High-speed Warhawks girls roll to two opening basketball wins
Experienced GT team to contend in NSC
Germantown - High-speed rail may be dead in Wisconsin, but if you want to catch the fast-moving train that is going to be the Germantown girls basketball team this winter, you better look fast: The experienced Warhawks will press, run and turn you over faster than any of those 200-mile-an-hour bullet trains zip across the European countryside.
Germantown forced 38 turnovers out of a good Kettle Moraine Lutheran team in a 62-58 opening night win on Nov. 20 and then forced overmatched Hartford to give it up 33 times in a 66-43 rout Saturday as the Warhawks started the campaign at 2-0.
"We definitely have some high expectations out of this group," coach Matt Stuve said. "We have about 80 percent of our scoring back with many kids back who saw significant minutes last year. They know what level we're expecting them to perform at and they're confident in what they can do."
The Warhawks, who were a competitive 9-15 last season, will build around seven key returnees this winter.
The highlight out of that list is 5-10 sophomore forward Taylor Higginbotham, who was second-team All-North Shore Conference last season.
Senior returnees include 5-10 Courtney Mehring (honorable mention All-NSC), 5-10 Megan Johnston and 5-10 Lauren Grotjahn. Junior returnees include 5-8 point guard Paige Groth and 5-10 Miska Cantley, while 5-9 sophomore Val Meissner is also a point guard.
Seniors 5-7 Addy Green and 5-8 Siobahn McDonnell will help out greatly, while 5-9 junior post Bridget Kelley has already been a find.
"It's interesting," Stuve said. "Most of our posts are around 5-7, 5-8 and all our guards are around 5-10, but so far it's working for us. We implemented a few changes for this season: We want to play at a little higher temperature and we're going to increase the pressure.
"Right now, we have about eight kids who can be starters and about two to four others behind them who know what they're doing and who can help out."
Stuve sees the North Shore as up for grabs this year. Four-time champ Nicolet has been hit hard by graduation, while expected contender Whitefish Bay has had an unexpected defection and an injury to returning All-Suburban center Maya Jonas slow them down.
Cedarburg looks to be an early favorite, but Stuve knows that his team has a good opportunity here.
"We're going to try and improve on the things we do best," he said. "We have kids who like to compete and who are pretty confident. They trust each other and they know not one person will have to carry us."
The Warhawks open conference play at Bay (0-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and then visit returning Greater Metro Conference champion Sussex Hamilton (2-0) on Tuesday.
Against Hartford, Germantown got out to a 17-7 first quarter lead and never looked back as 12 different players scored led by Mehring and Grotjahn with nine points apiece and Kelley, Meissner and Groth with eight each.
Against a good KML team that returned three starters, Germantown led most of the way and had a 10-point advantage late before the Chargers rallied and cut it to three late, but then Higginbotham hit five-of-six free throws late to seal the victory.
Higginbotham had 14 points to lead the way, while Kelly had 12, Johnston 10 and Grotjahn nine.
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