ELGIN — Some coaches are known for their style of play. They coach the game a certain way and challenge opposing teams to find a way to beat them.
Wolfpack Girls Basketball Coach Randy Eisenhauer is one of those coaches. His style of play, up-tempo from the beginning of the game until the final buzzer, has proven to be very successful for Elgin Public-Pope John.
Last year the Wolfpack posted a 19-5 record which earned them a berth in the Class D-1 State Basketball Tournament. EPPJ averaged just over 52 points per game on offense and allowed just under 37 points per game.
It would surprise no one if this year’s team puts up the same kind of numbers and make another run at the state tournament.
“Our practices so far have been up-tempo practices,” Eisenhauer said. “We’re gonna run till they (the opponent) gets tired.” The games may be close early, but when the Wolfpack executes the offense and defense, opponents tend to tire late in the game and EPPJ pulls away to win the game.
“Run, shoot, be quick,” Eisenhauer said he asks of his team year after year. “Sometimes it bites us,” he said, but more often than not it leads to victories.
Junior Ally Wemhoff was the team’s leading scorer last year, averaging nearly 12 points per game. She is just one of two returning starters from last year’s team. The other returning starter is senior Lydia Behnk who provides the Wolfpack with an inside presence at both ends of the court. Behnk averaged eight points per game and was the team leader in rebounds with 157.
The Wolfpack will benefit this year from a number of players who gained valuable experience last season. Seniors’ Paige Meis and Calli Krebs know how to make the plays necessary to win. So, too, do junior Kaylee Martinsen and sophomore Kayce Kallhoff. They, along with Heather Bauer, Araceli Palmer and a host of young players will provide many thrills once the season starts.
The Wolfpack’s first game will be Friday night against Niobrara-Verdigre (at Verdigre).
Altogether, there are 14 girls out for basketball, a number which Eisenhauer is happy to have because it will allow the JVs to play four-quarter games. Of that number, six players are freshmen.
One thing for certain, just as in past years, the Wolfpack will be ready to play four quarters of basketball every night.