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'Run and shoot' Germantown girls are aiming for an NSC title

Warhawks open Friday against Bay

Germantown’s Taylor Higginbotham (right) is set to lead the Warhawks girls basketball team toward an NSC title this winter.

Germantown’s Taylor Higginbotham (right) is set to lead the Warhawks girls basketball team toward an NSC title this winter. Photo By Pat A. Robinson

Dec. 2, 2013

The numbers last year were ridiculous for the Germantown girls basketball team.

The team scored 85 points each in back-to-back wins over Milwaukee Lutheran and Menomonee Falls in December. Then 98 in a victory over North Shore champ Cedarburg and then 105 in a rematch with Lutheran. The Warhawks won an impressive 18 games and finished in a tie for second in the NSC having averaged 69.8 points for the season hitting a preposterous school record 203 three-pointers in the process.

But that effort may have only been a warm-up as they return nine players off that heady Grinnell-style "run and press and shoot" juggernaut.

Imagine even more points, even more wins.

"It's nice to have high expectations for a change," Warhawks coach Matt Stuve said. "The kids are most definitely anxious to get things going and to hit the ground running."

That they will.

Off and running

They open against North Shore Conference power Whitefish Bay at home at 7:45 p.m. Friday and then visit border rival Menomonee Falls in the 6 p.m. opener on Saturday for the two schools' annual boys-girls doubleheader.

They are at Brookfield East on Dec. 10 and then host Cedarburg in a huge NSC tilt on Dec. 13.

That game is huge because Stuve sees his squad as firmly in line for a chance at a league title this winter, as among his nine returnees are seven veteran seniors.

Among those seniors is 5-7 point guard Paige Groth, 5-2 Erika Berry (led team in three-point shooting percentage at 37 percent), 5-2 point Shelby Petta, 5-6 Amy Flasch, 5-7 Sarah Bartel, 5-10 Miska Cantley and 5-9 Bridget Kelley (10.4 ppg).

Kelley is the team's one true post.

The key for the Warhawks will be the growth of 5-9 junior star Taylor Higginbotham. The returning first-team All-NSC selection averaged 11.4 ppg, hit a team-high and school record 36 three-pointers and has a ton of major college interest including New Mexico and Western Illinois.

Another junior returnee is 5-9 Val Meissner who will be the team's third point guard.

Stuve is looking for help inside from 5-10 sophomore Chloe Bingenheimer and 5-9 junior Courtney Wahl.

A potential stealth candidate is 5-9 freshman Kenzie Schmitz, who Stuve said might be the best athlete in the school.

"In the freshmen versus senior powder puff football game she caught everyone's attention when she scored four touchdowns," Stuve said.

High pressure, fast pace

The Warhawks will continue to press and run and sub every couple of minutes or so. They will try to create turnovers, fastbreaks and three-pointers. Stuve said he is not worried about team's adjusting to the Warhawks' style of play.

"If you look at our scores from last year," he said. "In the second go-around in conference, when you expected people to know what was coming from us, we actually scored more points.

"We want to play faster and even more aggressively on defense. We have more kids understanding the system so they know the kind of pace we want to play at."

Stuve is just thrilled at the opportunity that's ahead of the team this year.

"The kids are excited," he said. "We've had a good two weeks of practice and we're ready to get going on Friday. We want to get up to speed and show people what we can do."

Quickly.

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