As far as X's and O's go, fifth-year Minot coach Todd Magnuson fancies himself a throwback.
Structured half-court sets valuing each possession have been a staple in his varying coaching capacities the last 25 years.
So when Magnuson's undersized Majettes are firing jumpers just one pass into their transition offense this winter, it won't always sit well.
Minot High School girls basketball coach Todd Magnuson instructs his team during a practice last week at Magic City Campus. The Majettes open their season Thursday at Bismarck High.
But with their frontcourt depleted by graduation, getting the ball up the floor with a group of athletic guards will be a necessary evil for the longtime coach.
"We have to utilize our speed," said Magnuson, who read up on uptempo offenses during the summer. "We don't really have the size to sit back in a half court. We're too jittery and need to keep moving."
Minot, which opens its season on Thursday at Bismarck High, begins life after Holly Johnson, North Dakota's Ms. Basketball recipient a year ago.
Meet the Majettes
Seniors - Loni Bryantt, Andie Hankla, Morgan Milbrath
Juniors - Sydney Remington, Cheyanne Larson, Chenoa Erz, Taylor Foley, Jerica Hanson, Jayden Moum, Emma Sandy
Sophomores - Sophie Bengson, McKale Duttenhefer, Sierra Duttenhefer
December - 13, at Bismarck, 6 p.m.; 18, at Turtle Mountain, 7 p.m.; 20, vs. Jamestown, 7:30 p.m; 22, vs. Dickinson, 4:15 p.m.; 28, vs. Grand Forks Red River, 7:30 p.m.; 29, vs. Grand Forks Central, 6 p.m.
January - 11, at Mandan, 7:30 p.m.; 17, vs. Bismarck High, 7:30 p.m.; 24, at Williston High, 6 p.m.; 26, at Jamestown, 6 p.m.; 31, vs. St. Mary's, 7:30 p.m.
February - 7, vs. Bismarck, 7:30 p.m.; 9, vs. Dickinson, 6 p.m.; 12, vs. Mandan, 7:30 p.m.; 14, at St. Mary's, 6 p.m.; 22, at Century, 7:30 p.m.; 28, vs. Williston, 7:30 p.m.
March - 7-9, at West Region tournament in Bismarck; 14-16, at state tournament in Bismarck.
Johnson, who now starts at North Dakota State, teamed up with fellow 6-footer Jayd Eggert for the bulk of the Majettes' scoring. Now Minot will look to make up their departure by committee.
Andie Hankla (12.5 ppg), twins McKale and Sierra Duttenhefer and Loni Bryantt bring substantial experience to a team adjusting to its identity.
Hankla, a three-year starter, is welcoming the change. Being the team's tallest player is a bit different for the 5-10 senior, though.
"We're definitely a shorter team and still have to learn how to get up and down the floor," said Hankla, one of just three seniors on the roster. "Now we're more of a defensive team than an offensive team."
The Majettes are aiming to flummox their opponents with full-court pressure designed to turn takeaways into points. Without a pure shooter or a post presence, Minot knows it has to earn each bucket.
A year ago Minot was third in the West Region in defense but now it's a matter of stopping opponents in the flow of an up-and-down-the-floor tempo.
"We want to build off of that," Magnuson said of last year's defensive performance. "But we'll have to be in good shape and right now we're not the deepest team."
Magnuson plans to play 7-8 girls consistently, which could be an arduous pursuit early in the season. Sierra Duttenhefer won't be active until January as she's recovering from a torn ACL she suffered in an AAU game last summer.
Having one of the fastest, in-shape players in the state helps, though, as senior speedster Morgan Milbrath also returns to the lineup.
Milbrath - a highly-touted sprinter - will be expected to provide a defensive boost, and Magnuson sees Jayden Moum and Sophie Bengson in his rotation.
"I still haven't figured out who my fifth starter is going to be," Magnuson said. "We have to get these girls acclimated to scoring. It's a matter of getting them to believe in themselves."
West Region glance
The West Region had a powerful showing at the Class A state tournament a year ago, and it has the means to represent well again.
Bismarck Century (state champion), Bismarck (third place) and Minot (fifth place) all earned trophies, but this winter Bismarck is the prohibitive favorite.
The Demons returns a wealth of talent from a year ago, including all-West Region pick Naomi Rust. Rust averaged 15.9 points a night in her junior campaign.
"If I was to pick the top teams as of now it'd go Bismarck, Century, Mandan and Jamestown," Magnuson said. "After that it will be crapshoot who takes that fifth spot."
Hankla almost echoed her coach's sentiment.
"I definitely see Bismarck and Century at the top," Hankla said. "St. Mary's will be improved and they'll be looking to get us."
Century was hit hard by graduation, but returns a stalwart in Hannah Larson. Larson averaged just under a double-double a game, tallying 12 points and nine rebounds per contest.
Mandan, which fell in last year's third-place game, returns a healthy portion of its roster. The Bravettes will miss all-state point guard Mic Longtin, but figure to have enough experience to finish in the region's upper tier.
Jamestown could be in the mix, too. The Blue Jays lost three starters but return one of the best players in the league with guard Kyra Dewald. Dewald was also an all-West Region pick last season.