Cue: Team tall, athletic
Blue Earth Area Buccaneer girls basketball head coach Al Cue could hardly wait for the season and practice to begin this year.
“I am looking forward to a fun, enjoyable season again,” Coach Cue says. “With a great bunch of young ladies.”
Besides being fun and enjoyable, this year has the potential to also be very successful.
Cue says this 2011-2012 version of the Buccaneers is a very solid team.
“We have some very athletic girls,” he says. “And we will again be pretty tall, which is unusual for us.”
The numbers for the Bucs are up from recent years, mainly due to a large group of freshmen (15) out for the C-team. Overall there are 36 high school girls out for basketball, up eight from last year.
There are eight seniors on the team; Jenny Smith, Kristine Volz, Sara Warmka, Camille Driscoll, Gretchen Klinkner, Nicole Carr, Allie Curtis and Courtney Grandgenett.
“These seniors are an outstanding group of young ladies – they are leaders both on the court and in the classroom,” Cue says. “They have been in the program their entire careers and know exactly what we are trying to do.”
One senior on the list will see very limited action – if any at all. Smith is still recovering from surgery for a torn ACL she suffered during warm ups before the first volleyball game last fall.
“We will, no doubt, miss Jenny on the floor this season, but she is still an important part of who this team is,” Cue says. “We won’t have her back unless she makes a faster than normal recovery.”
Smith says she is just getting back to walking without braces and crutches and won’t start any jogging or running for some time yet. However, she plans to be a part of the team and do whatever she can to assist them during the year.
Cue says the team will also miss last year’s seniors; Ashley Olson, Sydney Ristau, Rylee Wagner and Katie Krieger.
“Ashley was a three-year starter, our team leader and will be sorely missed,” Cue says. “Sydney and Rylee were both starters that had important roles on the team. Katie came off the bench and had many, many valuable contributions to our success last season.”
But, the coach quickly adds, this year’s seniors are more than ready to step up and be the leaders of the team.
“They have been successful at every level of basketball, and I fully expect they will continue that this season,” the Buc mentor says. “They work hard every day in practice, are very intelligent, and not afraid to work at the details of becoming better players.”
Two of the seniors are returning starters – Driscoll and Warmka.
“They are ready to move their games up to the next level,” Cue says. “Kristine, Gretchen, Nicole, Allie and Courtney are ready to play and have an expanded role in the success of the team.”
The juniors on the squad are Krista Hassing, Janessa Jahnke, Whitney Pirsig and Larissa Hatfield.
“Krista is a returning starter who seems ready to have a breakout season,” Coach Cue predicts. “Janessa and Whitney should be solid contributors to the team this year. Larissa is out for basketball this year after not playing for a couple of years, but she has been working hard and learning the system.”
She is not the only one learning the routine. The Bucs sport two new coaches for the B and C teams. Jodee Lund will coach the B-team while Nate Lund takes over the duties with the C-team.
The Bucs will get a pretty fair idea of what the year will bring when they open the season, today, Monday, at GHEC. They follow that up with the home opener on Friday against New Ulm.
While BEA may have a pretty good team this year, they are not the only ones who will.
“In the conference, St. Peter is probably the favorite, with several returning players off their State Tournament team from last year,” Cue notes.
But, the coach expects both Fairmont and his own BEA squad will be able to give them a run for their money.
“Plus, Waseca has a talented bunch of players and could surprise people in the conference this year,” Cue predicts.
In the Section, Cue says NRHEG is the definite favorite, with most of their team back from last year. St. Peter, Southland and USC will be contenders in the Section as well.
“Of course, we hope to be in the mix as well,” he adds with a smile.