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This year, Bowman County girls basketball will look to run

With most of his team's height lost to the churning wheels of graduation, Bowman County girls basketball head coach Jaden Schoch has decided he wants his team to get with the times.

Bowman County senior Mikayla Bartholomay, left, looks to pass against Watford City during last season's girls Roughrider Tournament on Dec. 10, 2015, at Killdeer High School. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Bowman County senior Mikayla Bartholomay, left, looks to pass against Watford City during last season's girls Roughrider Tournament on Dec. 10, 2015, at Killdeer High School. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

With most of his team's height lost to the churning wheels of graduation, Bowman County girls basketball head coach Jaden Schoch has decided he wants his team to get with the times.

Last year, on their way to a 13-10 record, he described the Bulldogs' play as a slow-it-down, grind-it-out style.

But the 1990s are over, and that type of basketball is going by way of the flip-phone. At its highest level, the game is shifting toward fast-paced offenses and small-ball lineups.

This year, Schoch hopes to bring a little bit of that style to North Dakota high school basketball.

"That's one of our main goals, to get out. We don't want to sit and play a slow, half-court style of offense. We want to push it as much as we can," he said. "We were a slower team last year. This year we're going to look to really push the ball. We're going to have to be in prime condition."

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Pulling the strings of the Bulldogs' new look offense will be point guard Mikayla Bartholomay, the team's only senior, who, in a featured role last year, averaged almost 10 points per game.

But lots of other reinforcements will be back this season from a team that graduated only a tiny portion of its scoring. Forward Meggie Fischer and Ellie Stafford were both underclassmen last year, and both averaged double digits.

Stafford, a sophomore 5-foot-11 center, is one of four freshmen from last year's team that was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Region 7 tournament last season.

With those girls a year older, Schoch hopes they can help some of the older players - particularly his one senior - to carry the load of a long season.

"We have some point guards coming up. We have a sophomore point guard, Maury Burke. Then Abi Bartholomay, Mikayla's sister. She'll be another one that's coming up," he said. "We have a lot of replacements, so we're going to try to take some of the pressure off Mikayla this year, maybe see if we can move her around to different spots and try to throw some teams off balance."

The Bulldogs have their eyes set on steady improvement. If they could up their win total from 13 to say, 17 or 18, that would be more than suffice. Their first game - a 51 point victory over Maple Valley on Saturday, was a step in the right direction.

But win totals aside, they'll have to wait until the Region 7 tournament to try for their biggest objective this season.

"We know what our goal is - we want to make the third day of the tournament and see where that takes us," Schoch said. "We know we have a lot of work to do. I think our region is going to be pretty competitive this year. I don't think there's one frontrunner. Any one of the 12 teams can win a game on any given night, so we have to be mentally and physically ready."

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Bowman County Bulldogs

Head coach: Jaden Schoch

Returners: Mikayla Bartholomay, Sr., Josie Smyle, Sr., Meggie Fisher, Jr., Cassidy Walby, Jr., Ellie Stafford, Soph., Maury Burke, Soph., Cashae McGee, Soph., Abi Bartholomay, Soph.

Related Topics: PREP SPORTS
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