NEW ULM - If you ask members of the New Ulm Cathedral girls' basketball team what their season goal is this year, to a person they say getting to the Target Center.
"Our goal is to be at the Target Center in March," said senior Paige Pautzke, who will be the starting point guard for the Greyhounds this season. "We think that it is a very realistic goal because we only lost one person, so we are pretty excited to see where this is going to go this year."
Last year the Greyhounds posted a 14-12 mark. Head coach Mary Dengerud knows that this edition of the Greyhounds is a veteran group.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm Cathedral senior Paige Pautzke will be the starting point guard for the Greyhounds this season.
"We do not have to come into this season brand new," Dengerud said. "We had some things that we used last year and we want to perfect those things. And we want to put in a few new things for our post players. It is kind of nice to not have to start at ground zero."
The team's returning starters are Kristin Mohr, Karlee Pfaff, Lindsay Simon and Lisa Helget.
Pfaff is the only returner who averaged double-digit point totals last season.
Simon will hold down the post position, with Pfaff, Mohr and Helget at the wings.
That leaves perhaps the most important spot on the floor open, the point guard, with Pautzke taking over the position after it was vacated by the graduation of Kristi Larson.
"She is going to have some big shoes to fill," Dengerud said of Pautzke. "She was our back-up point guard last year, so it is not like it is completely new to her. She is going to have to command her troops this year. But we do have a lot of balanced scoring. She is important, but then all of the players are."
While the Greyhounds have balanced scoring, Dengerud will once again stress defense as she did last year.
"We were not always the the highest scoring team, but we held a lot of teams to a fair number," she said. "That is going to be one of our biggest assets along with our rebounding."
Dengerud said that when her team works together defensively, "It is really fun."
With four starters back and a solid group of reserves, Pautzke said that the team does not feel a lot of pressure.
"I don't think that there is pressure on us," she said. "We all get along, we have fun and that is why we are playing basketball."
Like her coach, Pautzke feels that one of the keys to how far the Greyhounds' journey goes this season is defense.
"If we can get our defense strong and make our outside shots, we will be OK," Pautzke said.
Dengerud said that a team cannot win with just one or two talented players.
"It takes a whole team to be unified," she said. "That is what we stress from day one - it is not about 'me,' it is about 'we'. And our team chemistry is excellent. They are not all best friends, but they support and respect each other. That is huge."
The Greyhounds will open their season at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 when they host Mankato Loyola.