Defending champs

The Lodi girls basketball team shared the Capitol North Conference title with Lake Mills last season and return three of their top five scorers this season.

With the return of three of its top five scorers from last year’s Capitol North Conference title winning team, things are again looking bright for the Lodi girls basketball team.

“Our strength this season is our speed and depth,” Blue Devil coach Michelle Puls said. “Our weakness is varsity experience. We have a young team.”

The Lady Blue Devils had an outstanding 2018-2019 campaign. They finished the season 17-6 and earned a spot in the regional final.

Lodi finished 8-2 in the Capitol North to tie Lake Mills for the conference crown. Lakeside Lutheran (6-4), Poynette (3-7), Watertown Luther Prep (3-7) and Columbus (2-8) rounded out the standings.

“Our goal is to compete every time we step on the floor,” Puls said. “We want to play aggressive basketball.”

The Lady Blue Devils have to replace some talented seniors from last year’s team, including Alana Gilles and Rhianna Walzer.

Gilles was the Co-Player of the Year in the Capitol North with Lake Mills’ Julianna Wagner. Gillis led the Blue Devils with 15.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. She also came away with 59 assists and 37 steals.

Walzer was an honorable mention all-conference pick after averaging 4.9 assists, 4.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.

The Blue Devils welcome back a pair of all-conference players in juniors Lauryn Milne and Jaden Kolinski.

Milne, a guard, earned first-team All-Capitol North last season. She was Lodi’s second-leading scorer with 13.2 points per game, to go along with 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.5 assists per game.

“Lauryn became a vocal leader on the floor and is our floor general along with Jaden,” Puls said.

Kolinski, a guard, was named second-team all-conference a year ago. She averaged 9.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.8 assists per game.

“She is a versatile player and leads by example,” Puls said.

The Lady Blue Devils have just two seniors, post Morgan McNeil and guard Sam Mori, on this year’s roster.

McNeil averaged 1.0 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game last season.

“Morgan brings great senior leadership,” Puls said.

Mori saw limited action last season.

Milne and Kolinski lead a junior group that also includes guard Hailey Roessler, guard Claire Kerr, post Taylor Ripp and guard Paige Walzer.

Ripp averaged 4.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season, while Walzer averaged 0.7 assists, 0.3 points and 0.3 rebounds per game.

“Taylor will battle in the post for us this season,” Puls said.

Rounding out the roster for the Blue Devils this season are sophomores Dylann Harrington (guard), Sam Klann (post), Holly Jelinek (guard), Ella Puls (post) and Rylee Schneider (post).

“This season will be a success if we can have eight to nine girls see playing time and not miss a beat,” Puls said.

Ella Puls finished her freshman season averaging 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.

With five returning all-conference players, Lake Mills will be in the mix with Lodi for the Capitol North crown.

Puls things Lakeside Lutheran, Poynette and Luther Prep should also have solid teams.

The Lady Blue Devils will play in Lake Mills on Jan. 28 and will host the L-Cats on Feb. 20. Both games will start at 7:30 p.m.

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