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Experienced Chargers ready to prove they belong

Madi Welch is one of four seniors for the Chargers this season and will man the point guard spot to set up the offense.

LINDEN — No team last winter was hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than the North Montgomery girls basketball team. With a multitude of injuries and constantly having missing players due to quarantine, the Chargers are ready to put last season’s 5-14 record behind them.

North Montgomery proved what they could do with a healthy team as they ended up in the sectional championship game a season ago.

This season the Chargers return four of their five starters in Madi Welch, Hadley Broadwater, Lydia Dugard and Katie Rice, all seniors. Their experience is something coach Ryan Nuppnau will lean upon.

“We’re blessed to have four seniors who have had significant playing time since their sophomore year,” Nuppnau said. “Combine that with some of our juniors who saw quality minutes last season with different situations occuring, and it’s nice to have. We’re looking forward to what the season can bring and are excited for what our senior leadership can do for us.”

The leadership for the Chargers will not only show up in games, but in practice and helping a freshman class which features 10 newcomers on the junior varsity level.

“All of those seniors have developed a culture here and are really good at teaching our younger girls,” Nuppau said. “They’re more than willing to step up during practice and help fix something. Going through what they went through a season ago, that helps so if something happens during this season, we’ll be able to address that smoothly.”

The Chargers offense will run through the one-two punch of Welch out on the perimiter and Rice down in the post. A season ago Welch averaged 9.4 points per game while also grabbing 4.5 rebounds and nearly two steals. Rice battled injury last season, but when healthy she was a double-double threat, averaging 9.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while also blocking nearly two shots (1.8) a game.

“Both of them compliment each other very well,” Nuppnau said. “Madi can go in there and score from the inside while Katie can stretch the floor and shoot it from the outside. They’re well-balanced players who are surrounded by great role players also.”

The Chargers open their season Saturday as they travel to Parke Heritage.

“I think they’re a very good team to start our season off against,” Nuppnau said of the Wolves. “They’re going to do a lot of things that have been our weakness in the past so it will be interesting to see how we respond and how we make those adjustments.”

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