Goessel girls aim for WSL repeat title

These seniors and letter-winners will anchor the Goessel girls’ basketball team this season: (from left) Jennifer Meysing, Eden Hiebert, Brittney Hiebert, Olivia Duerksen, Kara Burkholder.<p>
These seniors and letter-winners will anchor the Goessel girls’ basketball team this season: (from left) Jennifer Meysing, Eden Hiebert, Brittney Hiebert, Olivia Duerksen, Kara Burkholder.<p>
The Goessel girls’ basketball team will need to replace 70 percent of its scoring from last year’s 20-3 team as the Bluebirds anticipate the new season.

Despite the loss of personnel, 10th-year coach Ryan Hoopes returns five athletes with varsity experience, including two starters.

Juniors Eden Hiebert and Brittney Hiebert both return as starters.

Eden Hiebert, a 5-foot, 11-inch point guard, received honorable mention all-state honors last year and was a first-team all-league selection. She brings scoring ability to the team.

“Eden is a great ball handler and has been our starting point guard since she was a freshman,” Hoopes said. “Her ability to push the ball and see the floor is a great asset for us.”

Brittney Hiebert is a 5-11 guard/post combo.

“Brittney is an amazing athlete,” Hoopes said. “She can play inside and out. She has played in the shadows of some really talented upperclassmen but will look to really step up this year as one of our go-to scorers.”

Additional letter-winners returning are seniors Olivia Duerksen and Jennifer Mey­sing and junior Kara Burkholder.

Duerksen is a 6-0 post who will be asked to fill a larger scoring role this season.

“Olivia is a great defensive player inside,” Hoopes said. “Her length is tough to shoot over. This year we will look for her to contribute more on the offensive end as well.”

Meysing is a 5-8 guard.

“Jennifer is a great set shooter,” Hoopes said. “Her role in the past has been to come in and be a zone buster by hitting open shots. This year we will look for her to be a huge outside threat.”

Burkholder is a 5-6 guard.

“Kara is a strong guard with an amazing work ethic,” Hoopes said. “She will bring a lot of energy on the court for us this year.”

Additional players to watch include juniors Abby Hannon (5-2, guard) and Leah Booton (5-10, post) and sophomore Savanna Wuest (5-6, guard).

Hoopes said he anticipates strong post play this season and will look to his guards to fill key roles. Establishing leadership will also be necessary, he said.

“Our team will look different this year, but we still expect to play at a fast pace with intense defense,” he said. “We learned a lot playing together over the summer, and we’ll probably make some adjustments to our style of play based on what we noticed.”

Hoopes picks his team to win the Wheat State League this season—the Bluebirds swept their league opponents a year ago. Other league contenders are Solomon and Canton-Galva.

Goessel will open the season Friday by hosting Inman.