HARTINGTON — The Cedar Catholic High School girls basketball team is synonymous with excellence and the new campaign – pandemic be darned – could add to that legacy.
Head coach Craig Wortmann enters his fourth year coming off the heels of a fourth-place finish at last year’s Class D1 state tournament despite an 11-15 overall record that was composed of a murderer’s row of opponents from start to finish.
The best season under Wortmann can only mean the expectations have been raised.
“We have good senior leadership which will be our strong point at practice and throughout the season,” Wortmann said. “But we will not be very deep. We only have 15 total players on our roster.
“We will try to play up-tempo as much as possible but will be ready to play hard man-to-man defense.”
The Lady Trojans will come at their opponents behind a senior class that includes seniors Makenzie Arens, Elly Becker, Gracie Dickes, Megan Heimes, Brynn Wortmann and Brooklyn Kuehn. Juniors Jordyn Steffen and Cady Uttecht and sophomores Makenna Noecker and Laney Kathol should also provide plenty of good play regardless of the look the squad throws to the opposition.
Five freshmen will add depth to the squad and should offer some surprises here and there and maybe, if lucky, everywhere.
“We have a good number of freshmen, so they are coming in to take some spots,” Brynn Wortmann said. “A lot of people are coming in and stepping up and showing they know what do so things are looking good so far.”
Brynn Wortmann said the team should have plenty of offensive firepower.
“Our offense is pretty experienced there and we have good chemistry. We can see the court pretty well and we know what our weaknesses and strengths are,” she said. “We have some pretty good shooters and the girls on the inside work really hard and are pretty strong in there.”
Defense is a work in progress, though, she said.
“The concern would probably be on defense. We can usually score – we are pretty decent at that – but defense is our biggest struggle. We definitely have to work on moving our feet,” she said.
All that could equal another state run after the tweaks are addressed.
“State is an expectation at this point,” Brynn Wortmann said. “I would say we have girls that have played some last year so they know what it’s like so they can step up and take roles or whatever they need to do.”
The competition will once again be loaded with top teams ranging from C1 to D2 on the schedule and the Lady Trojans will have to find a way to battle it out.
“I look forward to the tough season,” Coach Wortmann said. “We will have Pierce and Boone Central and Crofton.”
Then of course will come the game of cat and mouse with the virus.
“Time will tell but I am hopeful that we can get through our season with little delays,” Coach Wortmann said.
Brynn Wortmann said the season should be played without fans if it could help save it if it came under threat.
“It does help that people are there cheering and stuff, but if it comes to no one there or no games, then I would rather play,” she said. “We can get excited ourselves and our bench can be loud enough to make up for the people who don’t come. I would rather no fans and play than not playing at all. If people can’t come that does suck, but at the end of the day we have to get back to state again so … that’s the goal.”
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