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Girls Basketball Preview 2022-23: KMS Fighting Saints return young and experienced team

KMS hopes more experience means more wins

KMS girls basketball takes on Canby
KMS freshman Emily Wagner clears Canby defender Ryann Hansen out of the way while approaching the rim Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022.
Contributed / KMS Public Schools
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KERKHOVEN — Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg enters its 2022-23 campaign with a seasoned, young varsity group.

Click headline to see more girls basketball previews for the 2022-23 season.

Four starters return for the Fighting Saints girls basketball team, including all-conference performers Maddie Luft and Josie Gjerde.

The Fighting Saints’ core will look to build on their 10-15 overall record and 5-5 Camden Conference North Division record from the 2021-22 season.

Four of the Fighting Saints’ five starting lineup regulars will return in 2022-23. Those four are seniors Elsa and Josie Gjerde and sophomores Maddie Luft and Emily Wagner.

Key losses in KMS’ rotation are Hayley Demuth and Grace Collins.

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“We have a lot of girls with varsity experience returning, but we will still be quite young on the floor at times,” KMS head coach Justin Johnson said. “This team has the potential to be very successful. We will need to discover who can play what role off the bench.”

KMS girls basketball takes on Canby 4
Freshman guard Emily Wagner of KMS drives the ball around Canby High School defenders while working her way up the court Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Luft and Josie Gjerde will be at the forefront of the Fighting Saints’ effort. Both were named to the all-conference team after the 2021-22 season.

Luft, a forward listed at 6-foot-1, led the Fighting Saints in points per game (8.7), rebounds per game (8.3) and blocks per game (3.0). She also notched 1.5 steals and 1.1 assists per contest. Johnson mentioned Luft gives KMS “much-needed length and can impact the game on both ends of the floor.”

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Josie Gjerde, a 5-6 guard, averaged 8.3 points per game, 4.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game in 2021-22. Johnson mentioned Gjerde is “a great decision-maker that will be our main ball-handler. She has excellent quickness and is the most consistent shooter.”

KMS girls basketball takes on Canby 2
Fighting Saints freshman Madelyn Luft takes an open shot while being guarded by Canby senior Maya Wente Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, in Kerkhoven.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Other Fighting Saints to look out for include junior forward Julia Carlson and freshman guard Acelynn Hacker.

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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