LINDEN — North Montgomery will have a pair of players that did not suit up at all in the second half the season last year when they host Frontier in the season opener on Tuesday — not to mention the rest of the returning juniors and seniors that helped the Chargers to a 10-14 record last season — their best mark since 2016-17.
Junior Katie Rice led the Chargers with 10.3 points per game last season, but missed January due to an injury. Senior Makinze Rominger also returns after missing the better part of the last two seasons due to two separate ACL injuries. Grace McClaskey also returns as the only other senior — a player who brings a plethora of varsity experience, an outside shot and ability to be a lockdown defender.
The junior class will be relied on heavily as well.
“We are fortunate to have had a number of underclassmen play quality minutes last year,” North Montgomery coach Ryan Nuppnau, who is enters his seventh season at the helm, said. “We return four juniors — Hadley Broadwater, Lydia Dugard, Katie Rice, and Madi Welch — who will complement the seniors well.
Hadley brings quickness, Lydia brings strength, Madi brings ball handling and an outside shot, and Katie Brings scoring opportunities down low.”
North Montgomery did graduate over 15 points per game of scoring from Maddie Moseley, Emily Sennett, and Sidney Zachary, but the rest of their 38 points per game returns. Welch averaged 7.5 points per game last season as a sophomore and Dugard and McClaskey each chipped in three points apiece. Nuppnau also expects McKenzie Schroeder too add depth off the bench. The sophomore played sparingly in the post last season in the absence of both Rice and Rominger.
“Last year she was primarily a JV player who saw a quarter here or there,” he said. “The coaches have been very impressed with her maturity and basketball knowledge that she keep over the off season. She will do great in a rotation with Mak and Katie in the post.”
North Montgomery started the season 9-5 last year, before dropping nine of their last 10, but Nuppnau is confident that experience and a hard work ethic this offseason can help turn the tide.
“The girls have overcome their lost time from this summer by doing a few things,” he said of the time missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Each summer, I challenge each player to complete a summer challenge in which you have to dribble of x number of minutes, make x number of lay-ups, make x number of FTs, and x number of jump shots. Because the girls were home during May and June, we had more girls take advantage of the situation and complete it. In addition, with a month to go before the season started, I presented to them a home workout and conditioning program in which many completed.”
And the goals of winning county, the Sugar Creek Classic and competing for conference and sectional titles remain the same.
“Our goal from season to season is to grow in understanding and knowledge of the game of basketball,” Nuppnau said. “These first two weeks of practice has shown just that — the returners are picking up on things quicker and seeing situations individually. Our strength this year is our experience and love for the game. These girls love to play ball and have for many years.”
North Montgomery opens the season at
7:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Frontier. The Chargers will play in the Sugar Creek Classic at Southmont on Nov. 20 and 21, will host Crawfordsville on Dec. 14 and Southmont on Jan. 7.