“I’m excited. We’re very different from last year,” she exclaimed during recent practice. “I’m looking to win a lot of games this year. We’re very athletic. I think we’ve got it. everything We are not too worried.
It’s a teenage athlete’s job to aim high. But it’s a coach’s job to think of ways to improve, no matter how talented their players are. Veteran head coach Eric Lindner, who started his career with the Trojans’ women’s basketball team in the 1989-90 season, wants to see less dribbling and more passing this season.
If a player touches the basket, Lindner wants it to end in success at a higher rate than last year. The Trojans missed too many layups in 2020-21, he believes, and last week he made his daughters work specifically on layup drills. Strong, energetic defense is always a hallmark of the Trojans, but Lindner said the intensity has become a bit too sporadic at times last year. Mental strength is the key.
The Trojans, 14-5 last season, begin the new campaign with a 4 p.m. game against Sibley-Ocheyedan on Saturday at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington.
Returning WHS Letter winners include Hayenga, Tarren Spartz, Ellie Weg, Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor, Kamryn Spartz, Dasia Potter, Karissa Bickett, Aisha Zeidi and Madison Beckmann. Hayenga and Scheitel-Taylor are experienced goalies. Spartz and Weg are experienced inside players.
Hayenga is dangerous in attack. She can shoot from anywhere, she can go all the way to the basket, and she can create her own opportunities. Lindner wants to see her take a step forward defensively. She’s spent too much time on the bench, he said, in bad shape.
Spartz is a regular performer and a strong rebounder. Weg is another productive player around the basket. She is looking for a main movement that she can perfect to get more opportunities.
Scheitel-Taylor, Lindner said, “keeps the team moving.” She sets the tempo and does a lot of good things that don’t always show up on the stats sheet.
“I think we have a combination of speed and experience, as well as height,” said Lindner. “I think this year we will be a bigger team than in the past.”
This means that the Trojans will try to work the ball indoors more often, but they will continue to play at a brisk pace. In defense, they will give opponents more area looks.
“We’re going to really work hard to be disjointed,” Linder said. “I think that physically we have strong kids. But I think most of the time we’re going to try to be harder and harder mentally.
“We’ve got depth, the things we need. I don’t think we’re that involved in the guards and the wings, unless our younger kids are doing the jumps, ”he said.
If there’s one goal for this women’s Trojans basketball team, it’s to win a section tournament game. Typically, Worthington – which plays few schools its size largely because the team is located in the southwest corner of the state – is often overlooked at planting time. The best way to counter this is to win more section tournament contests.
One advantage for Trojans (and this is their hallmark almost every year) is that they play with energy.
“I think they like the competition,” Lindner said.
This is, of course, the preferred attitude of a coach who enjoys playing an aggressive and fast style.
Lindner summed up: “And that’s one of the reasons we play this way.”