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Owl Girls basketball season kicks off this week

The Hancock Owls girls basketball team will kick off their season with a home game tonight, Dec. 2. The team has three returning starters with six newcomers to the varsity. The returning starters include junior center Kendra Schmidgall, senior guard Aria Walstad and senior guard Illissa Koehl.

Completing the team are junior forward Abby Ascheman, junior guard Shae Brown, junior forward Olivia Koehl, sophomore forward Courtney Greiner, sophomore guard Serandon Bigalke and freshman forward Sami Schmidgall. The team captains are Aria Walstad and Illissa Koehl.

The Owls are coming off a Pheasant Conference championship from last year when they were 22-4 overall and 6-0 in the conference. Key players lost from last year are Bree Holleman, Lindsie Cunningham and Kaylee Voorhees.

Jodi Holleman is in her 14th year coaching the Owls. She will be assisted this year by Chad Christianson and Oray Tangen. Holleman listed the strengths in that the team finally has some height and should then have an edge on the boards and a balanced inside/outside attack.

"We have good overall quickness which will help on the presses and fast break attack," stated Holleman. "We have some excellent shooters that are fundamentally sound."

Holleman added that it will be tough to replace the leadership, scoring and ball handling provided by Holleman, Cunningham and Voorhees in the guard positions. Holleman predicts that the Pheasant Conference will be fairly balanced this year and the title could be up for grabs. She picks Barnesville, Underwood and Parkers Prairie as the top teams in Section 6A.