The Midland Athletic League basketball race was a battle to the end a year ago.
If the media and coaches’ expectations are correct, this year could be nearly a carbon copy.
Mohawk was in the mix and made a run to the regional tournament. Carey managed to dodge enough bullets to win the title with a 9-1 record. But the Warriors, New Riegel and Calvert were 8-2.
So balanced was the MAL that the top seven teams finished with winning records. Something could happen again this year.
“It’s a really competitive league,” first-year Mohawk coach Mike Beck said. “It will be more challenging to compete for a league title in the last year before the teams go their separate ways.”
Mohawk, Seneca East and Carey will join the newly formed Northern 10.
Beck will have to replace the leadership of point guard Lynsey Trusty and the scoring of guard Sarah Runion and post Sarah Parker.
The team welcomes back the Adelsperger triplets — Kasey, Julie, and Clara — all healthy heading into their senior season.
Second-year coach Dave Stallings will have to find a way to fill the shoes of Ashton Daniel, who led the MAL in scoring last year and set the Seneca East career scoring record.
“If we can find two people to replace Ashton’s points, we’ll be OK,” Stallings said. “Three of our five starters are gone. But I like my girls as a group. I think we’ll surprise some people.”
The Tigers finished 14-10, 4-6 in the MAL last year. Sophomore guard Seina Adachi came on as the year unfolded and will be counted on to pick up some of the scoring slack.
Junior guard Kirsten Camp returns to the program after having been a part of it in junior high school. Point guard Brittany Brooks and post Hannah Hahler are back and Amber Enders will join them, Camp and Adachi in the starting lineup.
“We will be the fastest team in the MAL,” Stallings noted. “We’ll play up-tempo. I want to make it fun for the girls and fun to watch.”