The Mishicot girls basketball team has recently experienced a lot of success, and first-year head coach Bob Hagenow intends on keeping it going.
Hagenow was hired in late September as the successor to Jeremy Stryhn, who led the Indians to a memorable sectional finals appearance in 2011 but stepped down at the end of last season’s regional semifinal appearance to spend more time with his family.
While it may be Hagenow’s first year with Mishicot, it isn’t his first time coaching. He previously coached the Indians’ boys basketball team in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons and has been coaching middle school basketball teams for a number of years. As a physical education teacher in the Mishicot School District, Hagenow said he also had been able to see players in that capacity. Still, going forward Hagenow knows the difficulty of being a first-year coach.
“I was behind the eight ball when it came to evaluating talent,” Hagenow said when asked about the Indians’ first weeks of practice. “Aside from my experience on the boys’ side, I also don’t know much about the conference.”
Fortunately for Hagenow Mishicot lost only one assistant coach in the offseason, meaning he has been brought up to speed on what can be expected from the Olympian Conference schedule. Mishicot also features a veteran squad that Hagenow said has picked up his swing/flex offense fairly well.
Four seniors who tallied substantial minutes last season are back and have adapted to an offense somewhat difference than the one that was established under Stryhn. Hagenow is emphasizing the importance of playing selflessly and distributing the ball, whereas Stryhn’s offense was much more fast-paced and ran through last year’s Herald Times Reporter All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year Krista Kadow, who has since graduated.
“Our biggest strength is our team chemistry. We have a great group of girls who understand what their roles and strengths are. Overall, athleticism we have a fair amount of,” Hagenow said. “One of the biggest things we are trying to incorporate (in the offense) is team chemistry and our willingness to play together and players knowing their role. We need trust when times get tough. those things separate good teams from great teams.”
After the departure of Kadow, the Indians will turn to three-year starter Nicole Meissner, who Hagenow said has become a consistent leader on and off the court while showing the ability to get to the rim and being an aggressive defender. Hagenow also said sophomore Morgan Melichar has shown flashes during training camp of being great at getting to the rim, with the Indians hoping she recovers from a recent knee injury before the home stretch of the regular season occurs. Maria Endries, another Mishicot sophomore, will be expected to step up in the post while Hagenow says the team will need a sixth man in order to be successful as well.
Despite being an undersized team, the Indians will approach defense with a man-to-man philosophy. Hagenow said the biggest question mark the team has is its commitment to defense and getting to spots in order to eliminate the opponents’ offensive abilities.
“They understand the idea that we aren’t big,” Hagenow said. “I want them to be able to get where they need to be and we plan on using our athletes in the right spots.”
In large part because of the coaching switch, Mishicot has been chosen in preseason predictions to be in the middle or bottom of the OC. Hagenow hopes, that like his coaching idol Bo Ryan, he will be able to put his players in a position to exceed expectations of those on the outside despite having high expectations internally.
“I know we’ve been picked to finish somewhere in the middle to lower portions of the conference, but my goal is to get us in the top portion,” Hagenow said. “I know that if we commit to defense and keep our team chemistry through the season we have a realistic shot at getting there.”