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Pirates expected to be in thick of PRC cage race this season

Verndale senior Teresa Moenkedick will be leading her team into action for the first time this season Nov. 27 when the Pirates host Browerville. Photo by Brian Hansel

Verndale Head Girls' Basketball Coach Art Schluttner sees his team in the hunt this season in the Park Region Conference.

"The conference is pretty well up for grabs," Schluttner said. "We should be in the top half."

The Pirates finished 12-14 overall last year and went 6-6 against PRC foes.

Schluttner pointed out he still has a very young squad, but he likes their work ethic and athleticism. The Pirates will be buoyed by five letterwinners and three returning starters.

Guard Teresa Moenkedick is the team's only senior. Moenkedick averaged 22 points a game for the Pirates last year and crossed the 1,000-point scoring mark for her career.

"She's a very talented player that can do a lot of things for us," Schluttner said. "She's very unselfish."

Krista Daily is the team's only junior letterwinner. Schluttner said the 5-11 forward has made great strides since her sophomore year, when she came off the bench.

The club's sophomore letterwinner is Elyssa Kern, a "super quick" guard, who came off the bench last year as the team's sixth player. Schluttner considers Kern to be a gifted defensive player.

Letterwinners Sarah Moenkedick and Jordyn Glenz are both back for their freshman season. The guard/forwards are both competitive. Moenkedick brings a lot of athletic talent to the court. Glenz was the team's No. 2 scorer last year and will also be counted on for her rebounding.

Schluttner has plans for both junior center Jordan Schwanke and sophomore guard Christina Wright. Schwanke crowds the 6-foot mark, and will be a very physical presence at the center spot. Wright is a lefty who is expected to score a lot. Schluttner also considers her a tenacious defender.

Guard Shania Glenz will see playing time because of her ability as a shooter.

"She could be a very special eighth-grader," Schluttner said.

The Pirates will also have freshmen Nicole Conn (guard), Sydney Weniger (forward), Molly Holman (forward), Keila Schmitz (forward), Cassie Cottrell (forward) and Samantha Kveton (forward) in their ranks.