Ashwaubenon looking toward youth to jolt program
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON – The Ashwaubenon girls’ basketball team is looking to eradicate a three-year losing streak that dates back to the 2017-18 season.
The Jaguars have gone 24-42 during the span and have broken in many young players in the process.
Included in that record, Ashwaubenon finished 5-13 overall last year and 3-12 in the Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC).
“We’ve had lots of success off the floor,” Ashwaubenon Head Coach Nicky VanLaanen said. “The first thing we stress is to be a good person. We have quality and unselfish kids. They are steady and want to succeed. It’s what brings me back every year.”
Ashwaubenon has been to two state tournaments – one in 2004 (lost in quarterfinals) and another in 2006 where it hoisted the gold ball.
The green and yellow had a difficult time putting the ball through the hoop scoring 50-plus points in only four games last season.
“We couldn’t move kids up and down last year because of COVID-19 restrictions,” VanLaanen said. “Half of my girls would have benefited from another season of junior varsity basketball. The rest of the group embraced the challenge and did what they could with a reduced season and limited contact. We took some lumps, which will benefit us this year. I believe we’ll be able to consistently hit more shots from the perimeter.”
Ashwaubenon lost three seniors from last year’s squad, but the main core of scorers and contributors return.
The formidable frontcourt duo of Senior Nyia Marohl and Junior Hannah Hutto returns after averaging more than 17 points and 10 rebounds combined.
“I’m excited this year for the season,” Marohl said. “It was a struggle at times to get my shot off the way I wanted. With the addition of some quality talent, it will give the older players some rest in the games and put less pressure on us.”
In addition, Bri Lambrecht, Abby Holford and Avery Amenson saw significant time in the backcourt and increased their totals as the season wore on.
“Our two seniors, (Lambrecht) and (Marohl), are due for breakout seasons,” VanLaanen said. “(Lambrecht) was our starting point guard and is capable of taking over a game. (Marohl) is an all-conference performer.”
The potential is there for an increased rotation and better results as Ashwaubenon welcomes in three freshmen (Gianna Guarascio, Addy Phipps and Bella Dahl) and sophomores (Lauren Mader, Ella Senger and Sophia Zabel) who are all competing to see the floor and potentially start.
“I feel like the upperclassmen and underclassmen will mesh well this season,” VanLaanen said. “We had to go with a zone defense much of last year because we didn’t feel confident to play man-to-man in one of the best conferences (FRCC) in the state. Offensively, we are a motion team that uses a few sets. We’ll mix it up more this season.”
2021-22 Ashwaubenon girls’ basketball regular-season schedule
11/16 – @ Algoma – W, 36-27
11/19 – Menasha – W, 32-30
11/23 – @ Sheboygan Falls
11/30 – Pulaski
12/9 – @ Notre Dame Academy
12/14 – @ Green Bay Southwest
12/17 – Bay Port
12/23 – West De Pere
12/28 – Luxemburg-Casco
12/30 – @ Marinette – 1:30 p.m.
1/4 – @ Manitowoc Lincoln
1/7 – @ Green Bay Preble
1/11 – Sheboygan South
1/14 – @ De Pere
1/18 – Sheboygan North
1/21 – @ Pulaski
1/25 – Notre Dame Academy
1/28 – @ Bay Port
2/1 – Green Bay Southwest
2/4 – Green Bay Preble
2/8 – Manitowoc Lincoln
2/11 – De Pere
2/15 – @ Sheboygan South
2/17 – @ Sheboygan North
Sports editor’s note: All games begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.