A steady diet of young players is nothing new to the Deerfield High School girls basketball program. The Demons had just two seniors on last year’s roster, and this year have just one.
“We’re going to be really, really young as a bulk of our players will be sophomores and freshmen,” said second-year head coach Don Schindler. “We only lost two seniors from last year’s team, but one of them was an all-conference player.”
Schindler was referring to Jayme Fischer, a 5-foot-5 senior guard who earned first-team Trailways South Conference honors.
Back to lead the way are junior Hailey Eickhoff and sophomores Breanna Ezzell and Ingrid Rucks. All three gained valuable varsity experience appearing in 19 or more games each.
Eickhoff, a 5-7 forward, started all 21 games last year averaging 4.3 points per night while pulling down 56 rebounds.
“She’s a nice player around the basket and has improved her shot,” Schindler said.
Ezzell, a 5-5 guard who played in 21 games, averaged 5.4 points, grabbed 74 rebounds and knocked down eight 3-point shots.
“She’s our point guard and still learning the craft,” said Schindler. “She has a lot of talent and played a lot of basketball over the summer.”
Rucks appeared in 19 games. Also a 5-7 forward, she averaged 2.6 points while grabbing 58 rebounds.
“Ingrid started about half of our games and is a player that can finish around the basket. She, too, played a lot over the summer,” Schindler said. “She has the ability to step outside and shoot the long ball.”
The DHS program itself has improved. Last season the Demons failed to field a junior varsity team, which they will in 2019-20.
“The goal really is to keep 11 kids on the varsity roster, and right now I really can’t differentiate between one and 11; the freshmen group is a talented one, but whoever adapts most quickly to the varsity level will probably see playing time earlier,” said Schindler.
The 2019-20 roster also includes: senior McKenzie Enright (5-10 forward); junior Sabrina Rodriquez (5-5 guard); sophomores Laura Bush (5-5 guard) and Morgan Mack (5-7 forward) and freshmen Jayden Winger (5-7 guard), Steffi Siewert (5-5 guard), Moli Haak (5-7 guard), Julia Fischer (5-7 forward) and Grace Brattlie (5-5 guard).
The Demons finished fourth in the Trailways South going 6-6, and ended the 2018-19 campaign just 6-15.
“I hope we can finish in the top 3,” said Schindler of the Trailways South race. “Abundant Life/St. Ambrose may be the best team in the conference and Parkview returns a lot of players, Johnson Creek is improved, and Palmyra is always a challenge.”
Deerfield opened its season with a 52-43 non-conference loss at Waterloo.
The Demons will be back on the court Thursday, Dec. 5 at Belleville with a 7:30 tip planned, before returning home Friday, Dec. 6 to host Orfordville Parkview in its Trailways South Conference opener at 7:15 p.m.
GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
(Home games in CAPS)
Thurs., Nov. 21 Waterloo, 7:30
Mon., Nov. 25 CAMBRIA-FRIES., 7:15
Tues., Nov. 26 LAKE MILLS, 7:15
Thurs., Dec. 5 Belleville, 7:30
Fri., Dec. 6 PARKVIEW, 7:15
Fri., Dec. 13 Williams Bay, 7:15
Mon., Dec. 16 COUNTRY DAY, 7:15
Fri., Dec. 20 JOHNSON CREEK, 7:15
Fri., Dec. 27 DODGELAND, 6:00
Mon., Jan. 6 Edgerton, 7:15
Thurs., Jan. 9 Palmyra-Eagle, 7:15
Mon., Jan. 13 SHULLSBURG, 7:15
Tues., Jan. 14 @AL/SA, 7:15
Fri., Jan. 17 WILLIAMS BAY, 7:15
Sat., Jan. 18 CAMBRIDGE, 6:00
Thurs., Jan. 23 Parkview, 7:15
Fri., Jan. 31 Country Day, 7:15
Mon., Feb. 3 Rio, 7:15
Thurs., Feb. 6 Johnson Creek, 7;15
Tues., Feb. 11 PALMYRA-EAGLE, 7:15
Fri., Feb. 14 vs. AL/SA, 7:15
Tues., Feb, 18 Pardeeville, 7:15
Feb. 25, 28-29 WIAA Regionals
March 5 & 7 WIAA Sectionals
March 29-21 WIAA State (@ Madison)