Trojans to run and gun, play pressure defense
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – Coming off a 12-4, COVID-19-shortened season, the Green Bay Southwest Trojans girls’ basketball team looks to continue that momentum into a new year.
“I’m excited to get back to normal with things,” Southwest Head Coach Berri West said. “Last season, we couldn’t practice on the weekends, so we’d have five days in the gym and sometimes three or four games (per week). It was intense, with lots of strategy and film watching at night. The kids had to do lots on their own.”
West said with what her team went through last season, it’s made her feel good about this year.
“We were young a season ago,” she said. “Coming out of it at 12-4, it should bode well for us. It was nice to have a normal offseason. We have a full schedule for the varsity, we’re back to lifting weights – we couldn’t lift last year – and have a normal practice schedule.”
West said Notre Dame Academy and De Pere are the two favorites in the Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC), but opponents can’t count her team out.
“It’s deserved,” she said. “I don’t think anyone expected us to finish 12-4 with half a season and take out some of those teams that were playing full schedules. I only had two kids last year with varsity experience – we surprised some people.”
The Trojans will have to replace two starters from last season: LaCyia Hill and Madison McFerrin.
The two were the top scorers from 2020-21 and combined for more than 26 points per game.
“It will be tough to replace them,” West said. “A benefit for us this season will be our balanced scoring. In the past, Southwest has had one or two big scorers. This year, we have quite a few scorers, some of them coming off the bench who will be contributing. That’s a big advantage to us. We don’t have one phenomenal shooter, but we have six or seven who can shoot the 3-pointer, including my post player.”
West said she has two players more than 6-feet tall, two who are good dribblers and can bring the ball up and multiple shooters.
“That’s something that’ll be different for Southwest,” she said. “It’s exciting.”
The Trojans’ leading scorer returning from last season is Addison Pytleski, who averaged 9.1 points per game.
“(Pytleski) will be my starting point guard,” West said. “Besides the two seniors we lost, everybody will be back.”
West said the FRCC will be wide open behind the two top teams in De Pere and Notre Dame.
“We’ve become rivals with Bay Port and Pulaski,” she said. “We are schools that seem to graduate lots of seniors – usually – and have to replace players. They also have similar styles to what we do – get up the floor. There are several new coaches in the conference who can also throw some wrinkles into the mix. I know Ashwaubenon has a big and talented freshmen group. Aside from De Pere and Notre Dame, it should be wide open.”
West said her coaching style won’t change – get up and down the floor.
“That’s always been my style,” she said. “We want quick outlets, pressure defense and go for the steal rather than sitting back. We like to switch up defenses and mess with teams that way.”
2021-22 Green Bay Southwest girls’ basketball regular-season schedule
12/2 – @ Menasha – 7:15 p.m.
12/3 – @ Notre Dame Academy
12/7 – De Pere
12/9 – Green Bay Preble
12/14 – Ashwaubenon
12/17 – @ Pulaski
1/4 – @ Sheboygan South
1/7 – Manitowoc Lincoln
1/11 – Bay Port
1/14 – @ Sheboygan North
1/18 – @ Oneida Nation – 5:30 p.m.
1/21 – Notre Dame Academy
1/25 – @ Ashwaubenon
2/4 – @ Manitowoc Lincoln
2/8 – Sheboygan South
2/11 – Sheboygan North
2/15 – @ Bay Port
2/17 – @ De Pere
Sports editor’s note: All games begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.