HG Tigers look to build on past success, return three All-BEC picks

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff

HOWARDS GROVE – The Howards Grove Tigers have advanced to the Division 4 girls basketball sectional semifinals the last two seasons. They have their sights set on making an even deeper postseason run this season.

HG is coming off a terrific season and has its entire starting lineup back. The Tigers shared the Big East Conference title with Oostburg at 12-1, earned their second straight regional championship and finished 21-4 overall.

“I am very optimistic. I do believe my team is hungry to get to another level of success,” said Tiger head coach Heidi Georgeff.

The Tigers have lofty goals for this season.

“The No. 1 goal is the same every year – have to keep improving each game. We won a share of the Big East title last season but we’d like to win it outright this season,” said Georgeff.

“This group of seniors has advanced to the sectional semifinal game for the last two years but came up short both seasons in hard-fought games. It is my ultimate goal to get them beyond that point as seniors.”

Last season the Tigers lost in the sectional semifinals to Oshkosh Lourdes Academy in double-overtime, 60-58.

“With so much varsity experience on our roster we are focusing on improvement and finishing when some teams are still learning to play at the varsity level. I feel like we are light years ahead of where we’ve started in past seasons.”

The Tigers return three All-BEC players from last season, including two first-team players in senior guard Brittany Schaller and senior forward Sam Yancy. The other All-BEC selection back is senior forward Addi Gerber, a second-team pick.

Yancy was the Tigers’ top scorer last season with a 14.5 points-per-game average, followed by Schaller at 13.2 Yancy also led in rebounding at 9.2 per contest and steals with a 2.9 average.

Schaller paced the Tigers in assists with a 4.1 average. She led the BEC in assists with a 4.4 average in league play. Gerber hit a team-high 16 three-point goals as a junior.

The other starters returning are senior guard Ashley Reinemann, senior guard/ forward Kaitlynn Near and senior guard/ forward Olivia Stauss. The starters are the Tigers’ returning letter winners.

“Brittany Schaller and Sam Yancy lead the way offensively for us. Addi Gerber and Olivia Stauss both have the ability to score a lot of points as well. Kaitlynn Near and Ashley Reinemann are two outstanding defensive players who can disrupt other teams’ offensive leaders,” said Georgeff who enters her 10th season as the Tigers’ head coach.

Among the team’s varsity newcomers, Georgeff has been impressed with senior forward Taylor Bubolz.

“Taylor Bubolz is back after not playing basketball as a junior. She’s picked up right where she left off for us and is going to be a key contributor in the post,” said the coach.

Georgeff said the team’s strengths are speed, athleticism and post play. She said consistent bench production and the depth must improve. She said all 13 players will be looked at to step up when the time comes.

The keys for the Tigers to be successful, according to Georgeff, are to keep improving, have increased bench production and get better on defense.

Looking at the conference, she thinks HG, Oostburg, Reedsville and Manitowoc Lutheran are the top title contenders and Ozaukee could emerge as a contender. Oostburg downed the Tigers in the BEC Tournament finals last season. Oostburg returns an All-BEC first-team player in senior forward Aimee Bichler.

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