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Lady Lions hoping for return trip to Region 3 title tilt

The Linton/HMB girls basketball team will be kicking off practices Nov. 15.

A double-overtime left the 2020-21 Linton/HMB girls basketball team nine points short of the 2021 Class B state basketball tournament.

"We had a great year, just came up a hair short," Linton/HMB head coach Beau Diegel said. "We had a group of five seniors and they definitely contributed a lot to our success. We are going to miss them, but we do have a core of four seniors and they should be pretty good."

The only points scored by the Lions in the Region 3 championship against Carrington last season came on a JayCee Richter 3-pointer with 50 seconds remaining on the game clock. Linton/HMB went 1-for-12 from the field and 1-for-8 at the foul line in the two overtime frames.

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Richter, a key returner for the Lions this season, scored 19 of the Lions' 51 points and produced nine steals.

While he lost five to graduation, the Lions will not have to retool their roster.

Richter, a senior point guard, was the Lions' leading scorer last season averaging 15 points and seven rebounds per game. The senior will be joined by fellow senior teammates Teegan Scherr, who Diegel coined as a "dead-eye 3 shooter," Erin Kelsch a standout shooter and Callie Hase, who pitches an aggressive defense.

"All of our seniors are guards which means our underclassmen are going to have to be the size for us," Diegel said. "We have a 5-foot-10 post who mainly played junior varsity last year but she'll need to step up and play a lot of big minutes for varsity this season.

"I know she had a good summer -- she worked hard -- but she won't have experience, it's going to be new for her."

Diegel's coaching style sees a multitude of subs off his bench every game, a feat the head coach said he thinks his group of seniors and underclassmen can handle. The Lions tend to play a press offense.

"Our strength will be in our guards," Diegel said. "They have a lot of experience. They should be able to knock down open 3s, they should be able to drive and kick and draw two defenders on them and hit the open person."

While District 6 teams will undoubtedly face some sharp shooting from the Lions, Diegel said his team will have some trouble defending against other teams' post players. Diegel said he trusts his young bench but added that they will still have to prove themselves in a game-type situation -- especially with teams like Kidder County.

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"They have a really good post in Kennedy Harter," Diegel said. "She's probably as athletic of a girl as we'll see this year. She's hard to get off the boards and she scores easy buckets in the paint."

Harter and the Wolves had their season zapped in the Region 3 semifinals last February. Harter recorded seven blocks, 13 points and eight rebounds.

Harter, a junior, and a few other guards will be returning for the Wolves but they will be missing their all-stater Madelyn Schmidt. Other teams Diegel said the Lions will have to watch for are Oakes, Carrington and LaMoure/Litchville-Marion. The head coach also picked Edgeley/Kulm-Montpelier as a top finisher as the Rebels did not graduate any from the roster.

"You have to come ready to play every night," Diegel said. "We should have another good year of competing."

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