The 2012-13 basketball season for the Colman-Egan girls’ ended the same way that it did in 2011-12, with a loss to Howard in the first round of the District 4B tournament, but this year’s team saw a lot of improvement as well as a lot of excitement for the fans.
The Hawks finished the season 5-16, one more win that last year’s 4-21 mark, but a lot of their success came late in the season, once they got through their gauntlet of high powered opponents.
Colman-Egan came out of the gates this season with a close 45-43 overtime loss to Elkton-Lake Benton at home, but the way the girls fought in their opening game showed fifth year head coach Kristi Smith that the hard work they put in during the off season was paying off.
The Hawks got right back on the court two days later and defeated Garretson, 50-43, for their first win of the season. CEHS was hoping to build off the momentum of their first two games but unfortunately for them, their schedule had other plans.
The Hawks went on to lose their next seven games by a total score of 435-248, an average loss of 27 points per game (ppg). But there are few teams in Class ‘B’ that would have faired any better. The combined record of the teams they played in that span was 84-54. The seven losses put the Hawks behind the eight ball early with a 1-8 record but they weren’t ready to quit fighting.
Colman-Egan would go on to win two of their next four games and eventually defeat cross-county rival Flandreau a few games later. The Hawks picked up their final win of the season against the 11-8 Alcester-Hudson Cubs, giving the Hawks their first win versus a team with a winning record.
CEHS lost their final game of the regular season and got matched up with Howard in the first round of districts for the second year in a row. The Hawks led for most of the game but unfortunately, they were unable to pull off the victory, ending their season.
“We were obviously disappointed that our season ended in the first round of districts; however, I felt our team improved throughout the year and we had a fun season,” said Coach Smith.
The loss to Howard also ended the careers of two Hawk seniors. Paityn Groos has been a constant in the Hawks starting line up for three years. She led the team in rebounding for the second year in a row with 130 rebounds (6.2 RPG) in 2013. Groos also led the team in double-doubles with four but it was her transition to a new position that impressed.
“She has grown into an incredible player. This year she stepped up into the point guard position and was our floor general. She was also one of our teams leading scorers,” said Smith. Groos scored over 200 points in 2013 while averaging double-figures in points for the first time in her career with 10 ppg.
Mandy Entringer joined Groos as the only other senior on the squad. Entringer was entering her second year as a starter and averaged 4.3 ppg while leading the team in three point shooting at 33% (10-30). But Entringer brought much more to the youthful Hawks than what you read in the stat book according to Smith.
“Mandy was a hustler and a very consistent shooter. She was always calm under pressure and that was very valuable to this young team.”
Although the team is very young, they will have two juniors from this year’s team returning for their senior years in 2013-14. Hailey Harms and Tori Nelsen both played vital roles in both this year’s and last year’s squads and will be looked on to lead the team next year.
Harms was very solid all around in 2013. She put up 6.3 ppg as well as averaging just fewer than four rebounds per game, while picking up 50 steals on the season.
“Hailey is so incredibly quick. When she catches the ball and takes it to the rim, teams have a hard time keeping up with her. We expect to see more that from her next year.”
Nelsen was the team’s engine. She led the Hawks with 294 points on the season (14 ppg) as well as over four rebounds per game. But she isn’t just a one trick pony, Nelsen plays both sides of the ball, leading the team with 52 steals on the season. Nelsen scored over 20 points several times this season including a 28 point performance versus Flandreau on January 29th.
“Tori is a playmaker, she is a very athletic and versatile player who has an incredible way of getting to the basket and scoring,” Smith said. “She draws the other team’s defense to her, which creates more opportunities for her teammates,” she added.
Those teammates include several youngsters that played major minutes for the Hawks in 2013. Baylee Groos, a sophomore this year, started 16 games for the Hawks, giving them a much needed boost in the defensive low post.
“Baylee is such a tough player. Our team did not have the height advantage most nights and her post defense was so valuable to our team this year. She is not afraid to get in there and battle for the ball.”
Burgin Groos, only an eighth grader for the Hawks, started every game in 2013. Burgin, along with Baylee, gave the Hawks their best low post defense.
“Game after game she provided our team with tough post defense and rebounding. She also has great floor sense and really understands the game. We will look for her to be even more of scorer and go-to player next year.”
Smith has grown very close to this group over the years. “We love coaching these girls! They are the reason why Wayne [Smith] and I give our time to coaching basketball. It truly does feel like we are a family and Wayne and I would do anything for them. Not only do they all work hard on the basketball court, but they are also terrific people off the court as well,” Smith said about her team.
“Some of my favorite times from the season include stepping into the locker room after the Flandreau game, playing “Chaser Drill” with them at team practice and watching them work hard and reach their goals.”
Even though the season is over, Smith wants everyone to know, “The Hawks future is looking very bright!”