FASTBREAK: Carrington back in Region 3 mix
Hannah Hagel epitomizes two of Carrington High School's biggest strengths: athleticism and experience.
"She really came into her own last year," said Carrington girls basketball coach Andy Braaten. "She got on the floor a lot as a sophomore and then last year she really took it to the next level really with her ball-handling.
"Her skills really improved. Hopefully, she keeps that up."
Hagel and the rest of the Cardinals are coming off a 20-win season that ended with a third-place finish at the Region 3 tournament.
Hagel put together an impressive line in her junior season averaging 13 points and more than seven rebounds per game. The 5-foot-10 senior had 42 assists and recorded 23 blocks. Hagel was selected all-district and is one of four returning seniors for Braaten. The Cards are also bringing back Tessa Page, Lexi Page and Kenzie Edland.
Hagel and the Page duo are fresh off concluding their final season with the Carrington volleyball team headed up by Carrington's assistant basketball coach Megan Trautman. Braaten said the athletic ability of his captains and underclassmen has helped the Cards be a tough team in a competitive region.
"We've been really blessed throughout the years to have our kids in two or three sports," Braaten said. "We stress getting out for track or golf, or volleyball or cross country. That just helps their competitive drive and helps togetherness.
"We have a pretty good mix of athletes on the roster to pressure the ball and hopefully play some good 'D' throughout the nights."
Braaten said his mix of athletes, including Hagel and junior Sydney Grager, have contributed to a strong inside game for the Cardinals. While the team might be difficult to stop inside, Braaten said the Cards need to work on developing stronger guard play and defending on the perimeter.
Luckily, Braaten's got the players to head it up.
"Our captains have been in the program for four years," Braaten said. "Their experience will be key and their leadership will be key. They have played together through the years and they have been successful, so hopefully, they've seen the leadership we've had in the past and they carry it on."
But a spot on top of the district -- and region -- will not be made easy.
"Our region has always been solid," Braaten said. "This year (in District 5) we'd like to see us in the mix but we know that LaMoure's program is awesome and Oakes has some great athletes ... it's a nice District 5 again.
"Both east, west districts have some solid teams and solid players. That's been the status quo and we wouldn't expect anything different from our district and our region."
Braaten said he and the Cardinals are excited to get back to business, but added that playing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is a privilege.
"Every time we get to practice together or get to play a game -- if we are blessed to play games -- we'll just consider that a blessing. It's the world we are living in right now and these kids are adjusting. Hopefully, they get to enjoy their junior and senior seasons as much as possible."