PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Sting prepare for 2017 season with core group

Independent file photo YME’s Kaitlyn Mortenson puts up a shot during their Feb. 16 game against Lakeview.

GRANITE FALLS – A year ago the Yellow Medicine East Sting finished with a 11-14 record. This season with all five starters returning the Sting will look to finish the season above .500.

YME’s leader on the court is senior post player Anna McCosh. Last year McCosh averaged a double-double and will be a force to be reckoned with in the paint.

“We are returning all but 14 scoring points from last years squad,” YME coach Randy Haakenson said. “We are led by our two-time All-Camden Conference performer in Anna McCosh. She averaged 17.3 points per game and 13.3 rebounds per game.”

Joining McCosh in the starting lineup is Hannah Gullickson and Madi Hinz. Hinz was dangerous from beyond the arc last season, knocking down 54 3-pointers. Gullickson did a nice job on the glass, averaging 7.3 rebounds per game.

“Hannah Gullickson and Madi Hinz put together nice seasons as well for us last year,” Haakenson said. “Both players averaged about 10 points per game. Madi hit 54 3-pointers and averaged 5.4 assists per game. Hannah netted 7.3 rebounds per game.”

Meeghen Dahlager and Kaitlyn Mortenson round out the starting lineup. Mortenson averaged 7.5 point, 5.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game last season.

“Meeghen was impetus to our transition game,” Haakenson said. “Her shot has improved immensely this season.”

Kenzie Dyrdahl served as the sixth man for the Sting last season. The junior post player averaged 7.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season.

Other key reserves for the Sting are, Sam Anderson, Kaitlyn Mathiowetz and Chelsey Nieymeyer.

“Chelsey Neimeyer and Kaitlyn Mathiowetz are hard workers who will contribute in helping our team in becoming more successful,” Haakenson said. “We have many reasons to be optimistic with this years ball club. Sam Anderson has played and practiced with a great intensity and confidence.”

The faces are the same, but Haakenson said his team has vastly improved from last year. One of those changes is confidence.

“A lot has changed since last season,” Haakenson said. ” I’m seeing some things, experience aside, that indicate we have the chance to be a very competitive team.”

YME’s season ended last year in the section tournament when they lost to Morris by one point. That heartbreaking loss served as motivation for the Sting this offseason.

“The girls came into the summer with high goals,” Haakenson said. “If we could have started the season in August, we would have done so. They were ready to go. As a coach and as a team, we always hesitate in sharing what we believe will happen this upcoming year. It’s fair in saying that we will compete hard and hope that all of our off season preparation has paid off. We have a great group of kids.”