New Berlin - When New Berlin Eisenhower girls basketball team takes the floor at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against Green Bay Preble, the Lions will be playing without the fabulous Nicole Bauman.
Bauman, the state's Miss Wisconsin Basketball (player of the year) last season and the backbone of this team for four seasons, is now playing for the Wisconsin Badgers.
"It will be a different feeling, a different venue," veteran Ike coach Gary Schmidt said. "It's a new cast of characters who will fill the void and get themselves well-prepared. When you lose Miss Wisconsin Basketball, you will miss her, but we are hoping some of kids can do some of the things she did by herself."
Schmidt has plenty of talent returning, led by Jenny Weiland (10.8 points), Katie Lang (10.0), Erin Ganzke (7.1), Jenna York (5.4), Rachel Rush (4.4), Kristin Hesselbach and (3.9) and Jessa Hahn (3.4). Hesselbach is coming off a broken left wrist on her nonshooting hand and returned to the team on Wednesday.
Add newcomers senior Elani Geinopolos (guard) and juniors Karlee Gates (forward) and Anthie Katris (guard) and sophomore Sammy Kozlowski to the mix and the Lions will be the favorites in the redone Woodland - West Division.
Speaking of the rich getter richer, Kozlowski is a transfer from Milwaukee Pius XI who was on the varsity as a freshman.
"On paper we look really good," Schmidt said. "Now you have to come out and put that on the court. The chemistry is going to take a little bit. We have to come up with the right formula, put the pieces of the puzzle together. But I think we will be a good team and a tough team.
"We will look to pressure the ball and get turnovers and score some points off the transition game."
But the key to the Lions' success will be how far will the "big three" carry them.
"Weiland, Lang and Ganzke bring a lot to table," Schmidt said. "They are good defenders and are quick. They are three-year starters. I think they got quicker and we should get scoring from all three in the hole.
More importantly, they have all been there before.
"They have played in big playoff games," Schmidt said. "They know what it takes to win."
Eisenhower opens the season in the Brookfield Central Tournament.
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