St. Croix Central girls basketball gets younger as injuries multiplyAt the start of the season the St. Croix Central girls basketball team was one of the youngest teams in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
At the start of the season the St. Croix Central girls basketball team was one of the youngest teams in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference.
Losing two of their most experienced players in the past two weeks to season-ending injuries has the Panthers playing at new levels of inexperience.
In the opening minutes of last Tuesday’s game at Plum City, Panther junior forward Arinn DiSalvo suffered a dislocated knee cap while playing defense. That threw the Panthers out of their game plan, resulting in a 44-22 loss to the Blue Devils.
DiSalvo’s injury came a week after junior point guard Laura DeSmith was lost after suffering her second concussion of the season.
With the team being so young, Central coach Luke Fritsche said the rest of the season has become a chance for the young players to audition for roles on the team next season. His goal is to have the girls use the game time they are getting now to get comfortable playing at the varsity level. That way, they’ll be ready to play at a higher level when next season begins.
Fritsche is also installing new elements to the team’s approach that he thinks will suit the team’s skills for the 2012-13 season. He is anticipating that the Panthers will have excellent quickness next season. So he had the Panthers begin using a new full-court press that produced positive results in the second half at Plum City. He said junior Casey VanDusartz and freshman Lauren Moll played with good energy in creating several steals on the press.
Fritsche said VanDusartz has made a strong impression.
“She’s taken much more of an active role. She’s encouraging and positive. She wants to get better,” Fritsche said.
Sophomore McKenzy Johnson led the Panthers with 10 points at Plum City. Junior Taylor Refsnider was the team’s leading rebounder with nine. Sophomore Tayler Dow produced five rebounds and four points in two quarters of game time.
The Panthers play their final home game of the season this Thursday when Dunn-St. Croix Conference leader Colfax visits. This will be Senior Night and Teacher Appreciation Night for the Panthers. The Panthers finish the season with three road games. The first of those arrives next Tuesday, when they play at Boyceville.