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New roles, new players for Women of Troy

West girls face tough MVC competition

North Liberty Leader

IOWA CITY– B. J. Mayer is mixing things up at West High. In his seventh year at the helm of the Women of Troy varsity basketball program, Mayer is moving players around and bringing in some newcomers for the 2013-2014 season.
“While we do have five kids returning, their roles will be different from last year,” Mayer said. “They will have to do more this year and this may take time.” Back for new adventures on the hardwood are starters Danielle Craig, a 5’7” junior guard and Mikaela Morgan, a 5’10” junior forward. Craig averaged 11.1 points per game and earned a spot on the All-Conference Second Team. Morgan averaged 6.6 points and six rebounds earning her a spot on the All-Conference Honorable Mention squad.
Also back are Grace Tafolla, Mollie Mason and Kristina Bauer. Tafolla is a 5’8” junior guard with 2.7 points per game, Mason is a 5’11” senior forward who averaged 2.8 points and 2.6 rebounds, and Bauer is a 5’7” senior guard. Joining them is Bella Lozano-Dobbs, a transfer from Keokuk who averaged 7.6 points per game.
Among the newcomers to the line-up will be Jessie Harder, a 5’8” sophomore guard; Ali Tauchen, a 5’11” freshman forward; Emily Halvorson, a 6’1” freshman forward and Regan Steigleder, a 5’7” freshman guard.
“I believe that our team will be fairly deep and be able to play ten players,” Mayer said. “I think we will be very balanced offensively with many kids having the ability to score. We should be fairly athletic and hope to create offense with our aggressive defense.” As for the younger players, the coach said, “they will need time to gain experience necessary to compete at a high level.”
A high level will be needed as Mayer sees stiff competition ahead from rival City High and Cedar Rapids Kennedy. He said those squads will be favored in the MVC-Mississippi Division, West’s home in the conference. City High returns most of their players, he said with three who have Division 1 (college) offers: Haley Lorenzen, Courtney Joens and Kenya Earl. The Cougars return eight of their top-nine players including All-Conference Second Team honorees Paige Hendrickson and Madi Meyer.
“I believe that Waterloo West and Cedar Rapids Washington will be favored in the MVC-Valley Division,” Mayer said. West brings back all five of their starters including Division 1 signees Blair Thomas and Haley Puk. The Warriors bring back Valley Division Player of the Year Danielle Franklin and All-Conference Second Team pick Aleena Hobbs. “I think that Linn-Mar, Xavier and Prairie will also be very good teams.”
Mayer put City High, Waterloo West, Kennedy and Washington as the best teams in the area, and looks for a strong performance from Davenport Assumption. Looking farther out, Mayer’s crystal basketball prognostications have Des Moines East, West Des Moines Dowling, West Des Moines Valley, Ankeny Centennial and Southeast Polk, with the top teams in the MVC as the best in the state and contenders for the top of Class 5A.
The Women of Troy are in action on the road at Davenport Assumption on Saturday, Nov. 30, with a 3:30 tip-off, and will face Dubuque Wahlert Tuesday, Dec. 3, at home with a 7:30 p.m. start.