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Youthful Knights girls’ basketball looking for return to state

Ryan Ladika/MDN Senior Emily Brugman, left, is guarded by sophomore Mikayla Altringer during the Knights’ Tuesday afternoon practice.

Rostering just one senior, the Our Redeemer’s girls’ basketball team enters the new season looking to make a splash with a young, yet still quite experienced, group.

“As the only senior, I kind of feel like a mom toward the younger girls,” forward Emily Brugman said with a laugh. “I think it’s really fun having a younger team. I really want them to be happy and I want them to do the best that they can.”

The team knows it has more in the tank after suffering a 37-32 first-round regional defeat to Velva in February that concluded its 2020-21 slate. After losing only two players to graduation in the spring, head coach Scott Peterson believes the group has the necessary pieces in place for the program’s first state tournament berth since 2017.

First things first, though, the team must find a way to advance through the perennial challenge that is the Region 6 tournament.

Glenburn High School earned a trip to the big dance after producing point totals of 70, 59 and 47 at regionals this past spring, and the Knights have set their focus on better clamping down on their opposition on the defensive end of the floor to better prepare themselves for the robust offensive production they will see on a nightly basis not only in the postseason, but from Thursday night’s season-opener against Rolette and on.

“(Peterson) always tells us defense wins games, and it’s so true,” junior forward Elise Altringer added. “Just getting that energy up and stopping the ball, and the offense will kind of come after that.”

Altringer and Brugman will join a quartet of upperclassmen looking to lead a combination of seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th graders that outnumbers them two-to-one, but the relative youth of the team is by no means a detriment.

“I say we’re young, but our young players have a lot of varsity experience,” Peterson said. “Meadow Roberts played as a freshman last year, she played a lot of minutes. Elise Altringer is a four-year starter right now. Emily Brugman is a four-year starter, and Maya Vibeto, she’s a three-year starter right now.”

Vibeto led her team in total scoring a year ago with an average of just over 14 points per game and Roberts, Altringer, Aubrey Griedl and Kendal Braun also eclipsed the century mark in total points scored.

Brugman was the Knights’ leading force on the glass, snagging 99 total rebounds in her 22 games, and Altringer and Braun added 37 blocks and 56 steals, respectively, that paced Our Redeemer’s in both categories.

With Braun and Olivia Nelson having moved on to their next steps, the door is now open for Brugman and her fellow upperclassmen to help lead their youthful roster to the second state tournament appearance in program history.

“I definitely want to make a really deep postseason run,” Brugman said. “I’ve been with this team since I was in eighth grade, so it’s really fun to be with these girls for so long, and I just really want to see them succeed and I want us to have a really fun season.”

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