Ashwaubenon looking to replace all five starters
BY MURRAY GLEFFE
ASHWAUBENON – The Ashwaubenon girls’ basketball team lost all five starters from a season ago.
Over 80 percent of their scoring and rebounding is gone.
Three of those who graduated, Megan Servais, Autumn Schlader and Peyton Wright are playing college basketball on a squad that went 14-11.
“We lost a lot of floor leadership, scoring and overall talent,” said Ashwaubenon head coach Nicky VanLaanen. “It was a special group of girls that put in the time over a number of years to be as good as they were. It was the best offensive transition group I’ve ever coached. They will be missed.”
This team will have a completely different look to it, in that seven juniors, two sophomores and one freshman comprise the entire roster.
Even though the Jags are young, the cupboard isn’t completely dry.
Ashwaubenon’s junior varsity team went undefeated in 2017-18 and 70 percent of the current team is comprised of that group.
“I’m excited to see how this group develops at the varsity level,” added VanLaanen. “You have to adapt to what the team throws your way. Each girl has different strengths and we try to mold that into our offensive and defensive strategies. The strength of a program is to develop your youth and underclassmen to get to this position. I feel like we have done that.”
Two key reserves from last year, Lydia Schaible and Kally VanLaanen, will lead the way for the Jaguars. Both averaged around five points per game and are the only two girls on the current roster that have varsity experience.
“Kally and Lydia will obviously be key components not just to start the year but throughout the season,” said VanLaanen. “Kally will be counted on to run the offense and provide outside shooting, while Lydia will give us a real consistent post threat night in and night out.”
The offense and defense will have a different feel for the Jaguars team as well.
“We will go to a lot more half-court sets,” said VanLaanen. “This group can shoot the ball and isn’t afraid to work the clock. Defensively, I feel like our on-ball pressure will be good in the half court. The girls get after it and I think it will be our number one strength heading into the opener against Seymour.”
In addition to the newcomers from the junior varsity team, Ashwaubenon brings in an ultra-talented freshman in Lily Hansford.
Hansford, who has already received an offer from Kevin Borseth at UWGB before even playing in her first varsity game, regularly scored 40-plus points at the middle-school level.
“Lily brings a tremendous IQ and scoring ability to our program,” said VanLaanen. “She has played in a ton of big games during summer ball and has tremendous confidence in herself as a player. It will be exciting to see her game continue to elevate these next four years.”
The Jaguars are picked anywhere from fifth to eighth in recent publications.
“I feel like Bay Port and Green Bay Southwest will be the favorites with as much as those squads bring back,” Van Laanen added. “I also feel like there are around five teams that could push into the upper tier of the conference amongst the FRCC schedule.”
Assisting Coach VanLaanen this year will be Tony Schneider, Adam Woodworth and Jordan Wypiszynski.
Ashwaubenon Roster: Madi Appleton, Elyse Ark, Erica Conrad, Lily Hansford, Crystal Kunesh, Lydia Schaible, Brenna Schlader, Rylie Severson, Kally VanLaanen and Anna Wendorf
For a complete listing of the 2018-19 schedule, log on to foxriverclassicconference.com.