Spartans to tip-off season against Woodbine Tigers
The Exira-EHK girls basketball team is hoping to build off a successful 19-5 season where they made it all the way to the Regional Championship Game, losing 51-43 to the Remsen St. Mary’s Hawks.
“I am always excited this time of the year,” said Spartan Head Coach Tom Petersen. “I have been doing this a long time, and every year as a head coach, it is a challenge, and this year is no different.”
During its 2022 campaign, the Spartans were led by Quinn Grubbs with 422 points, Shay Burmeister with 308, and Jaelynn Petersen with 233. Petersen led with 138 rebounds, Makenzie Riley with 131, and Grubbs with 106. Grubbs led the way in assists with 113, Burmeister with 88, and Petersen with 39.
The Spartans started off the year winning its first five games and 15 of 17. Some of the wins came against Glidden-Ralston, Ar-We-Va, Coon Rapids-Bayard, CAM, West Harrison, and others. They also won two of their final playoff matches against Ar-We-Va and Coon Rapids-Bayard.
The Spartans will face a lot of those same opponents this season. Petersen expects some healthy competition along the way.
“We will be playing a lot of good basketball teams this year,” he said. “Obviously in our conference, CAM, Woodbine and CRB will be the front runners of the conference this year. They all have a lot returning from a year ago and we lost four starters. Our non-conference games will be against some of the best in the state with Treynor, Panorama, ACGC, and IKM-Manning.”
Grubbs, Burmeister, and Riley have all graduated, so Petersen will look to new faces on the team to fill those roles. Some new faces that will join the team are Freshmen Riley Miller and Taryn Petersen, who are coming off a stellar volleyball season in which they helped lead their team to a 10-win season.
“We lost a talented senior class from a year ago, and a ton of experience,” Petersen said. “When you lose 70% of your scoring, 60% of your steals per game, 73% of total assists per game, and 50% of rebounds per game, you can't replace that with a person or two. It will be done by committee. We will have to get better and learn as a team this year and play to our strengths. We will go through some growing pains for sure, but I do believe we can be a very good basketball team by February.”
The Spartans open their season against the Woodbine Tigers. The Tigers finished last season 23-3, and were led by Charlie Pryor with 398 points, Amanda Newton with 197 rebounds, and Nicole Sherer with 139 assists.
“Right now I'm just concerned about my kids getting better in practice,” Petersen said. “The first game of the year usually provides a lot of opportunities to see what we need to work on right away. Woodbine is going to be a great basketball team once again, but I'm more concerned how we will play in February, right now, than in November with such a young team.”