Kingsland girls start season this week against tough competition

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The Kingsland girls’ basketball season gets underway with a tough schedule this week. New Knights’ coach Steve Hauser, who is looking to build on a 14-win season in 2017-18, is relying on four seniors to lead the team.

He said preseason preparations have gone smoothly ahead of Tuesday night’s anticipated opener against a tough Grand Meadow squad. The game was played after this edition went to press.

“Things are developing really well so far,” he said.

The squad has 18 girls out this season with four seniors, four sophomores and 10 freshmen at the high school level. All four of the seniors — Lauren Buchholtz, Megan Schultz, Nora Jahn and Victoria Hershberger — will be team captains.

“They’re doing a great job of leading by example,” he added, “picking people up when they need it. The captains are also letting the others know when they aren’t quite doing what they should be. Overall, I think we’re right where we need to be but we’re going to find that out when we open with Grand Meadow and Mabel-Canton this week.”

The Knights return two of their five starters from last season, Lauren and Ellie Buchholtz. Those two produced a lot of points on the offensive end last season. Hauser said one of the big keys to success this year will be finding a third consistent scorer to add to their point production. He’s looking for a third scorer that could average between 10 and 12 points a game.

This year’s team will be all about getting up and down the floor as quickly as possible. The Knights don’t have a lot of height on this year’s roster, but they do have some very good athletes.

“We’ve got some decent size but don’t have the 6-foot-4 or 6-5 players that some teams do,” he said, “or that everyone else wishes they had. What we do have is several girls that’ll be able to rotate through. There may be times when we go with a four-guard look to push the ball and create more opportunities than the girls may have been able to do in the past.”

One of Hauser’s biggest goals early in the season is to get the freshmen on the roster acclimated to the game at the varsity level. Some of them got a “taste” of action at the B squad level last year. However, it’s a big jump going from the B squad to JV and up to the varsity level. Hauser said it’s not just that the game gets much faster.

“It’s about understanding what you as a player can and can’t do,” he said. “You’re no longer playing against a ninth-grader, but now it’s against girls who are older and have more experience. With the level of competition in southeast Minnesota, you need to go out and play your best game to have a chance to win.”

The Kingsland girls are looking at a brand-new conference this season, making the jump from the Three Rivers Conference over to the Southeast Conference. However, while the conference is new, the opponents aren’t.

“I would say a lot of these teams from the Southeast Conference were non-conference opponents previously,” Hauser said. “This year, we’ll play the teams in the SEC East Division twice, home-and-away, and teams from the West Division one time.

“This is going to be a tough conference once again,” he added. “Grand Meadow is good, Houston is in our division and they’re good, while Lyle/Pacelli lost two very good seniors but they won state last year. You really can’t replace the experience of going to state.


The Knights were to open at home on Tuesday night, Nov. 27, against Grand Meadow, which Hauser says, “will give us a more accurate idea of where we’re at and what we need to work on.” Kingsland will play its second straight home game to start the season on Friday night against Mabel-Canton. The Knights won’t play their first road game until Dec. 11 with a tough test at Houston.