Spartans begin new era
BY JOSH STALOCH
LUXEMBURG – The Luxemburg-Casco High girls basketball team finished its 2022-23 campaign with a 9-9 record in the North Eastern Conference (NEC), 12-14 overall.
This year, under new head coach Beth Budnik, the Spartans hope to make the jump from the middle-of-the pack to becoming the kind of team NEC opponents aren’t going to look forward to facing.
“We’ve been working a lot on shooting. Our leadership is pretty good. They’re down to earth and focused,” said Budnik, who was born and raised in Luxemburg, played four years under the great coach Mike Schanhofer before earning a full ride to UW-Milwaukee where she played for two and a half years. “Hopefully, we can get back to the Luxemburg-Casco winning culture that we’ve had in the past.”
The Spartans lost a handful of contributors to graduation last year and some of those players played crucial roles on the team. But Budnik, who joined the coaching staff last December before taking over for this year, said there are quite a few returning players she will be able to rely on.
When asked how things were looking in the very early stages of the season, Budnik was all optimism.
“It’s not bad. We’ve been having open gyms all fall for players who want to take advantage. I’m excited about this team,” she said. “They have something there, I just need to pull it out of them. I don’t know if they’re confident enough in themselves and realize how much they can do yet. So making them believe in themselves, to trust each other as a team, I think that’s the biggest challenge, just getting them to realize their potential.”
Budnik said this year’s L-C squad is guard-heavy and features more than a couple of players who can handle the ball. The Spartans aren’t going to be very tall this season but what they lack in height, coach Budnik hopes to make up for with speed and intensity.
Feature backcourt players will include sophomores Brianna Bray and Alana Mrotek, as well as junior Erin Cherovsky, who played some point guard for the Spartans last season.
Seniors Maggie Hanmann and Gabrielle Wech are also capable ball handlers and will be key in what coach Budnik hopes will be an up-tempo offense.
Defensively, the Spartans plan to switch things up and will need to be able to adjust to counter the style of offense each opponent brings.
Budnik said we can expect to see some man coverage as well as zone.
She said the team will be fast and loud on defense while looking to get up in the face of whomever is handling the ball for the other team.
The Spartans began the regular season at home on Saturday, Nov. 11 against Marinette.