The Viroqua High School girls basketball team includes experienced returning players this season.
“I’m excited to see what our team can do this season,” coach Joe Willis said. “We have a solid group of players who put in time in the off-season to become better basketball players, and to be better athletes in general. We bring back a lot of experience from last season’s team, when we had juniors, sophomores and even freshmen getting time on varsity. I would anticipate being stronger on defense and on offense.”
Seniors Bri Carman, Josie Dobbs and Presley Stilwell are the top returning players. Willis said Carman will be called to be the leader of our defense. He said Dobbs has high energy and hustle that leads vocally and by example, while Stilwell has worked hard on her skills to be a contributor.
“Underclassmen Hallie Sherry and Jessica Tryggestad are juniors with a knack for scoring the ball, and sophomores Jessica Anderson and Vanessa Lohr can provide some perimeter scoring,” Willis said. “Several players will have opportunities to contribute at the varsity level.”
Willis, who has coached the team for four years, said key graduates include Lauren Brendel who was the primary scorer from last year’s team, Kendra Jerdee who was a senior leader and Kennedy Radke who provided some depth at guard.
“Our strengths will be in playing together,” Willis said. “The energy level and anticipation of the new season has been great... Our ‘young’ team has gotten better and stronger in the off-season and the girls have a sense of competitiveness that seems to motivate them to improve.”
The energy level of the team is embodied in this season’s motto: #NewEnergy.
Where are the team’s weaknesses and biggest challenges? “Our biggest challenge will be contending with some very talented players and teams in our conference,” he said.
Willis said he expects three teams being the top contenders for the conference title.
“Arcadia will bring a really talented roster to every game. They’re long and aggressive defenders who don’t give you many easy looks,” he said. “G-E-T was at state last year, and even though they graduated all-state player Lexi Wagner, they bring back a corps of good young players. Westby brings back a really solid group and they will be good again. West Salem is always competitive. Our outlook is to compete with those top teams, and start to win conference games.”
Riley Abing helps with the JV team and Morgan Gander is the manager. The team’s record last year was 1-21.