Login NowClose 
Sign In to wabashplaindealer.com           
Forgot Password
or if you have not registered since 8/22/18
Click Here to Create an Account

Expectations aplenty for new-look Norse

Northfield’s Kenzie Baer scores a layup during the first quarter of Thursday’s scrimmage against South Adams.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

On the heels of arguably the greatest season in Northfield girls’ basketball history, head coach Melissa Allen doesn’t anticipate her side will slow down.

The Norse are armed with the talent in both returners from last season and newcomers to the fold. If Thursday is any sign, Northfield may be reloading rather than rebuilding.

The Norse unofficially opened the season with a scrimmage at home against South Adams. Four 12-minute quarters with a running clock offered an early extended look at the Norse as they retake the court after a trophy-laden season last winter.

“I just told the girls that we have high expectations,” Allen said. “Our motto for the year is “We Rise” and I told the girls we can look at it two different ways. One, we can just kind of come in this season and just go with the flow because we had such a great season last year or we can come in and rise above and get back to where we were last year if not further.”

Officially, stats were not kept on the night save for a score that reset after each quarter. In the opening frame with both sides playing man-to-man defense, the Norse won 16-7. The second quarter was zone defenses with Northfield earning a 13-3 win. With both sides pressing in quarter three, Northfield won 12-2 before a fourth quarter that saw either side play any defese with the Squires winning 10-7. In total across the four quarters, Northfield outscored the Star Fires 51-19.

“I saw a lot of good things,” Allen said. “The good thing about tonight is I saw some things we need to work on before our game next Thursday. But overall, I saw a lot of good things.”

With graduation taking away three starters from last year’s team and a knee injury sidelining a fourth in junior Kyra Kennedy, junior Addi Baker was the lone holdover from the starting five from last winter.

On Thursday, Baker was joined in the front court by Kearston Stout, a junior that featured in all 28 games last year, and junior Kenzie Baer who missed last season with her own knee injury. Paired with junior forward Emily Pennington off the bench, the Norse have a host of big bodies that Allen sees as creating many advantages this season.

“(It creates) huge (advantages), in my book, because they’re not only big but they’re so athletic,” she said. “They’re going to be hard guard. Offensively, the other teams if they do have a big girl, they’re not going to be able to keep up most the time. And we’ll be able to stop them just because of our athleticism on the (defensive) side.”

The question marks for the Norse this season come in the backcourt. Kennedy’s injury leaves the Norse with just one guard, junior Emma Hoover, that played in at least half the games last season. On Thursday, Hoover was joined in the backcourt by senior Fayth Leming, who appeared in six games. Senior Maddie Clark also featured heavily on the night in the backcourt as did sophomores Ainsley Dale and Addy Rosen.

“The guards we have coming in, they’re stepping up and filling in those spots well,” Allen said. “I think it helped them a lot by watching and being with Kelcie and Ariel the last couple of years. They know how we like to play now and they’re able to step right in and fill those spots up for us.”

The Norse also beefed up their schedule, adding a trip to Homestead this winner. Last season, the Spartans finished last season ranked No. 5 in Class 4A.

Northfield opens up the season next Thursday at home against Mississinewa.