Killdeer girls look primed to challenge for top of region
KILLDEER -- The Killdeer girls basketball team was close -- painfully close -- to defeating Dickinson Trinity in the semifinals of last season's Region 7 Tournament.
KILLDEER - The Killdeer girls basketball team was close - painfully close - to defeating Dickinson Trinity in the semifinals of last season's Region 7 Tournament.
The Cowboys missed four of five free throws in the final eight seconds of an eventual one-point loss. Ever determined, though, head coach Ashlee Viveros said her team is ready for another run at the top, and she's not alone. Killdeer was picked as the top team in Region 7 entering the season, according to the coaches poll in the North Dakota Girls Hoopster preview magazine.
With seven seniors on the roster and a wealth of versatility at all positions, the Cowboys could be primed to prove everybody exactly right.
"We are extremely happy with how things have been developing with this group," Viveros said. "I think we have the potential to do great things, but I have a lot of respect for all the teams in this region. Those top six or seven teams, it's super competitive."
Junior Trae Murray, an All-Region player last season, has recovered from a hip injury suffered in the spring, and that bodes well for the Cowboys' chances. At 5-foot-10, she's agile enough to play just about anywhere.
"She's probably the most versatile player I've coached yet. She's very good in the post, but she can handle the ball," Viveros said. "She's worked on her shot, and for me, she has the green light."
Running the offense, Viveros sees junior Sydney Anderson as one of the better point guards in the region.
"She can really get to the basket. She is developing her shot more, and she's strong. It's not often you get a point guard that is the strongest girl in the group," Viveros said. "She's a great leader and one of those players we're going to look to for scoring."
Senior Gabi Flaget played in the post last season but is running at the three position this year. Senior Taycee Butts, Viveros said, is a forward that can shoot the ball. Sophomore Shawnee Hansen brings a lot of hustle and has her fingerprints on all areas of the game.
Junior Bridgette Reiss and seniors Morgan Marquardt and Kiara Mason will be valuable off the bench, Viveros said. Karly Bang played well in the region tournament last season as a freshman, and Viveros is hoping that play transfers over into her sophomore season.
Viveros has a lot of pieces to work with, and she said she has the confidence to use any of them. For a team looking to make amends for its close encounter last season, that could be a winning combination.
"It was such an emotional thing last year because they were so very close," Viveros said. "In hindsight, I think Trinity was the best representation of our region. Now this year, I hope it's a different story."
Head coach: Ashlee Viveros
2015-16 result: 15-10 overall, Fourth place in Region 7 Tournament
Returners: Maleah Schmeling, Sr., Cate Fredericks, Sr., Morgan Marquardt, Sr., Gabi Flaget, Sr., Taycee Butts, Sr., Kiara Mason, Sr.,Trae Murray, Jr., Bridgette Reiss, Jr.,
Newcomers: Maddie Hill, Sr., Corrie Dobitz, Hannah Kling, Steena Larsen, Chenneth Morlock.