Talent, experience, speed
Some years coaches have a hard time finding enough talent to fill their varsity team.
But, that is not coach Al Cue’s problem this season.
This year he has so much talent, experience and leadership for the Blue Earth Area girls basketball team, he is having a hard time choosing teams.
“It is a good problem to have; we have too many players and are heavy on the upperclassmen,”?Cue says.
Cue says there are 17 juniors and seniors and five sophomores who will be on varsity or junior varsity this season.
With the number of older girls on the team, they bring a lot of experience to the Buccaneers basketball team.
“There are a lot of those girls I?would be comfortable putting on varsity,”?Cue says. “But, there are only so many minutes in a game.”
Eight of the top 10 girls from last year’s varsity team will return to the court again this year, including seniors Taylor Grandgenett, Paige Darrington, Karli Olsen, Shayna Stevermer, Anikka Wilhelmi, Anne Franta, Natali Fellows, and Paige Darrington.
“We definitely can’t claim to be a young team anymore,”?he adds. “Which means we can’t play young, either.”
Many of the seniors are going on their third year on varsity, which now translates to a positive leadership at practices.
“We have very good leadership from the seniors,”?Cue explains. “They are familiar with our play, they know what to expect and know how we practice.”
It’s not only the seniors standing out on the court either. Cue says he has seen good things from Samantha Barslou, Caitlin Rorman and Samantha Ripley.
“I think they will all step up this season, as well,”?Cue adds.
So, once the teams are set and the girls basketball team gets into their first couple of games, Cue has some hopes for the girls.
“I hope they will be in the running to win the conference and the Subsection,” he says.
Cue adds that he has the girls set their own goals as well goals that don’t always include wins.
The Buccaneers will kick off their season with a game against the United South Central Rebels on Tuesday, Dec. 1, in Wells at 7:30 p.m.
“They are actually not in our section; we are 2A and they are 1A,”?Cue explains.
But, the maroon and gold’s coach is sure their first game will be an exciting one.
“There will really be a contrast in styles in this game,”?Cue says.
The Rebels have height and will use that to their advantage whereas the Bucs will be lacking some height this year.
“We will try to speed the game up and they will try to slow it down and use their height,”?Cue says.
That strategy will play off of the maroon and gold’s strengths and weaknesses this season.
“There will be a lack of height overall for us,”?Cue says.
“Sam Ripley is taller and she will play a lot but other than that, we don’t have as much height,”?Cue adds.
But, what they lack in height they make up for in a quick defense.
Cue says the team has also struggled shooting in the past couple of seasons.
“But, our shooting looks to be better this year, too,”?he adds.
The Bucs will then play again on Dec. 4, when they will host the New Ulm Eagles at 7:30 p.m.
Their third game will be against Fairmont in Blue Earth at 6 p.m.
And getting a few games under their belt is always a good way to work out any kinks before the season advances.
Cue already has his eye on some of the teams in the conference who might prove to be a little bit tougher competition for the Buccaneers this year.
New Ulm, Waseca and St. Peter are some of the top teams in the Big South Conference who are always tough competition according to the Buc coach.
“New Richland-Hartland Ellendale-Geneva, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, and Fairmont will be tougher in the Sections,”?Cue says.
But, Cue is confident that the girls will excel.
“It is good to be back in the gym,”?he says.
He adds that the girls are not only going to do well in the gym. The Buc girls also ended last season on a high note in the classroom.
“Last year they were named the Academic State Champs,”?Cue says.
The 2014-2015 team had a composite grade point average of 3.881 landing them in first place in Class 2A of the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association’s Team Academic contest.
“And most of the girls from last year will be back this year,”?Cue says. “So, they are not only good basketball players but they are great young ladies.”
Last year the maroon and gold girls ended their season with an overall record of 17-9 and their conference record ended in an even 5-5 split.
The Buccaneers scored a season total of 931 points, grabbed 507 rebounds, 256 steals and 233 assists.
Top scorer for the season last year was Karli Olsen who racked up a total of 240 points.