HOLGATE — With nine newcomers, including six freshmen, the Holgate Lady Tigers are relying on their younger players to grow up quickly during the 2019-20 high school girls basketball season.
Holgate returns four letterwinners from last season’s 16-7 squad, but also lost three starters, including Madilyn Hohenberger (first team GMC and district 7), Bailey Plott (second team GMC and district 7) and Grace Wenzinger (honorable mention district 7).
Senior Raena Willett (4.9 points per game and 2.5 assists per game) is the only upperclassman on the roster. She and sophomore Justine Eis (7.3 ppg and 4.4 rebounds per game) were both starters last season.
Also returning for the Lady Tigers are junior Bailey Izor and sophomore Carissa Meyer.
Newcomers to the squad are junior Makenzie Boecker, sophomores Jaylin Baldridge and Therese Taylor and freshmen Jordyn Altman, Olivia Blaker, Madison Clark, Lexa Schuller, Paisley Wilhelm and Elisabeth Willett.
“We do return four varsity letterwinners, but our season’s outcome will be greatly dependent on how well our young players can grasp our team’s offensive and defensive concepts,” said Holgate girls basketball coach Scott Giesige. “Our main focus most of the summer and early preseason has been on the defensive end. Offensively we will be relying on Raena Willett, moved to playing point this year, and Justine Eis, who is our returning leading scorer and rebounder.
“Carissa Meyer, who has shown vast improvement on both ends of the floor from a year ago, is also back,” added Giesige, who is in his third season leading the Lady Tigers (29-18 record). “Bailey Izor will be our fourth starter at the other guard spot. We are largely inexperienced at the varsity level but at the same time we have more quality depth at all positions. As a result we are looking to play up tempo and pressure the basketball end to end.”
Holgate was 5-2 in the Green Meadows Conference last season. Wayne Trace (6-1) won the league title and is the favorite again this season, according to Giesige.
“Wayne Trace has to be the favorite going into this season,” said Giesige. “They return league player of the year Claire Sinn and a large corps from last year’s team. Fairview should be right there atop the league standings again this season. Despite having lost first-team GMC player Mercedes Wagner to graduation, they also return a large group from last year’s 5-2 team.
“We hope to be near the top hoping to battle for a league title, along with Edgerton, led by senior Ally Cape and Antwerp, which returns everyone from a year ago,” added Giesige. “Ayersville, Hicksville, and Tinora will be looking to rebuild after losing key players to graduation.”
Holgate opens the season Saturday, Nov. 23 at Stryker.