TRAILWAYS SOUTH CONFERENCE
Team: Conference W-L, Overall W-L
Orfordville Parkview 10-2 conference, 13-10; Palmyra-Eagle 9-3, 9-14; Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose 9-3, 12-10; Deerfield 6-6, 6-15; Johnson Creek 6-6, 6-16; Williams Bay 2-10, 5-16; Madison Country Day 0-12, 1-21.
Top WIAA tournament performance: Orfordville Parkview lost to Brodhead, 48-45, in a Division 4 regional semifinal.
RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
First team: Taylor Burrel, sr., Orfordville Parkview; Maeya Bakke, sr., Madison Abundant Life/St.Ambrose; Kaitlyn Kuhl, so., Johnson Creek.
Second team: Hannah Steinbach, sr., Palmyra-Eagle; Addy Schmiesing, sr., Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose.
Honorable mention: Lilly Hammond, sr., Palmyra-Eagle; Brooke Joseph, sr., Johnson Creek; Hannah Rabenhorst, sr., Williams Bay; Sara Donso so., Madison Country Day.
Madison Abundant Life tied for second in the league last year, but starts this season in the favorite’s role with the return of four starters, including seniors Maeya Bakke and Addy Schmiesing, who combined for more than 26 points and 15 rebounds per game last year. Defending champ Orfordville Parkview brings back 5-10 senior forward Taylor Burrell, the co-player of the year in the league last year after averaging 9.1 pounds and 7.2 rebounds, and sophomore guard Jenna Olin. Palmyra-Eagle should be in the chase, led by 5-8 senior guard Hannah Steinbach. Williams Bay aims to move up, with 5-10 guard Braiya Nolan back after missing a large portion of last season after shoulder surgery. Senior guard Brooke Joseph returns to lead Johnson Creek.
Coach: Don Schindler, second year, 6-15.
Returning starters: Breanna Ezzell, 5-5, so., G (5.4 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, 0.3 assists per game); Hailey Eickhoff, jr., F (4.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.6 apg).
Other returning letterwinners: Sabrina Rodriguez, jr., G (0.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.2 apg); Laura Bush, 5-5, so., G (0.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg); Morgan Mack, 5-10, so., F (1.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.1 apg); Ingrid Rucks, 5-8, so., F (2.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg).
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Key fact: The Demons lost two starters, Jayme Fischer and Sofia Cabral, to graduation. This Demon basketball team will consist mainly of freshmen.
The lowdown: After finishing in the middle of the conference last year, the Demons hope to challenge for a top spot in the league — despite a very young roster that will depend on sophomore Breanna Ezzell for leadership. “We need Breanna to be a leader. She has great speed and instincts on defense,” Schindler said.
Quotable: “Ten freshmen will add to a very small roster. We will need to grow up fast and play fundamentally sound basketball,” Schindler said.
Madison Abundant Life/St. Ambrose Challengers
Coach: Bill Freidig, first year at Abundant Life.
Returning starters (4): Maeya Bakke, sr., G (13.7 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game); Addy Schmiesing, sr, F/C (12.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg); Alexis Okas, sr., G (3.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.1 apg); Mara Bakke, so., F/G/C (7.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg).
Other returning letterwinners (1): Kachi Iwuagwu, sr., F, (7.2 ppg in 2017-18).
Key fact: Kachi Iwuagwu missed last season due to family reasons. She moved out of state but received renewed eligibility from the WIAA upon her return this year.
The lowdown: Bill Friedig, formerly the coach at Belleville and Mount Horeb, has taken the reins of the Challengers this year. After falling one game short of the conference title game, the Challengers will return two all-conference players, Maeya Baake and Addy Schmiesing, along with Iwuagwu.
Quotable: “We return the most experience and top players in the conference, so our expectations are to bring a conference title back to Abundant Life,” Freidig said.
Madison Country Day Prairie Hawks
Coach: Allison Dickman, second year (1-20).
Returning starters (5): KaiLin Nall, 5-3, sr., PG (6.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 0.5 rpg); Amy Riha, sr., F (0.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg); Isa Hernandez-White, 5-6, sr., G (3.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg); Ella Lauten, 5-6, sr., F (2.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg); Sara Donoso, so., G (6.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg).
Other returning letterwinners (3): Stella Christenson, so., F (0.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg); Vierka Martin, so., W (0.1 ppg); Hunter Stephenson, so., W (0.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg).
Key facts: The Prairie Hawks will bring back all five starters from last year. Country Day hasn’t won a conference game in three seasons.
The lowdown: After finishing dead last in the Trailways South conference last year, the Prairie Hawks will be looking for their first win in conference under the leadership of Allison Dickman. Sara Donoso and KaiLin Nall will return as the “go-to” scorers. Averaging about six points a game, these two should see an uptick in shots this season.
Quotable: “We are in search of a conference win this season after going 0-12 in conference play last season,” Dickman said.