8-17 overall


Mark Olson


Missy Benson, 5-7 senior guard

Megan Novotny, 5-9 senior post

Kory Plumley, 5-6 senior wing

Alison Agre, 5-7 junior wing

Leah Miller, 5-9 junior wing


Sara Grasmon, 5-10 senior post

Kaylene Lundstrom, 6-0 senior post


Brianna Keltgen, 5-6 junior guard

Kelsey Jacobs, 5-7 junior wing

Chelsey Remillard, 5-4 junior guard

Brittany Stadther, 5-9 junior post

Buffalo Lake-Hector


A first-team All-Area selection in basketball and volleyball, 5-9 senior forward Leah Ashburn leads a group of four players that return to the starting lineup for the Mustangs, looking to improve on last year's 3-21 record.

Also rejoining Ashburn are senior guards/forwards Alison Benson and Karissa Scharmer and junior guard/forward Alyssa Kubesh.

Ashburn led the area in scoring last year, averaging 19.5 points-per-game, while Kubesh was fifth in the area with 37 three-pointers.

2004-05 RECORD

0-18 in Tomahawk; 3-21 overall


Josh Tjosaas


Leah Ashburn, 5-9 senior forward

Alyssa Kubesh, 5-11 junior guard/forward

Alison Benson, 5-8 senior guard/forward

Karissa Scharmer, 5-4 senior guard/forward


Amanda Reck, 5-5 senior forward/post

Emma Koeberl, 5-8 sophomore forward/post


Jordan Buehne, 5-6 freshman guard

Central Minnesota Christian

(Camden North)

Roger Mulder returns to the helm after guiding the girls' program to a 86-22 record over a five-year stretch in the 1990's. Mulder does inherit three starters from last year's squad: 5-10 senior post Elizabeth Bulthuis, 5-10 senior forward Hillary Slagter and 5-7 junior guard Jennifer Blom.

Among the players coming back only Bulthuis and Slagter scored in double figures last year. Slagter averaged 7.8 points a game last year while Bulthuis was hampered with knee problems after averaging 12.5 points and 7.4 rebounds a game as a sophomore.

The three give CMCS a good nucleus of experience, but the Bluejays will need to put up more points to improve on last year's 4-19 record.

2004-05 RECORD

3-11 in 212; 4-19 overall


Roger Mulder


Elizabeth Bulthuis, 5-10 senior post

Hillary Slagter, 5-10 senior forward

Jennifer Blom, 5-7 junior guard


Kari Mulder, 5-10 junior center

Steph Bulthuis, 5-7 sophomore guard

Abby Tebben, 5-8 sophomore forward

Kate Ledboer, 5-5 senior guard


Tara Frikke, 5-7 junior forward

Allison Slagter, 5-5 junior guard

Briana Wubben, 5-6 freshman guard

Greta Evink, 5-6 freshman guard


(Camden North)

With their top two scorers returning - 6-1 senior center Chelsie Kurtenbach (14.1 points-per-game) and 5-7 junior guard Nikki Swenson (13.0 ppg) - the Blackjacks should contend for the conference title. Britta Helgeson, a 5-11 junior forward/center, also rejoins Kurtenbach and Swenson in the starting lineup.

Kurtenbach had scored in double figures in 13 of the team's first 16 games last year and averaged 11.2 rebounds-per-game before missing the rest of the season with a fractured tibula. She was recently named to the All-Area volleyball team.

Nikki Swenson (5.1 assists-per-game and 5.2 steals-per-game), along with her younger sister, 5-9 freshman guard Kelly Swenson (5.1 ppg) give the Blackjacks a quick backcourt to complement their solid inside game.

2004-05 RECORD

8-6 in Camden; 15-8 overall


Jason VanEngen


Nikki Swenson, 5-7 junior guard

Chelsie Kurtenbach, 6-1 senior center

Britta Helgeson, 5-11 junior forward/center


Kelly Swenson, 5-9 freshman guard

Heather Voss, 5-10 junior forward

Tiffany Viessman, 5-7 senior guard

Karissa Roiger, 5-3 senior guard

Shawna Robertson, 5-7 junior guard


Courtney Hout, 5-5 sophomore guard

Kassi Linblad, 5-9 sophomore forward



As with many small schools, Hancock will have to rely on its younger players to mature quickly. The Owls have only two seniors on the team, as well as two eighth-graders.

Three starters are back from an 11-13 team, including Tara Thielke, a 5-8 junior forward who averaged 14.3 points and 4.5 rebounds-per-game. Karissa Thiel (4.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg), a 5-9 senior center; and Stacie Cunningham (6 ppg), a 5-4 junior guard; are also back. Five other letterwinners back give the team a lot of depth and experience.

2004-05 RECORD

3-5 in Pheasant; 11-13 overall


Jodi Holleman


Tara Thielke, 5-8 junior forward

Karissa thiel, 5-9 senior center

Stacie Cunningham, 5-4 junior guard


Sara Olson, 5-7 senior forward

Chelsea Voorhees, 5-10 sophomore center

Jenny Noordmans, 5-7 sophomore guard

Kelsey Maloney, 5-8 junior forward

Bree Holleman, 5-7 8th grade guard


Kelsey Olson, 5-7 sophomore forward

Lindsie Cunningham, 4-10 8th grade guard

Shaina Cramlet, 5-7 sophomore forward

Marie Pieske, 5-7 sophomore forward


(Camden North)

Kari Henry, a 5-9 senior guard/wing; Kim Stassen, a 5-7 senior guard/wing; and Esther Peterson, a 5-10 junior post; return to the starting lineup for first-year head coach Jeff Holtkamp.

Peterson, the team's second-leading scorer last year at 14.3 points-per-game, will be counted on more as the Fighting Saints lost four key contributors on last year's Sub-Section 5A South runner-up team to graduation. Peterson also averaged 7.6 rebounds a season ago.

2004-05 RECORD

7-7 in 212; 16-10 overall


Jeff Holtkamp


Kari Henry, 5-9 senior guard/wing

Kim Stassen, 5-7 senior guard/wing

Esther Peterson, 5-10 junior post


Laura Zimmer, 5-4 senior guard

Patina Queenan, 5-6 junior guard

Dorthy Saulsbury, 5-4 senior guard


Stephanie Stassen, 6-0 sophomore post

Spencer Berget, 5-8 junior post

Sarah Laughlin, 5-4 sophomore guard

Sarah Carlson, 5-7 freshman guard

Nikki Viss, 5-7 junior post

Beth Urban, 5-9 junior post

Jasmine Bredesen, 5-3 sophomore guard

Lindsay Lesteberg, 5-4 sophomore guard

Lac qui Parle Valley

(West Central South)

With six players returning that saw time in the starting lineup at one point last season coming back, the Eagles should improve from last year's campaign.

Senior guard Amber Moen (10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals a game); senior forward Brittany Hamann (6 ppg and 5 rpg); junior guards Mindy Clark (12 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg and 3 spg), Melanie Gail (7 ppg and 2 spg), and Madeline Gail (5 ppg, 4 rpg and 2 spg); and junior forward Kayla Rheingans (8 ppg and 10 rpg) give LQPV a quick and experienced team that can hit the outside shot.

A lack of an inside presence might hurt the Eagles' chances of contending for the conference title.

2004-05 RECORD

2-8 in West Central South; 7-19 overall


Ryan Giles


Amber Moen, 5-6 senior guard

Mindy Clark, 5-9 junior guard

Kayla Rheingans, 5-11 junior forward

Melanie Gail, 5-5 junior guard

Brittany Hamann, 5-9 senior forward

Madeline Gail, 5-7 junior guard


Chelsea Haugen, 5-9 sophomore forward

Christine Bendel, 5-8 junior forward


Lauren Struxness, 5-7 sophomore guard

Andrea Rheingans, 5-7 freshman guard

Whitney Strei, 5-5 freshman guard

Daidre Vaala, 5-8 junior forward


(Wright County)

The Dragons are expecting another solid season after going 22-5 last season. Becky Smith, a 5-8 senior forward who averaged 10.7 points-per-game, and Brittany Euerle, a 6-0 junior all-around player who averaged 7. 1 ppg, were starters last season. Smith was an All-Area pick.

Five other letterwinners are also back for the Dragons, who have excellent quickness and athleticism. The team has shown good outside shooting, which should help make up for the loss of two inside players.

2004-05 RECORD

13-1 in Wright County; 22-5 overall


Bill Huhner


Becky Smith, 5-8 senior forward

Brittany Euerle, 6-0 junior guard/forward/center


Jill Warren, 5-7 senior guard

Sara Kalenberg, 5-9 senior forward

Betsy Ludvigson, 5-5 senior forward

Natalie Devine, 5-10 senior forward/center

Emalee Smith, 5-8 senior center


Sara Lehrer, 5-6 senior guard

Emily Davis, 5-10 junior guard/forward

Anna Bruesewitz, 6-0 junior center

Jamie Wollin, 5-9 freshman guard

Stephanie Vinar, 5-7 junior forward

Kirsten Rosenow, 5-7 junior guard


(Camden North)

The Wolverines bring back three quality starters, plus five other letterwinners, from a 16-10 team.

Hilary Groothuis, a 6-foot senioir post and an All-Area pick a season ago, averaged 13.5 points and six rebounds-per-game last year. Tory Brouwer (10 ppg, 6 rpg), a 5-10 senior forward; and Christine Condon (3 ppg, 7 apg), a 5-4 senior guard; also return.

The Wolverines have good size underneath with two other letterwinners back at least 6-foot tall.

2004-05 RECORD

7-7 in Two Twelve; 16-10 overall


Dale Peterson


Hilary Groothuis, 6-0 senior post

Tory Brouwer, 5-10 senior forward

Christine Condon, 5-4 senior guard


Danielle Goeman, 5-8 junior guard

Kari Caspers, 6-0 junior forward/center

Brandy Woodring, 5-6 junior guard

Ashley Beseman, 6-2 sophomore post

Kristie Eschen, 5-3 junior guard


Amanda Bonnema, 5-8 junior forward

Ashley Alsum, 5-10 junior post

Hillary Aeikens, 5-8 junior guard

Destiny VanDeRiet, 5-2 junior guard

Allison Hebrink, 5-8 sophomore guard

Dana Rhoda, 6-0 sophomore post

Alisha Schuerman, 5-9 sophomore forward

Danielle Loomis, 5-7 freshman guard

Minnewaska Area

(West Central North)

All-Conference returnee Shiona Beecher, a 5-9 senior forward, and along with returning starters 5-9 junior forward Sara Gregerson and 5-6 senior guard Lindsay Solmonson, should help the Lakers enjoy another successful season.

Beecher averaged a team-high 10.5 points-per-game last year and also averaged around 7 rebounds a game. Gregerson averaged around 6 ppg and 6 rpg while 5-11 senior center Ashley Chan piled up near 4 ppg and 4 rpg last season.

Experience and defense should help Minnewaska overcome scoring problems.

2004-05 RECORD

8-2 in West Central South; 16-9 overall


Arden Hyland


Lindsay Solmonson, 5-6 senior guard

Shiona Beecher, 5-9 senior forward

Sara Gregerson, 5-9 junior forward


Ashley Chan, 5-11 senior center

Kaitlin Olson, 5-9 senior forward

Tiffany Kocher, 5-4 senior guard

Teri Paulzine, 5-10 senior center


Kayla McIver, 5-7 junior guard

Jamie Shley, 5-9 junior forward

Emily Roering, 5-8 freshman forward

Cassie Jacobs, 5-11 freshman center

Erica Olson, 5-7 sophomore guard


(West Central South)

Brook Moseng averaged 13.7 points-per-game and 3.6 rebounds-per-game last year en route to landing on the All-Area third team. The 5-8 junior forward, who scored 15-or-more points in a game 11 times last year, heads a group of three starters coming back which should help the Thunder Hawks contend for the conference crown.

Along with Moseng, 5-4 junior guard Kara Nelson (10.0 ppg, 3.7 assists-per-game and 2.0 steals-per-game) and 5-11 senior center Rikka Boike (8.2 ppg and 5.7 rpg) give the team a good combination of solid play inside and outside.

2004-05 RECORD

5-5 in West Central South; 11-12 overall


Dan Douglas


Rikka Boike, 5-11 senior center

Brook Moseng, 5-8 junior forward

Kara Nelson, 5-4 junior guard


Barbi Reuss, 5-7 senior guard

Amy Johnson, 5-9 senior forward

Jennifer Buseman, 5-5 senior guard

Ann Nelson, 5-10 senior forward

Danielle Johnson, 5-6 junior guard


Laurel Beukhof, 5-6 junior guard

Jenna Hendrickson, 5-7 junior guard

Jessi Roggatz, 5-7 junior guard

Taylor Skoglund, 6-1 sophomore center

Hannah Wenaas, 5-6 sophomore guard


(West Central South)

After losing four of their top scorers to graduation last year, the Tigers will need someone to step up and take control of the offense.

Junior post Jasmine Henrich (5.3 points-per-game and 2.7 rebounds-per-game) and senior forward Ashley Dohlen (2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 2.0 assists-per-game) are the lone returning starters. Senior forward Jodee Dittbenner (3.3 ppg and 3.0) is also back after seeing extensive action last year

Morris will play its home games at the elementary gym in Morris.

2004-05 RECORD

4-6 in West Central South; 10-13 overall


Ken Gagner


Ashley Dohlen, 5-10 senior forward

Jasmine Henrich, 5-10 junior post


Jodee Dittbenner, 5-8 senior forward


Christa Bahr, 5-8 junior forward

Jessica Nohl, 5-8 junior forward

Brittany Nelson, 5-8 junior guard

Mackenzie Kontz, 5-3 junior guard

Courtney Johnson, 5-9 sophomore post

Kelsey Draper, 5-10 sophomore post

New London-Spicer

(West Central North)

Cassidy Vogt, a 6-foot senior guard, is the lone starter back for the Wildcats. She averaged 5.2 points-per-game a season. Also back is six other letterwinners, including Renae Henjum (5.5 ppg), a 6-0 sophomore center; and Jenn Wendlandt (2.3 ppg), a 5-9 junior forward; both who saw significant playing time on the varsity.

The Wildcats move to the West Central North this year after winning the South title the last 15 seasons.

2004-05 RECORD

10-0 in West Central South; 28-2 overall


Mike Dreier


Cassidy Vogt, 6-0 senior guard


Renae Henjum, 6-0 sophomore center

Jenn Wendlandt, 5-9 junior forward

Amber Wohnoutka, 5-9 senior forward

Ellary Asche, 5-6 sophomore guard

Kelsey O'Fallon, 5-6 junior guard

Andrea Westby, 5-9 sophomore forward


Lindsey Imdieke, 5-8 junior forward

Kelsey Cors, 5-6 freshman guard

Michelle Hanson, 5-9 freshman center

Trista Norris, 5-8 freshman forward


(West Central North)

Seniors Lynn Lieser, a 5-11 post, and Ashley Lieser, a 5-4 guard, are the lone returning starters after the Bulldogs lost five seniors and their top three scorers to graduation.

Lynn (5.0 points-per-game and 5.0 rebounds-per-game) and Ashley (4.0 rpg, 4.5 rpg and 1.9 steals-per-game) give Paynesville something to build around. Junior post Kristin Lang (5 ppg, 3.2 rpg) will also give the Bulldogs a threat inside.

2004-05 RECORD

3-7 in West Central North; 5-18 overall


Jackie Parsley


Lynn Lieser, 5-11 senior post

Ashley Lieser, 5-4 senior guard


Kristin Lang, 6-1 junior post

Amber Jansen, 5-5 senior guard

Allyson Klenke, 6-0, senior post


Brooke Schmitz, 5-9 senior guard/forward

Brittni Schmitz, 5-7 sophomore guard

Marissa Mackedanz, 5-6 junior guard

Kirsten Miller, 5-5 junior guard

Redwood Valley


The Cardinals return six seniors, including three that saw time in the starting lineup last year: 5-7 guard Katie Smith, 5-6 guard April Meyers and 5-10 forward Ana Johnson.

Smith was the team's second-leading scorer last year averaging 10.5 points a game. Meyers (5.8 ppg) and Johnson (5.6 ppg) will give Redwood Valley more scoring punch, as will 5-7 junior guard Jordan Olerud (5.2 ppg).

2004-05 RECORD

2-10 in Southwest; 8-17 overall


Mary Jo Hmielewski


Katie Smith, 5-7 senior guard

April Meyers, 5-6 senior guard

Ana Johnson, 5-10 senior forward


Caitlin Maguire, 5-5 senior guard

Grace Angermeyr, 5-10 senior forward

Amy Kuehn, 5-10 senior forward

Jordan Olerud, 5-7 junior guard


Taylor Solie, 5-10 junior center

Jessica Henning, 5-6 junior forward

Christal Greenslit, 5-6 junior forward

Renville County West

(Camden North)

Three-year starters, 5-10 senior forward Kayla Eekhoff and 5-6 junior guard Sally Smith, return along with 5-10 senior center Chloe Huisman.

Huisman (10 ppg, 6 rpg), Smith (5 ppg and 3 spg) and Eekhoff (5 ppg and 5 rpg) give the Jaguars an experienced athletic team that can hit the outside shot.

2004-05 RECORD

6-8 in 212; 10-13 overall


Dale Negen


Kayla Eekhoff, 5-10 senior forward

Sally Smith, 5-6 junior guard

Chloe Huisman, 5-10 senior center


Jen Hamre, 5-6 senior guard

Megan Groen, 5-9 sophomore guard

Kortney Mulder, 5-10 sophomore forward

Kelsey Prahl, 5-10 junior center

Lizzy Ellingson, 5-8 junior forward


Brooke Freiborg, 5-9 junior center

Jessi Knutson, 5-8 junior guard

Yellow Medicine East

(West Central South)

The Sting won the last Two Twelve Conference girls' basketball title and finished 24-4 overall.

Two starters off that squard - Audfrey Formo (11 ppg, 5 rpg), a 5-9 senior guard/forward/post; and Kristin Hegna (3.5 ppg), a 5-6 senior guard - are back.

The Sting, who lost two of its top three scorers, have nine other letterwinners returning.

2004-05 RECORD

13-1 in Two Twelve; 24-4 overall


Tim Knapper


Kristin Hegna, 5-6 senior guard

Audrey Formo, 5-9 senior forward/center/guard


Michelle Preuss, 5-9 senior forward

Emily Balfany, 5-8 sophomore guard/forward

Kristina Kietzmann, 6-0, junior post

Megan Lecy, 5-11 junior post

Sarah Cross, 5-7 junior wing

Abbey Olson, 5-6 junior wing

Tara Adolph, 5-6 junior guard

Emma Volstad, 5-8 junior wing

Annie Jepson, 5-10 sophomore post


Ashley Oftedahl, 5-5 junior wing

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