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Bowman County brings back experience, depth

Press File Photo Bowman County senior Morgan Woodley, left, drives past Dickinson Trinity’s Gretchen Weir, middle, and Rachel Jahner during last year’s Region 7 Tournament on March 12 at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

The Bowman County girls basketball team began postseason play last year with the No. 6 seed in District 13.

When the season was all said and done, the woes of play during the regular season were gone and the Bulldogs placed third in the Region 7 Tournament.

Bowman County returns with a similar lineup this season as seven players — including three starters — has seen quality varsity time.

“It is certainly a goal (to finish higher than we did last season),” Bowman County head coach Pam Fisher said. We have finished third the last two years. It certainly gives us a target. We want to finish higher than third.”

The three returning starters are seniors Morgan Woodley (forward), Kaitlyn Dix (forward) and Brittany Hansey (guard). Woodley was named an all-District 13 player last year.

The four returners with substantial varsity experience are juniors Justyce Duffield (forward), Kaylee Heinrich (forward), Ariana Zook (guard) and Rebecca Fisher (guard).

“We have eight returning letterwinners and three returning starters” Fisher said. “We have seven players who saw pretty significant action last year.”

As a team, the Bulldogs finished with the second-most points scored per game in Region 7 at 53.8 — the only other team with a higher point total was four-time defending Region 7 champion Beach (63.4). Bowman County was in the middle of the pack in scoring defense, allowing 46.7 points per game. The Bulldogs finished their season with a 15-10 overall record.

Through the first week of practice, Pam Fisher said she is pleased with the offensive side. The defensive side just needs to pick up, however.

“We have the experience and we have the depth,” she said. “It looks like we are going to be able to put some points on the board and score. If there are things that we need to be working on right now, it would be our defensive effort and rebounding.”

The Bulldogs don’t want to recreate an episode of last year where the team struggled throughout the regular season, but caught fire in the postseason. This season, the Bulldogs won’t have the luxury of opening its postseason play at the District 13 Tournament. Region 7 has turned into a super-regional where all 12 teams make the tournament.

Fisher hopes her team can stay consistent throughout the regular season and play well at the Region 7 Tournament.

“It makes every game count,” she said. “We cannot have a season performance like we did last year where we finished sixth in the district and then had very good tournaments. We need to find a way to play through the season like we are capable. With this super-region format, it is going to be more important.

“It should help teams keep their focus and play every game hard, because the win and loss record in the season really matters more than it has in the past.”