Defense is the name of the game for the Central Wisconsin Christian girls basketball team. If it can find a little more offense, the Crusaders should be improved for 2013-14.
Their season-opening 33-28 loss last Tuesday to Sheboygan Christian wasn’t the desired outcome, but it showed what kind of team CWC will be this season, and an example of what many of its games may play like.
“I thought we played a decent game except for the last 3-5 minutes,” Crusaders coach Charlie Mulder said. “We played how we had to play it — defending and low-scoring is what we need.”
CWC and Sheboygan Christian played neck-and-neck for three quarters until the Eagles outscored the Crusaders 11-5 in the fourth, which ended up being the difference in the five-point loss.
Coming going 7-16 last year and placing fourth in the Trailways Central at 6-8, CWC carries just eight girls on the roster this season. But it brings back several key pieces to get the job done.
It starts with 6-foot-0 senior Katrina Regnerus, a first-team all-Trailways Central pick last year. She’ll be the focal point for defenses this season, and certainly was for Sheboygan Christian. She was second on CWC with 7.6 points per game last year, but was held to three last Tuesday.
“Katrina didn’t get enough touches,” Mulder said. “She was getting double and triple-teamed. She’ll see that all season since she’s the tallest girl on the court. Not a lot of teams can match up with her one-on-one, and that’ll open things up for her teammates.”
One of those players hoping to see the benefit from teams focusing on Regnerus is senior Lydia Greenfield, who had a game-high 13 points in the loss on 4-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. She averaged 6 ppg last year and was the team’s best free-throw shooter at 73.9 percent.
“Lydia shot the ball well. She’s a strong girl for being 5-7,” Mulder said. “We’ll depend on her and Katrina to shoulder a lot of our scoring.”
CWC’s roster is quite similar to last year’s, as it graduated only two players in Kristen Kok and Kristen Pugh — both starters. Kok earned all-conference honorable mention, leading the Crusaders with 7.8 ppg, while Pugh was third on the team at 6.9.
After Regnerus and Greenfield, it’s a group of varsity returners and former JV players who step into a bigger role this season. Running the offense at point guard is 5-4 junior Lexy Buteyn, while 5-9 senior Stephanie Haan and 5-4 sophomore Olivia Theune also started the season-opener. Buteyn had eight points on 3-of-8 shooting (two 3s).
Also in the Crusaders’ rotation are juniors Katie Miller (5-5) and Lexy’s twin sister Hailey (5-11).
“We have our eight players. That’s what we’ll go to battle with,” Mulder said. “Not a lot of numbers. We’d like to have a couple more, but it is what it is.”
The most staggering statistic from Tuesday’s loss was turnovers. CWC committed 24 of them, while Sheboygan Christian had just five. The Crusaders will have to shore that up to win games, as even the best of defenses can’t overcome that many extra possessions for opponents.
“I think we can finish in the top half of our conference. That’s something we have the ability to do,” Mulder said. “Tuesday night our defensive effort was good. On offense, we just need to get touches to people in the right spots.”