Photo by Mark Beasley

Minnewaska girls’ basketball head coach Brett Thorfinnson begins his 10th season leading the Laker girls. Thorfinnson will be assisted by Brad Randt, Nick Danielson and Emily Roering.

The Lakers finished at 12-13 last season, which ended with a disappointing first round playoff loss to Benson.

Emma Thorfinnson graduated, much to the relief of WCC coaches, after becoming just one of six Lakers to score over 1,000 points in her career. It’s a big void to fill, but Minnewaska returns plenty of experienced players to accept the challenge.

The 2021 varsity roster consists of seniors Makena Panitzke at guard, forward Avery Hoeper, Isabelle Ortendahl in the post, guard Annika Randt and forward Brecklyn Beyer.

A good group of juniors hope to add to the mix, including returning starting guards Maddie Thorfinnson and Addy Randt. Other juniors vying for playing time will be guards Emma Kovarik, Olivia Richards and Leah Hagen, along with forwards Maddy Meulebroeck and  Berkley Steffen.

Coach Thorfinnson said, “I’m truly excited to get back into the gym. We know that this opportunity can be taken away from us at a moment’s notice. As coaches and players we are focused on doing everything we can to make sure this season runs smoothly. Our basketball focus doesn’t change, I know we have a great group of girls who will play hard in practices and games. We have a chance to be a very competitive team this year.”

Minnewaska finished fifth in the West Central Conference last season. Each of the teams ahead of them averaged more points than the Lakers, some by a significant amount. Coach Thorfinnson is hoping to find some offense to go with an expected good defense. If the offense can improve their production the season promises to be a good one.

The team to beat in the WCC, as has been the case for many years now, will be the Mainstreeters of Sauk Centre. Morris, Melrose and BOLD are always tough conference teams and Montevideo is on the rise, so the upcoming conference race will be very competitive. The toughest team in Section 3AA will most likely be New London-Spicer. The Wildcats made the state tournament field last season.

The 2021 schedule has 18 games on it, beginning with a home date against BOLD on Friday to get it all started.

The schedule has a five-game home stand that extends from Feb. 12-26, then ends with four consecutive road games from March 8-13.

The post-season, if there is one, will be determined by the MSHSL at a later date.