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Returnees boost chances of Muskego girls basketball team

Bennett leads unit of strong senior girls

Nov. 19, 2012

Muskego - A talented senior class, led by a recent NCAA Division 1 signee, gives Muskego girls basketball head coach Brian Hirtz plenty of optimism for the 2012-13 season.

The Warriors return six seniors, including 6-foot 3-inch post Renee Bennett, who signed last week with Ball State University of the Midwest Athletic Conference.

Key returnees

Bennett averaged just six points during the 2011-12 regular season but had a breakout game in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal victory over Franklin, pouring in 28 points.

"She is strong and gives us a great inside presence," Hirtz said. "She has great athletic ability."

Also back is 5-7 senior point guard Ashley Colla, who averaged eight points and shot 45 percent from the field a year ago. She will take over the point from Jessica Mlachnik, who graduated.

"She is a smart player, really intelligent with the ball," Hirtz said of Colla.

Other seniors are 5-8 guard Jessica Cattani, also a strong ballhandler; 5-7 guard Julia Keegan, a strong, physical player; 5-9 forward Julie Dusold and 5-9 forward Amber McDonald, who will be out until January with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

All either started or played major minutes for last year's 18-8 squad, which lost to Middleton in a Division 1 sectional title game.

Juniors are 6-0 post Chelsey Witkowiak, 5-8 forward Aly Kohanowski, 5-8 guard Dani Abella, 5-6 guard Jess Klamecki, 5-10 forward Sammy Schneiker and 5-10 post Taylor Strande. The lone sophomore is 5-8 forward Lizzie Terp.

In play

"I am excited about the year," Hirtz said. "We have a strong senior class, and we have a nice mix of juniors coming in as well. We are athletic, and we are strong in the post. We have some good scorers. We need to develop our depth; bench play will be a key."

Hirtz again plans for the up-tempo game on both offense and defense that has served the Warriors so well in recent seasons. "We want to get up and down the floor and get out in transition," he said.

Muskego will test the Classic 8 Conference this season. Hirtz said Mukwonago and Hartland Arrowhead are the likely favorites, but he feels his team will be right in the mix.

The Warriors will open the season against Sheboygan North at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Brookfield Central as part of the Lancers' Thanksgiving Shootout.

They will then visit Lake Geneva Badger at 7 p.m. Nov. 27 before opening the Classic 8 season at home against Arrowhead at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4.

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