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Mott-Regent girls basketball hopes for stronger season in 20-21

Following a 3-9 overall record in 2019-20, the Wildfire hope to return to its success as it had in the '18-19 season.

010819.MRgbb Madison Rafferty.JPG
Mott-Regent freshman guard Madison Rafferty drives into the lane against Dickinson Trinity on Monday, Jan. 7, from the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

Despite enduring a tougher 2019-20 season, the Mott-Regent girls basketball team looks to bounce back in the upcoming ‘20-21 season and be known as one of the better teams in Class B Region 7.

After having a 13-13 overall record in ‘18-19, the Wildfire’s ‘19-20 season featured a large number of close games, but with most of them going to its opponents. The team ended with a 8-16 overall record and placed ninth in the region with a 3-9 record. The team saw its season end with a 57-46 loss to Beulah.

The Wildfire will be going into the upcoming season with the loss of former seniors Kiara Koepplin and Karagan Friedt. However, the team has no seniors on the varsity roster this season, allowing for a growth period to become potentially one of the stronger teams in the region come next winter.

Mott-Regent is projected to finish eighth in Class B Region 7.

With four juniors, one sophomore, two ninth-graders, and an eighth-grader, head coach Sara Siedler believes the team could see very much the same amount of close-game encounters as it did a season prior but hopes to pull out more wins based on last season’s experience.

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“We’re a really young team,” Siedler said. “They work really hard, they got a lot of grit and last year we had some really good games … They really just play until the final buzzer and really perceive through everything. I’m really looking forward to having another season with them and seeing how they do this year.”

Mott-Regent will be led by junior Madison Rafferty, the 5-foot-6-inch guard was an All-Region selection last season and is a strong shooter for the team. Rafferty will be assisted by forward Hailee Olson, a strong post player and good offensive rebounder.

The Wildfire are also looking forward to the return of junior center Kattie Honeymann who was forced to miss all of last season due to injury.

As for additional players to watch, Siedler noted that ninth-graders Jazlyn Ottmar and Kendra Auch will be key contributors to the Wildfire.

Eighth-grader Samantha Greff will be making her varsity debut this season. Sielder said the 5-foot-9-inch athlete is a “very strong and physical postplayer but we can also put her at guard if need be.”

While the team played strong particularly in the second and third quarter last season, Siedler hopes to see her team get off to a stronger start in the first quarter which could highly benefit the team in the closing minutes of play.

“It just seems like we always get such a slow start,” she said. “We need to just get rid of those nerves right away and we need to attack hard from the beginning and get our confidence built up from there.”

For Siedler, the goal this season is to build the team’s chemistry and confidence and use this season to help the team late in the season and carry into next season.

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“I just think that we can be really competitive with the other teams in our region,” she said. “I know that region seven is a tough region but right now it’s pretty much on everyone’s list to just stay healthy. But the goal for us is to get to the regional tournament and work from there.

“We don’t have any seniors so we’re really just hoping to keep improving so that we can be a threat this year and even next year be able to bring everyone back and really be a known team,” Siedler added.

Mott-Regent played its first game of the season on Monday at home but lost Center-Stanton 52-49.

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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