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PREVIEW: Tiger girls open against Dockers

Mike Granlund

For the Telegram

The Northwestern High School girls basketball team opens play Thursday with a non-conference home game against the Ashland Oredockers.

Coach Richard Windt’s Tigers are looking to move up in the Heart O’ North Conference standings after two straight third-place finishes. Last year’s 17-7 season gives the Tigers a 50-21 record over the past three years.

The Tigers defeated the defending HON champion Hayward once last season and lost a 38-35 decision to the Hurricanes in the WIAA Division 3 tournament.

Last season’s Superior Telegram Player of the Year Katie Lundeen returns after averaging 18 points and eight rebounds a game. The 5-foot-10 forward, and first-team all-HON selection, is 200 points shy from 1,000 points for her NHS career.

Samantha Hoegan returns in the post and at 6-1 gives the Tigers good height inside. Kasha Hughlett (6-0) will rotate inside with Lundeen and Hoegan and junior Mac Correll returns as a starter at guard.

Candidates to join the starting team, and the varsity roster, include returning seniors Sydney Anderson and Kayla Pajtash; junior Tory Anderson; and sophomores Kennedy Nelson, Karsyn Jones and Tavia Plash.

“I think we will be right in the mix this year in the HON,” Windt said. “As long as we stay healthy, I think we will compete with any team in our conference.

“We have plenty of work ahead of us, but we do have high expectations for our season.”

Windt is also impressed with his group of sophomores and a good group of freshmen that will provide the Tigers with a “C” team this season and a bright future for the program.

Windt sees the usual suspects as favorites in the HON, including Hayward, which returns Madelyn Neff. The reigning HON Player of the Year, has committed to play next season for the Division I Richmond Spiders.

Bloomer lost a very good senior class but return height, including 6-0 post player Sierra Raine.

Barron and Ladysmith should have good teams again this season after finishing 7-7 in the HON; and Cumberland, Spooner and Chetek-Weyerhaueser will be working to get into the upper half of the conference.

“I expect Bloomer and Hayward to be very good this season,” Windt said. “Both teams are very talented and return veteran players. Hayward also returns all-conference player Trinity Myer, and Bloomer has a plethora of good guards to go along with Raine.

“I also expect Ladysmith and Barron to be better as both teams are getting a good freshmen classes in this year.”

TIGER TALES: NHS players who graduated in 2017 were Cassidy Friend, Laryssa Vik, Lyndzee Parker and Brooklyn Oswskey. … Tiger varsity games are scheduled for 7:15 p.m. with the junior varsity and “C” teams games starting at 5:45 p.m. … Windt’s assistant coaches are Kraig Anderson and Ben Carlson.

Northwestern Tigers

2017-18 Girls Basketball Schedule

Thur., Nov 16..... vs. Ashland, 7:15 p.m.

Mon., Nov 27..... at Cameron, 7:15 p.m.

Fri., Dec 1.......... vs. Chetek, 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Dec 5........ at Spooner, 7:15 p.m.

Fri., Dec 8.......... vs. Hayward, 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Dec 12...... vs. Barron, 7:15 p.m.

Fri., Dec 15........ at Bloomer, 7:15 p.m.

Thur., Dec 21..... vs. Cumb., 7:15 p.m.

Cloquet Tournament

Wed., Dec 27..... vs. Blake, 1 p.m.

Thur., Dec 28..... vs. TBA, 1 p.m.

Fri., Jan 5........... at Ladysmith, 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Jan 9......... vs. Rice Lake, 7:15 p.m.

Thur., Jan 11...... at Chetek, 7:15 p.m.

Sat., Jan 13....... at St. Croix Central, 2 p.m.

Tue., Jan 16....... vs. Spooner, 7:15 p.m.

Thur., Jan 18...... at Hayward, 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Jan 23....... vs. Washburn, 7:30 p.m.

Thur., Jan 25...... at Barron, 7:15 p.m.

Fri., Feb 2........... vs. Bloomer, 7:15 p.m.

Thur., Feb 8........ at Cumb., 7:15 p.m.

Sat., Feb 10....... at Grantsburg, 2:30 p.m.

Fri., Feb 16......... vs. Lady., 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Feb 20    WIAA Regional, TBA