Milaca’s boys and girls basketball teams will both move into action Tuesday, Dec. 3, with the boys hosting Foley in a Granite Ridge Conference game and the girls traveling to Maple Lake for a non-conference game.
Both games start at 7:30.
Milaca’s boys will be facing a young, somewhat inexperienced Foley team.
The Falcons return four letter-winners from last year’s team which topped Milaca twice, 55-35 at Foley and 47-44 on the Wolves’ court.
“We’re a lot smaller than last season but we are very quick and athletic,” said Nathan Larison, who’s starting his sixth season at Falcons head coach. “Playing physical, rebounding and finding consistent scoring will be major keys for us.”
The Falcons, who were 11-15 last season, lost at Kimball 82-59 in their season opener last Friday.
Mitch Weisser, a 6-foot-3 senior post, led Foley with 19 points while 6-3 sophomore post Andrew Klucas had 13 points.
Other returning players for Foley include junior guard Jon Greener, junior guard Alex Boeckman and senior guard Coleman Strosahl.
Milaca returns several veterans, including senior guards Brian Kiel, Justin Fransen and Cam Sundberg, senior forward Matt VanSomeren and junior forwards Mike Garber and Nic Wolbert.
“The season opener is always exciting and playing a rivalry game makes it even more special,” said Milaca Coach Dustin Naumann. “We’ve worked hard in practice and we’re anxious to get going.”
The Wolves were 7-19 last season.
Milaca continues GRC play Thursday, Dec. 5, hosting St. Cloud Cathedral.
Milaca’s girls team will be facing a Maple Lake team that has some experience and some promising underclassmen, according to coach Adam Ronnenberg.
“We return two starters from last season but we will fill the void with some young players who have the ability to shoot from the perimeter,” said Ronnenberg, who’s in his eighth season as head coach. “We lack size and we will have to work hard on defending the post area and rebounding.”
The Irish return six letter-winners, including senior guard Rayne Coughlin, who’s been on the varsity since eighth grade. Other key players include sophomore forward/guard Brooklyn Toedter and junior forward Emily Webb.
Maple Lake was 12-13 last season. It topped Milaca 55-45 at Milaca late in the season.
“They have a solid team and we’re expecting a good battle,” said Milaca Coach Dave Leom. “Like all teams right now, we’re excited about the upcoming season.”
The Wolves will be bidding to improve on last season’s 8-20 record.
Milaca finished the season on a high note, topping Moose Lake-Willow River and Aitkin in the Section 7AA Tournament before losing to Esko in the title game.
The Wolves return several veterans including senior guard Sarah Forker, junior guard Makayla Paggen, sophomore center Molly Banks, junior guard Alex Ploeger, junior guard Ashley Cassens, junior center/forward Allie Terpstra and junior forward Courtney Beaver.
Milaca opens Granite Ridge Conference play Thursday, Dec. 5, at Little Falls. The Wolves’ first home game is Tuesday, Dec. 10, against Kimball in a non-conference test.
(Note: The Times will preview the winter sports teams in a special section Dec. 5.)