NEW AUBURN — Experience is everywhere you look on the New Auburn girls basketball team.
The Trojans have seven key contributors back from last year, including several girls who got significant experience in the starting lineup. The team is looking to build on that experience in order to be competitive in every game this winter.
“We really believe that we can compete against anyone we’re going to play against,” New Auburn first-year coach Karson Rihn said. “There are going to be struggles. There’s going to be bad games, bad lapses, but we don’t see why we can’t compete every night and take a shot at the conference.
“But it’s going to be about showing up every day and doing the right things in order for us to get there.”
Despite having a lot of players back from last year, New Auburn is still fairly young. There is a large contingency of juniors to go along with some sophomores and freshmen on the Trojans’ roster this year. Juniors Nadia Rada, Emily Bischel, Anna Koteras and Azanie Hoege all are back with varsity experience and will see a lot of minutes this season.
Christina Gordon is the only senior on the team, but Rihn said leadership hasn’t been an issue early on.
“(We’re) having that leadership really come from a lot of our juniors, and one junior in particular: Nadia Rada. She’s really taking the helm for us,” he said.
Junior Haley Vaughn, sophomores Savannah Harshman and Faith Baker and freshmen Zoey Rada and Violet Hyke will flesh out the depth for the Trojans, who have solid participation numbers in the program.
Nadia Rada scored 16 points in the Trojans’ season-opening 51-35 loss to Prairie Farm on Nov. 16, while Zoey Rada added seven of her own. The team also dropped a game against Northwood on Tuesday, 64-28.
“Overall, I thought we were a lot farther ahead than where I thought we were going to be. We handled the ball fairly well,” Rihn said of the team’s first game. “But what struggled for us was we had a lot of bad passing angles, we didn’t get them where we needed to get...but we had a lot of leadership out there. We had girls doing the right things for the most part.”
In order to be successful, New Auburn is looking to rely on its length and athleticism this winter. They’ve got some height in the form of 6-foot Bischel and 5-foot-9 Hoege.
“The overall thing is rebounding. We have some pretty good size, but we’re not thick. We’re not super strong. So we have to use our bodies to get to where we need to get. If we can rebound and do those things, we can put ourselves in position to score every night,” Rihn said.
The Trojans have also stressed ball security and efficiency early on as they look to improve on last year’s 3-16 record.
New Auburn has games against Webster and Lac Courte Oreilles before opening East Lakeland Conference play against Flambeau on Dec. 12.