The Elk River girls’ basketball team began this week with 14 victories, already surpassing last season’s total.
A strong group of four sophomores have made contributions, but junior forward Abi Scheid remains the catalyst.
“She’s been our focal point since her freshman year,” Elks coach Reed Caouette said. “We go as she goes.”
The 6-2 Scheid leads the team in scoring (17.6 points per game) and rebounding (11 per game).
After losing the season opener, the Elk rattled off 13 consecutive victories to set up an important showdown last week at Minnetonka.
Despite a 78-73 loss to the Skippers, Elk River players saw glimpses of themselves developing into the team they hope to become by season’s end.
Scheid spoke with Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about her basketball journey, lessons from the Minnetonka loss and what makes Elk River click.
Q: What are your basketball roots?
A: My mom played in high school at Hopkins Lindbergh. She just signed me up one day and I started playing. Right when I started, I loved it. I had played volleyball and soccer, but basketball was always my favorite.
Q: Basketball is changing so being 6-2 doesn’t mean what it used to. You hear a lot about bigger players who have solid perimeter games or who are good ball handlers. Do you have those elements in your game?
A: I’ve definitely been working on my outside shot and dribbling. I’ve been told that I’m not big enough to be a 5-spot [center] in college basketball. So in the summer I’ve played more at the 4-spot [power forward].
Q: No player is perfect so what are some of the things you’re working on to improve your game?
A: Developing more post moves and being stronger, just the little things. And you can always work on shooting and dribbling more.
Q: You’re scoring leader on the team and you also lead in rebounding. Is rebounding more about desire?
A: Coach always says that rebounding is about effort. It doesn’t just come to you. It’s definitely developed for me over the years, and it’s getting better and better.
Q: Let’s go to the Minnetonka game. You start off down 10-0 and then 16-3. What are you thinking at that point?
A: We definitely dug ourselves a hole. Coach called timeout and said we needed to pick it up. Then soon it was a five-point game, but then we’d be down nine points. But we hung in there and never stopped fighting.
Q: After the game, what was the bigger message that your coach wanted to make sure you understood?
A: He just wanted us to know how good we can be, how much potential we have. We weren’t really down because we knew we didn’t give up in that game.
Q: How important was it to come right back and beat a solid Andover team?
A: It was definitely important because we had to get back to what we do and not hang our heads. We needed to have a short memory. And Andover was an important conference game to win.
Q: When your team is clicking what is it doing well?
A: We run our plays well and score off them. Our outside shooting is a lot better. Some of our guards, like Gabi Haack, Ava Kramer and Danielle Lachmiller, are really shooting well.
David La Vaque