North girls basketball looking to build under new coach

First-year head coach Ashlie Anzel takes over a North High School girls basketball team that doesn’t return a lot of scoring or size. Despite those challengers, Anzel sees a team that should be able to compete night in and night out.

The Polars went 10-17 a year ago and graduated their top four scorers.

“We expect our team to be competitive each game and put ourselves in a position to win,” Anzel said. “Our goal would be to finish in the top half of the conference.”

Speed appears to be North’s top asset and Anzel expects to utilize it, especially offensively.

“We are a quick team with the potential to get out and run the floor,” said Anzel, who was the junior varsity girls basketball coach at Spring Lake Park High School last season.

Going up against taller teams could pose problems for the Polars this year.

“We’re a smaller team that will need to be creative in post,” said Anzel.

Senior Abilgail Warzeka is North St. Paul’s lone returning starter. She averaged four points per game in 2014-15.

Other players who return with some varsity experience include seniors Anna Kemper (3.5 points, four rebounds per game) and Krystal Tonseth (two points per game). Also back are juniors Abigail Schouvieller and Karissa Star.

Newcomers who could figure into the varsity plans include senior Tra’Elle Williams, sophomores Seriena Stone, Kellie McKane and Nicole Anderson and seventh-grader Alexis Pratt.

“We are looking to build confidence in our players on the offensive end,” said Anzel. “We know this is a tough conference and our girls are up for the challenge.”

The Polars finished fifth in the eight-team Metro East Conference. Hastings and Hill-Murray are the defending co-champions who along with Mahtomedi also recorded 20-plus victories a year ago.

North opened the season on Dec. 1 with a home game against Minneapolis Southwest. The Lakers went 15-12 and tied for second place in the Minneapolis City Conference standings last season.

The Polars continue their non-conference schedule this week with a game at North Branch Thursday, Dec. 10, and then host Totino-Grace Saturday, Dec. 12. Both games are at 7 p.m.

—Brian Meyers

2015-16 North St. Paul High School girls basketball schedule:

Dec. 10    at North Branch            7:15 p.m.
Dec. 12    vs. Totino-Grace            3:30 p.m.
Dec. 16    at Henry Sibley            7 p.m.
Dec. 18    at Hudson                5:30 p.m.
Dec. 22    at Becker                7 p.m.
Dec. 29    at Irondale tournament        TBA
Dec. 30    at Irondale tournament        TBA
Jan. 5    at Hastings                7 p.m.
Jan. 8    vs. Simley                7 p.m.
Jan. 12    at Hill-Murray            7 p.m.
Jan. 15    vs. Tartan                6:15 p.m.
Jan. 19    vs. South St. Paul        7 p.m.
Jan. 22    at Mahtomedi            7 p.m.
Jan. 26    vs. Henry Sibley            7 p.m.
Jan. 29    vs. East Ridge            7:15 p.m.
Jan. 30    at St. Paul Central        1 p.m.
Feb. 2    vs. Hastings            7 p.m.
Feb. 3    vs. FAIR Charter            7 p.m.
Feb. 5    at Simley                7 p.m.
Feb. 9    at Buffalo                7:15 p.m.
Feb. 12    vs. Hill-Murray            7 p.m.
Feb. 16    at Tartan                6:15 p.m.
Feb. 19    vs. Mahtomedi            7 p.m.
Feb. 23    at South St. Paul            7 p.m.

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