Mental toughness a key to Tigers’ stellar season

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


MORGAN EDGE (right), Howards Grove senior guard, was selected the Tigers’ Most Improved basketball player this past season. Edge is shown going for a loose ball against Sheboygan Christian. – Review file photo MORGAN EDGE (right), Howards Grove senior guard, was selected the Tigers’ Most Improved basketball player this past season. Edge is shown going for a loose ball against Sheboygan Christian. – Review file photo HOWARDS GROVE – Mental toughness proved crucial for a young Howards Grove girls basketball team which enjoyed an excellent 2014-15 season.

The Tigers, who had six sophomores (four which started) and only three seniors, won a Division 4 regional title, finished second in the Central Lakeshore Conference with a 12-2 record and were 17-8 overall. HGHS gave St. Mary’s Springs (Fond du Lac) all it could handle in the sectional semifinals before losing, 56-47. Springs went on to earn a state berth.

“I think we were capable of winning 2-3 more games this season but overall I am very pleased with the season,” said Tiger head coach Heidi Georgeff.

“We battled for the conference title and 12-2 is one of the better conference records we’ve had. In the sectional game I thought it was very clear how far we had come since the beginning of the season.”

Georgeff wasn’t surprised her team had such a fine season even though it was pretty young.

“The young girls on the team are very competitive and they don’t get intimidated, so I knew it would not take long to adjust to the varsity game. Plus, we had a three-year point guard in Morgan Edge to lead us on the floor, so I knew we would have a strong season,” said the coach.

She said the keys to the successful season were team defense, rebounding, offensive balance and overall depth. The Tigers allowed an average of only 37.7 points per game. Sophomore guard Brittany Schaller led HGHS in scoring with a 9.6 points-per-game average, followed by Edge at 9.2 and sophomore forward Sam Yancy, 9.1.

The season’s highlights, according to Georgeff, were defeating CLC champion Sheboygan Christian on the road, defending league champion

Oostburg, a solid Valders team and Sheboygan South, a Division 1 school.

Asked what she’ll remember the most about the season, Georgeff responded, “Probably the sectional game and how proud I was of my team despite not winning the game.”

“The fight they show each and every game no matter what the score is. Their mental toughness to hang in there and keep battling,” said Georgeff, referring to what impressed her the most about the Tigers.

She commended the seniors for their leadership in showing the younger girls what it takes to be great teammates.

She thanked her husband, Wade, for his work as the team’s assistant coach, and the parents for their support.

The head coach said the key to next season will be for the players to keep improving.

“Our young kids need to keep working on their skills and the amount of kids that can grow their role into something bigger will be the biggest factor in how successful we will be,” she emphasized.

“Toughening up our defense will also be huge.”

AWARDS, FINAL STATS

Edge, an All-CLC second-team choice this past season, was named the Tigers’ Most Improved Player.

Sophomore forward/guard Kaitlynn Near was selected the Tigers’ Outstanding Defensive Player.

Schaller, an All-CLC first-team pick, received the Tiger Pride Award. Howards’ other all-league player is sophomore forward Sam Yancy who made the first unit.

Yancy led HGHS in rebounding with a 6.7 average per game and blocked shots at 0.9 per game (19 total).

Schaller was first in steals with a 2.4 average. Edge sank a team-high 30 three-point goals, and led in assists at 2.8 per contest and free-throw shooting with 76 percent (56 of 74)).

The Tigers’ varsity letter winners include: seniors – Edge, Lyndsay Peterson and Sarah Lillesand; juniors – Zyta Mueller, and Alyssa Herwig; and sophomores – Schaller, Olivia Stauss, Yancy, Taylor Bubolz, Addi Gerber and Near.


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