The Mott-Regent girl’s basketball team overall had a very successful 2018-19 season thanks to a strong mid-season run, but had an abrupt ending. This season could see some of the same, but could also be very different.

The Wildfire had an average start to its season, but a 9-3 push midway through the season sparked the team to a run that inspired them to be labeled one of the better teams in Region 7, finishing the season with a 13-10 record. The team seemed to be on the verge of success, and after defeating Killdeer in the Regional play-in game, the team looked to be on the right track. Sadly, a showdown with the Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks in the second round of the Region 7 tournament forced the team to surrender its season.

“It’s exciting to see what they did last year and see how much growth they have (going) into this year,” head coach Sara Seidler.

Like any team, the Wildfire will be losing one of its elite athletes in Bree Friedt, the All-Region center who was a key member of the team, along with forward Alora Warner.

“We’re really going to have to split the roles between every one,” Seidler said. “Brie was a great all-around player … we’re looking at our post players to really step it up in the paint, get the rebounds …. Along with that, we’ll be looking for a new leader to step up and take control of the floor for us.”

Fortunately, the team will be having a large portion of its team returning and will be led by senior guards Kiara Koepplin, a guard with incredible stamina and a great quick and defensive player, and senior Karagan Friedt will be able to lead the team in the post, a strong rebounder and able to drain mid-range jumpers if needed.

As for underclassmen the team will look at sophomore guards Madison Rafferty as well as Hailee Olson in the forward position.

“Madison, she’s a good basketball player, Seidler said. “She’s really stepping into that role as (leader) as well, knowing that we’re going to rely on her for the outside shooting and she’s just got a good basketball IQ and she can read the floor.”

For strengths, the team is able to put almost any player in any position and trust that they can make the plays needed to succeed. The team may also be young, but the sophomore’s, such as Rafferty, have been playing varsity since eighth-grade, and are prepared to help lead the team.

As for weaknesses, the team is attempting to adjust with its height loss, especially with losing 5-foot-11 Friedt. The team’s tallest athletes are now only 5-foot-8 in Olson and Meier. The team will also be working on its mental toughness throughout the season.

“We don’t have much height, but they’re strong and they’re really hard working,” Seidler said. “They don’t give up.”

The Mott-Regent girl’s basketball team may have ended earlier than it had hoped, but it gained a lot of respect with its aggressive surge midway through the season. The team hopes to continue that success throughout this season.

“The region is going to be really tough just looking at all the teams, they bring back a lot of upperclassmen …. Other teams are going to bring experience, but I feel that we are going to be able to compete … they’re just going to keep pushing through and we’re just going to have to find what works for our smaller group and go from there and learn as the season goes,” Seidler said.

The Wildfire will begin the 2019-20 season with a series of road games, starting at Flasher-Carson-Elgin-New Leipzig on Dec. 11 at the New Salem/Almont Tournament and will have its first home game on Dec. 20 against Faith.