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Inexperienced MCS girls team hoping to take step in right direction

It will take time for the Mitchell Christian girls basketball team to find its stride in the 2015-16 season. But that hasn't stopped head coach Jackie Van Laecken from getting excited about her team's potential before the team's opening game agai...

It will take time for the Mitchell Christian girls basketball team to find its stride in the 2015-16 season.

But that hasn't stopped head coach Jackie Van Laecken from getting excited about her team's potential before the team's opening game against Wolsey-Wessington today in Wolsey.

"We have two seniors coming back this season will bring some strength and experience to our team," Van Laecken said. "The girls are coming off a great volleyball season, which really transfers over to basketball. We're really excited about our inside and outside game this year. We've got a lot of good outside shooters this year, and we have a strong post presence with Emily Reynen."

Reynen, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, will be counted on to provide a consistent scoring effort for the Golden Eagles.

"Emily is a fantastic athlete and is very humble about it," Van Laecken said. "We will definitely rely on her for points. We'll also need contributions from her defensively, especially rebounding."

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Coming off an injury-plagued 5-16 season, the Golden Eagles will benefit from the return of 5-foot-11 junior Abbie Reynen, who missed last season with a torn ACL.

Offensively, guards Kelsey Thompson and Taylor Lepke will be counted on to make shots from the perimeter, while Alyson Vander Pol, Carlie Vander Pol and Colette Haag are the Golden Eagles' go-to players for mid-range shots.

"We have a lot of growing to do because it's a new group together with only two returning starters," Van Laecken said. "It's been fun so far, and I'm excited to see where they go. It'll probably take a few games to see some progress with them, but they're all friends and in a small school like this it's easier when you know each other's strengths and weaknesses. They have good fundamentals and really look out for each other."

Van Laecken added the Golden Eagles have been focused on improving their passing game, which she said has already proved from last year.

When Mitchell Christian ended its 2014-15 season with a 60-39 loss to Bridgewater-Emery in a District 8B game last year, it left a bitter taste in the Golden Eagles' mouth. If everything bounces Mitchell Christian's way, Van Laecken said district play might turn out differently for the Golden Eagles.

"We want to be growing around district time and stay healthy this season," she said. "We didn't have a healthy season last year, so if we can do that, hopefully we'll go further in districts this year."

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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