Regrouping from the past, sights set forward for Majettes basketball

Alex Eisen/MDN Majettes guard Alli McCoy (14) playing defense on a Mandan player last season at Minot High School.

Two wins among 22 losses, but last season’s record doesn’t quite tell the whole story.

While the Minot High School girls basketball team struggled to get in the win column throughout the regular season, the Majettes salvaged what they could of a rough campaign in the postseason.

On the road in a West Region tournament play-in game, Minot High doubled its win total with a 50-43 victory against Turtle Mountain Community High School. The underdog Majettes then went to the WDA Tournament and pushed Jamestown to the limit, 58-52, to nearly reach a state tournament qualifier game.

So, from the outside looking in, it’s a season many will want to forget. But, there were still a couple of bright spots and plenty of learning moments to be had that shouldn’t be overlooked.

“You can always learn from that,” MHS coach Bernie Wasser said about last season. “We went through a lot of challenges and adversity last year. But, we are just focusing on what we got to do this year. We are very optimistic and the girls seem to be very excited about what we are doing right now.”

With a new basketball season upon us, Minot High is presented with a clean slate.

“It’s a whole new year,” Wasser said. “Our personnel is different. We are a lot quicker this year and we have younger players with experience. We are not looking backwards, we are looking forward right now.”

Seniors Alli McCoy, Brenna Tschetter and Brooke Nelson headline the returning cast of players from a season ago. Tschetter, a 6-foot-1 forward, had a team-high 27 points and 16 rebounds across the two WDA tournament losses for the Majettes last season.

It’s the depth behind the trio, with five juniors and six sophomores, which makes up a large chunk of the roster.

Bringing back sophomores Becca Tschetter, Paige Rosencrans and Allie Nelson — all of which got minutes last season as freshmen on the varsity squad — certainly helps ease the burden of having to replace the departures of Evie Reynolds, Paige Argent and Kali Askvig.

“We are going to have to have a deep bench and we are going to establish that right from the get go,” Wasser said. “With the style we are going to be playing, we are going to need 10 girls that are in great shape.”

The Majettes will be looking to use more of their speed and quickness this season to create chaos.

“It will be a lot of up tempo and a lot of pressing,” Wasser said. “Everything is going to be a lot quicker on offense and defense. We are going to rely on our guards. We still have to score, and that’s one of the reasons we are doing things up tempo to find other ways to score besides in the half-court offense.”

Stagnant offense and turnovers derailed the Majettes throughout last season, as Minot High averaged 39.2 points scored per game while giving up 59.5 points per game. In 19 of Minot’s 22 losses, they lost by double-digits and had an average margin of defeat of 22.6 points for the season.

Yet, the Majettes did play in more competitive games down the stretch.

The competition to make it out of the West Region this season starts in Bismarck with the defending state champions Legacy and three-time WDA regular season champions Century. Also in the mix near the top of the standings will likely be Bismarck High, Mandan, St. Mary’s and Jamestown.

The Majettes open the season Saturday with a cross-conference game at Grand Forks Red River.

“We got to handle their pressure,” Wasser said. “I want to say we had like 33 turnovers the first time we played (GFRR) last year at this time. So, we got to take care of the ball. We are going to see some press and I feel we have the personnel to break that press. We are looking forward to that challenge for our opener.”

Game time is at 1:45 p.m. with the MHS boys basketball contest against GFRR to follow at 3:30 p.m.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.