NEW ULM - The Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers girls basketball team is like the lineup for Saturday Night Live.
While the faces may change from year to year, the basic premise of the show remains the same.
In the Chargers case, that means running a fast, up-tempo style offense paired with a smothering defense whose characteristics remain the same with similar but partially different members running the show.
MVL is coming off a 23-5 overall record that includes a 13-3 Tomahawk Conference record. The 2013 Chargers have a large number of returning veterans who know what needs to be done and how to go about doing it.
Junior Anna Munsen is the MVL player who sees defense as important as offense.
"I need to improve my free throw shooting (70 percent in 2012) improve my outside shooting and learn to move my feet better on defense," Munsen said. "As a team. I tink we have a really good shot at a good season. We have four strong post players and ball handlers and our team chemistry is good."
While Munsen returns with her team leading 11.3 points per game and 444 rebounds over the past two years, senior point guard Charlotte Pfingsten has also been working to get stronger and improve a certain aspect of her game.
"I've been working out a lot on getting stronger," Pfingsten said. "But I've also been working hard on layups and pushing the ball forward for a 'run and gun' type of offense."
In 2012, MVL outscored its opponents by 10.5 points per game while its free throw percentage was seven points better than its foes, a percentage the players want to improve on.
Chargers coach Dave Biedenbender has the rare luxury of returning players who have a ton of experience in varsity games.
"I expect the girls to step in who have a lot of experience," Biedenbender said. "We have a lot of that from last year. We have Munsen returning who was our leading scorer and rebounder from last year and our inside post play with senior Alexa Alfred will give us good scoring and rebounding plus excellent free throw shooting.
"Pfingsten is a real fireball and ball handling expert with Nicole Moldstad, Laura Schoenherr and Mariah Stein all seeing game time," Biedenbender said.
MVL hosts Mountain Lake Area at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.