Waconia girls’ basketball coach Carl Pierson looked at his roster and decided that, lacking height, a different strategy was in order. So Pierson decided to play to his team’s strengths, which are athleticism and quickness.
“We are ‘vertically challenged,’ so we decided to press, trap, and shoot threes all game,” Pierson wrote in an e-mail. “We have a goal of getting a shot off in 10 seconds or less and making our opponent do the same.”
Through two games, it paid off richly for the Wildcats, who won twice at the Hamline Invitational. They defeated St. Anthony 111-104, setting a state record for combined points in a single game, and Providence Academy 91-68.
“It’s like nothing I’ve done in 20 previous years of coaching,” Pierson wrote, ‘but I have to say it fits our kids really well and it’s a ton of fun!”
Here are some other west-metro girls’ basketball stories to keep an eye on this season:
• Hopkins: Can the Royals make it four consecutive state titles? Losses to graduation were heavy, but there is always talent waiting in the wings. They add Jasmyn Martin, a 6-2 freshman transfer from Bloomington Kennedy.
• Bloomington Kennedy: No Martin this year but the guard tandem of Tonoia Wade and Kenisha Bell is the metro’s best.
• Chaska: The Hawks’ transition pains moving back up to Class 4A will be lessened by a veteran lineup led by Ellie Thompson and Kendall Baab.
• Others to watch: Minnetonka, Cooper, St. Michael-Albertville.
• Minneapolis Washburn: Chase Coley, a 6-3 forward and Iowa recruit with exceptional shot-blocking skills, leads the Millers back up to Class 3A.
• Benilde-St. Margaret’s: Future University of Minnesota guard Grace Coughlin is among the metro’s best ballhandlers.
• Delano: Junior guard Brooke Lemke and junior Alex Wittinger, a 6-2 forward, will be a tough inside-outside combo to contain.
• Others to watch: Waconia, DeLaSalle, Holy Family.
• Minnehaha Academy: The Redhawks can build around sophomore guard Sarah Kaminski and junior guard Gracia Gilreath.
• Breck: Look for a breakout season from junior guard Raven DuBois.
• Providence Academy: New coach Jamie Waldo (formerly Broback) has some rebuilding to do.
• Others: Watertown-Mayer, Minneapolis Roosevelt.
• Hopkins plays host to Bloomington Kennedy at 7 p.m. Friday in a rematch of 2013 state tournament finalists.
• Sophomores U-Nique Longs and Alaysha Sutton have transferred to Cooper from Minneapolis Edison.