Bulldogs have conference title in their sights

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Members of the MFL MarMac JV and varsity girls basketball teams include (front, left to right) Jayde Schubert, Lauren Gillitzer, Hannah Schutte, Summer Schutte, Keagan Moose, manager Amber Hickman; (middle) Ashley Weaver, Mackenzy Ruff, Rachel Davis, Carlie Jones, Lakota Morrissey, Miranda Lang, Abby Schellhorn; (back) assistant coach Jess Schubert, head coach Jason Winter, Keri Picha, Lauren Haberichter, Emily Knickerbocker, Kayden Gillitzer, RoseMary McGeough, Jordan Schubert, Riley Moreland, Bailey Winter, manager Saysha Schoulte and assistant coaches Stephanie Michel and Jeremy Schellhorn. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The MFL MarMac girls basketball team boasts, possibly, the most talented roster Jason Winter has seen in his time with the program, first as an assistant and now in his second season as head coach. 

“We’re really excited about the kids we’ve got,” said Winter, who is joined by assistant coaches Stephanie Michel, Jeremy Schellhorn and Jess Schubert. “We’ve got a great group of seniors who are going to lead us. We’ve got 11 upperclassmen, and they’re all capable of giving us meaningful minutes. Then you throw in some of the underclassmen. It’s got the looks of an exciting year.” 

Some of the team’s experienced returners include seniors Jayde Schubert, Keagan Moose, Lauren Gillitzer, Summer Schutte and Hannah Schutte. Two all-conference performers, juniors Jordan Schubert and Bailey Winter, are also back. Winter was an all-district player last year, as well. 

Coach Winter said several underclassmen will play big roles this season, too, notably sophomore Kayden Gillitzer. 

“She’s really athletic and I think she’s really starting to come into her own,” he stated. 

He added that one to three freshmen could possibly break in and help the Bulldogs at the varsity level. 

Many of the younger players, explained Winter, have benefitted from playing basketball over the summer. 

“You’re seeing that pay off, the kids who are buying into playing over the summer and putting in the extra time,” he said. 

Throughout the season, Winter said MFL MarMac will continue to work on the fundamentals. They want to be a team that pushes the ball and plays baseline to baseline. 

“We’re going to play with a lot of intensity and get after people defensively. We have to learn to move our feet and not reach so much. We also want to rebound the ball better than we did last year,” he noted. “Those are things we’ll continue to work on to get better.” 

Winter said the players have indicated their goals this season include becoming not just conference champions, but state tournament qualifiers. 

“Every year, that should be everyone’s goal,” he said, “but I think, this year, we really have a legitimate shot at both.” 

Last year, the Bulldogs won the large division in the Upper Iowa Conference. This year, Winter said the teams will all be in one, not separated by large and small. 

“We want to be able to be at the top of that by the end of the year,” he commented. 

To get there, Winter said all of MFL MarMac’s conference games will be important; he’s not pin-pointing just one on that schedule, or the team’s overall schedule. 

The Bulldogs will kick off the season Nov. 24, at Rivalry Saturday at Coe College. Their opponent will be a tough East Buchanan team. 

“It should be a good match-up. All the match-ups you have down there are going to be good,” Winter said. “It will kind of give us a taste to see where we’re at early on in the season.” 

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