PREVIEW: Second-ranked Wildcats show experience, talent


     It’s safe to say the Maquoketa Valley High School girls basketball team knows what is expected of it this season.

     “As always, there are high expectations for this team,” 15th-year coach Scot Moenck said. “Not only from those around us, but also the expectations we put on ourselves year in and year out.”

     There are plenty of reasons for those expectations. One of them is the return of 5-foot-10 senior Emerson Whittenbaugh, who missed all of last season with a knee injury but was first team all-conference in the Tri-Rivers as a sophomore.

     Add to her the return of two of last year’s first team all-conference players, seniors Ella Imler and Taya Tucker, along with starters Carissa Sabers and Kylie Chesnut, and it’s not surprising the Wildcats started the season as the second-ranked team in Class 2A.

     Imler made two all-state teams last year after averaging 15 points per game. Tucker also averaged 15 per game, and along with Imler was a unanimous first team selection in the conference.

     “We have great senior leadership from kids who have logged a lot of minutes,” Moenck said, “and we have a lot of experience back from last year’s team. We have lots of kids who can play different spots on the floor and can contribute in different ways. This is such a great group to be around.”

     In all, there are 11 returning letter-winners. Those include juniors Caelyn Sands, Liz McDowell and Paige Winter; and sophomores Kennedy Rausch, Ella Mensen and Erin Knipper.

     Maquoketa Valley will have considerable opposition in the quest for a Tri-Rivers Conference. North Linn, East Buchanan, Springville, Alburnett and Clinton Prince of Peace are among those expected to contend.

     “Our league has so many good coaches and players in it,” Moenck said. “We have the potential to be very, very good as well, but we will have to be ready to go every night.”

     Moenck is assisted by Brad Huber, Jesse Wooten and Heidi Hoeger.



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