By Bob San
A blend of veterans and youths may be the recipe for a successful season for the Maple Grove girls’ basketball team.
The Crimson return senior starters in all-conference point guard Angie Davison and forwards Maddie Ordner and Kelly Olzenak. The other seniors are guards Emily Zimmer and SJ DeGroote and forward Kyla Schmidt.
Crimson coach Mark Cook looks for top new players such as juniors Cora Bourbonais and Kaela Jones and sophomore Julie Hagert to see plenty of varsity action. So far, Cook likes the chemistry between the veterans and the younger players.
“We are excited about this group of kids,” Cook said. “We feel like they play really well together. We are going to be an athletic team that wants to play fast and we think we have the athletes to do it.”
Davison, who is starting her fourth season on varsity, feels this year’s squad should do well.
“I love them all. There are so many good talented girls from all the ages and they work so hard all the time,” Davison said. “Our younger girls are offering so much right now. I am really excited. We are so good right now and we are only going to improve.”
Davison had to carry much of the offensive load and was the target of other teams’ defenses last winter. She said this year’s squad would have more scoring balance.
“No I think actually I will carry less than last year,” she said. “We have a lot more girls who will step up this year. There are a lot of girls who will contribute for sure.”
Davison is correct about her team as the Crimson opened the season with impressive wins over Irondale and Blaine. They played solid defense, holding Blaine to 13 points, and many players got into the scoring column. Cook sees promise in this squad.
“If we work hard and continue to improve, we feel like we are right there in the mix for both a conference and section championship,” Cook said. ‘Both our conference (Osseo, Park Center, Centennial and Champlin Park) and our section (Osseo, Champlin Park, Centennial and Roseville) are very strong this year so we definitely want to be playing our best basketball when we get to late February.”