The McAuley Catholic girls finished 15-11 last season and return all but one player from that team. The Lady Warriors beat College Heights in the opening round of district play but fell to league rival Purdy in the semifinals.
Purdy is the team every Ozark 7 team is chasing.
“This year, I believe the biggest game on our schedule is Purdy. They have been a force in the Ozark 7 Conference for as long as I can remember. If we want any shot at winning the conference, we’re going to have to go through them. The fact that they ended our season in the district semifinals last year, will give us extra incentive to play well against them,” head coach Mike Howard said.
Senior Abby Schiefelbein is where things will start for the Lady Warriors. She averaged 12.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last year. The second-team all-conference selection posted 12 double-doubles last season.
Fellow senior Dorothy Ostmeyer is back fully healthy after missing half of her sophomore season with a broken finger and almost half of last season with a torn ACL. She averaged 10.5 points per game in 17 games last season.
Four juniors will slide in behind the two senior leaders in Courtney Bates, Claire Lowry, Rebecca Freitas and Johanna Damso. Bates was the leading scorer of that group after she averaged 11.4 points per game to go with 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.2 steals. Lowry chipped in 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Freitas pulled down 3.9 rebounds per game.
Sophomore Taylor Schiefelbein is also back after a strong freshman campaign where she scored 7.4 points and 4.3 assists per game.
Carthage transfer junior Madison Childs could be a strong piece off the bench.
“I will set the bar tremendously high this season,” Howard said. “We have a lot of talent coming back, and I think we can challenge for the Ozark 7 Conference title this year. I also think we have a good chance to make it to the District 12 championship game if we play like I know we are capable of. The main goal, however, is to get better each and every day by working hard and having an unwavering desire to be successful.”
McAuley Catholic opens the season on Nov. 21 at Liberal.