The Auburndale girls have plenty to work on, but nobody is arguing with a 6-0 start
By Paul Lecker
AUBURNDALE — After a mediocre regular season, the Auburndale girls basketball team burst onto the scene during last year’s playoffs.
The Apaches won four-straight playoff games to reach the WIAA Division 4 sectional final before losing to Algoma in a tight game.
Auburndale carried that positive momentum into the 2014-15 season and are off to a 6-0 start after a 56-42 victory at Edgar in a nonconference game Tuesday night.
Second-year coach Scott Meidl said the Apaches have been uneven so far this season but have fought through to win each game.
“Sometimes we play down to our competition,” Meidl said. “We start a game waiting to see what the other team is going to do instead of coming out full throttle, ready to go.”
Auburndale went on the road and defeated a Division 2 team in La Crosse Logan, were able to rally from a double-digit deficit to knock off Neillsville in double overtime, and beat Wausau Newman Catholic 36-22 last Friday in the Marawood Conference South opener for both teams.
In the win against Newman, Auburndale’s stifling defense forced 22 turnovers and held the Cardinals to 6 of 34 shooting from the field. Newman did not make a field goal for a stretch of nearly 22 minutes, missing 23-straight attempts from midway through the first quarter through early in the fourth.
Auburndale outscored the Cardinals 24-2 during that span to open up a 20-point lead.
However, the Apaches struggled offensively. They had 23 turnovers and made only 4 of 18 free throw attempts.
“We played a tough Neillsville team and a very good La Crosse Logan team, and I thought we played very well against both of them,” Meidl said. “Mentally, we did a great job of composing ourselves, communicating with each other, and working as a team. (Against Wausau Newman Catholic), for some reason, it just didn’t happen.”
Senior Shannon Yahnke and junior Taylor Gotz have been the major offensive weapons for the Apaches, but the team has a balanced attack.
Yahnke is averaging 11.5 points and Gotz 10.5 points per game, but they are not the only capable players. Allison Linzmeier, Paiton Richardson, and Cheyenne Karl have all scored in double figures in a game this season. Both Yahnke and Gotz had 17 in the win over Edgar on Tuesday.
For the Apaches to continue to be successful, they must keep improving in all facets of the game, Meidl said.
“Overall, everything needs work,” Meidl said. “Our transition game, we had opportunities. Defensively, we need to pick up our speed. We need to stay low, move our feet, stay in front of girls. Our offense is decent. We do a nice job of working it around and getting it into the post and kicking back out if we need to.
“I’m not going to settle for where we are now. We have a lot of things we can improve on, and bit by bit, little by little, we’re going to get there.”
Auburndale will face another tough test against undefeated Stratford on Friday night at Stratford High School. Stratford defeated Newman on Tuesday to also improve to 6-0 this season.
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times sports. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.