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Mott-Regent girls basketball looks to build on last season’s late success

The Mott-Regent girls basketball team finished last year as winners of five of its last seven regular-season games before losing to Hettinger-Scranton in overtime in the first round of the Region 7 tournament. With a healthy dose of returners, th...

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Mott-Regent junior center Maddison Johnson, left, defends Trinity’s Chloe Ridl in a game last season on Jan. 17 at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center. (Press File Photo)

The Mott-Regent girls basketball team finished last year as winners of five of its last seven regular-season games before losing to Hettinger-Scranton in overtime in the first round of the Region 7 tournament.
With a healthy dose of returners, the Wildfire look to build on that promising finish and make opposing teams play on their terms.
“We had a nice stretch at the end there,” said head coach Adam Hill, who enters his second season with the Wildfire. “We beat a good Beulah team, we had a tight game with New England, a lot of close games. If we learn to calm down at the end of games, I think we’ll get past those.”
That steadiness, coupled with an athletic roster, sets up Mott-Regent to play in a variety of different ways.
“We have the versatility to go really small and run or go big and pound it in,” Hill said. “The biggest thing we have to do is calm down and execute.”
Execution on both ends of the floor begins with senior Sadie Ambers, who averaged 14.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season.
“Sadie has a nice shooting touch and good footwork for a center,” Hill said. “She’s very versatile. In our first game of the year, we went with three tall girls and put her at the press breaker (usually reserved for guards), and she did well there.”
Junior Maddison Johnson and senior Kaitlyn Duncan will allow the Wildfire to rotate post players without losing height.
“They’re both two good posts we can put in the game,” Hill said. “And with Sadie, they all work well together. We’ll face a lot of zone with our size.”
Mott-Regent also boasts a handful of guards - like senior Amber Friedt and juniors Malynn Kautzman and Ellie Messmer - who will help when the team wants to work a little faster.
“Every one of them is quick and athletic. Now it’s just getting it in their head, like, ‘Let’s run,’” Hill said. “Last year we’d get a defensive rebound and look at the rebounder and not take off. We just need to get in the habit of getting up the floor and getting some easy baskets.”
The Wildfire, 0-3 to start the season, have primarily used a starting rotation of Ambers, Friedt, Kautzman, Messmer and senior Haley Hill, but Adam Hill said he likes the depth that he has off his bench, namely in Duncan, Johnson and senior Abbey Kautzman.
“I have an easy seven or eight that I could start, which is a good thing,” Adam Hill said. “That’s a nice number for a rotation. Quite a few girls can play the two, three or four, and we have a few girls that can play the five.”
With so many options and eight upperclassmen, the Wildfire are hoping their progress at the end of last season shines through this year.
“I never got to see them play basketball (last season) until the first practice because I moved here late in the summer,” Adam Hill said. “The learning curve this year is way less severe, so the hope is to build off of what we did last year. I hope we can win two games in the regional and make some noise in the semifinals, but in this region that’s pretty difficult. It’s something I think we’re capable of, but it’ll be a tough task.”

Mott-Regent Wildfire
Head coach: Adam Hill (second season)
Last year: 7-15, 3-9 Region 7
Returners: Sadie Ambers, Sr. (14.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg); Amber Friedt, Sr.; Haley Hill, Sr.; Kaitlyn Duncan, Sr.; Abbey Kautzman, Sr.; Ellie Messmer, Jr. (7.2 ppg); Maddison Johnson, Jr. (3.7 ppg); Malynn Kautzman, Jr. (3.7 ppg); Jenaya Manolovits, Soph.
Newcomers: Sabrina Kienzle, Jr.; Madison Meier, Fr.

Related Topics: PREP SPORTS
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