Winning a combined 26 conference games the past 10 seasons, the Mayville girls basketball program had enough.
Losing a big senior group from a team that went 7-17 (2-12 Flyway) a season ago, the Cardinals thought it would be a perfect time to start fresh.
So the Cardinals brought in new head coach Barry Nelson, who looks to help build a team around sophomore Mattie Klingenmeyer — an all-Flyway honorable mention player last year.
“It’s a new day and it’s a new era,” Nelson said. “We’re trying to get the kids to buy in that things are going to change and things are going to be a lot different than they have been in the past.
“It’s a matter of changing the culture. Doing what I do, I tend to think that I get the most out of the girls that I coach and I hope that is the case here.”
Starts with Mattie
As a freshman, Klingenmeyer was second on the team in scoring at 7.4 points per game and was first in rebounds with 5.6.
Nelson said he likes what he’s seen out of the 6-foot-0 sophomore, and said she’s definitely someone to build a team around.
“She’s built to play basketball and we’re going to look to get her the ball as much as we can,” Nelson said. “She’s a huge post player. She’s going to be a lot of what we’re gearing our offense around.”
Not too often are sophomores relied to lead the team in scoring, but Nelson is also looking for her to lead the team vocally.
“She’s looking to be more of a leader, not by example, but more vocal,” Nelson said. “She may be a sophomore at age, but she plays a lot like an upperclassman.”
New and the old
Nelson said that the team will bring a few freshmen up, but the Cardinals still have a lot of upperclassmen who were on the team the past couple of years but didn’t get much playing time.
“We have some seniors this year that played last year,” Nelson said. “They didn’t get a whole lot of playing time but I think they’re going to impress a lot of people with their athleticism and the way that they play.”
Some of those returning uppcerclassmen include seniors Deidra Weinberger and Marissa Gentz, juniors Libby Schellpfeffer and Kate Baudhuin and sophomore Shelby Strand.
Senior Ashley Struck, who was a backup point guard a season ago, tore her ACL, so Nelson brought up a freshman in Paige Persha to start.
Nelson said he likes what he sees in the freshman.
“Paige is one of the better players in the program,” he said. “She will be running point for us. We just decided that she’s good enough where she can play on the varsity level.”
One of the biggest weaknesses for the Cardinals this season is the team’s inexperience. Other than Klingenmeyer, the rest of the team has a combined seven starts at the varsity level.
“We’re a little young yet. We got a good group coming in and a good freshmen class that will come in next year,” Nelson said. “I hate to use the word rebuilding but we’re in that mode right now, trying to build the program from the ground up and it starts this year.”