The Alexandria girls basketball team has some standout players to replace off a team that went to the section title game last winter, but the Cardinals are never really in rebuilding mode.
Alexandria is ranked 10th in the initial Minnesota Basketball News polls that were announced before the start of the season. That’s despite losing four seniors, including three starters to graduation in guard Kaye Paschka and forwards McKenzie Duwenhoegger and Emily Jones.
Faces may change for the Cardinals, but the style of play never does. Alexandria will lean on returning letter winners in Ella Grove, Mia McGrane, Alayna Strand, Jaya Hatlestad, Mataya Hoelscher, Summer Gerhardt and Cate Bloom to help lead the way. Junior guard/forward Lilly Horn also figures to be a nice addition to the team after moving to Alexandria this offseason. Horn played for Brainerd as a sophomore.
“Look for the Lady Cards to push the tempo on both ends of the court,” 35-year head coach Wendy Kohler said. “We have nice length, depth and post some difficult matchups for opposing teams. We expect to be a hard-nosed defensive unit that can score out of many positions. No stars. Everyone must do their part.”
Kohler said the expectations are again to compete for a Central Lakes Conference and Section 8AAA title. The Cardinals fell by one point to Fergus Falls in last year’s section championship, but the Otters are no longer apart of the 8AAA field.
Fergus Falls dropped down a class to Section 8AA after new section assignments were announced by the Minnesota State High School League. Alexandria is now a part of a section that includes Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Little Falls, Sartell-St. Stephen, Sauk Rapids-Rice, St. Cloud Apollo and St. Cloud Tech. Kohler sees Sartell and Bemidji as two teams that will compete with the Cardinals near the top of the section.
Alexandria and Fergus Falls will still meet up in the Central Lakes Conference. They figure to be two of the top teams in the CLC again this winter, along with defending conference champion Willmar.
2019-20 ALEXANDRIA GIRLS BASKETBALL
SENIORS - Mia McGrane, Ella Grove, Summer Gerhardt; JUNIORS - Jaya Hatlestad, Myah Kremer, Cate Bloom, Mataya Hoelscher, Alayna Strand, Lilly Horn, Izzy Rasmusen, Allea Balcome; SOPHOMORES - Tessa McGrane, Addison Boesl, Maggie Anderson, Lilly Thul; FRESHMEN - Ella Steussy, Hannah Boraas, Morgan Jones
COACHES - Head coach - Wendy Kohler - 35th season, 601-277; Assistant coaches - Julie Wrobel, Jordan Hendricks, Harrison Aakre, Jacob Smith
ALEXANDRIA GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Nov. 23 vs. New Prague at Hopkins High School, 10:30 a.m.
Nov. 26 vs. St. Cloud Tech, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 3 vs. Willmar, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 6 at Fergus Falls, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 9 at Big Lake, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 12 at Little Falls, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 13 vs. Detroit Lakes, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 17 vs. St. Cloud Apollo, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 19 at Sauk Rapids-Rice, 6 p.m.
Dec. 26 at Perham Invite, TBD
Dec. 27 at Perham Invite, TBD
Jan. 2 vs. Brainerd, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 7 at Sartell, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 9 at Detroit Lakes, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 10 vs. Tartan, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 14 vs. Moorhead, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 16 at St. Cloud Tech, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 21 at Rocori, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 24 vs. Fergus Falls, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 27 at Bemidji, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 at Willmar, 5:45 p.m.
Feb. 6 vs. Sauk Rapids-Rice, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 8 vs. Becker, 11:30 a.m.
Feb. 11 at St. Cloud Apollo, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 13 at Brainerd, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 18 vs. Sartell, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 27 Section Quarterfinals, TBD