Halves replace quarters in Minnesota high school basketball this season in hopes of making the game flow more smoothly and give more players an opportunity to get game experience.
Two 18-minutes halves will replace four 8-minute quarters. Teams will continue to have three 60-second and two 30-second timeouts. Players will be eligible to compete in three halves, not consecutively, per night instead of in five quarters.
Brainerd Warrior girls' coach Carl Hendrickson believes halves are going to change strategy, how a coach uses timeouts and how they develop their bench.
Head coach: Carl Hendrickson, ninth season.
2004-05 Brainerd record: 4-12 CLC, 6-19 overall.
Career record: 101-98 (.508)
Returning players: Kayla Huether, Danielle Uphoff, Natalie Niager, Britta Parsons, Danielle Vickerman, Joetta Johnson, Stacy Butler, Megan Bates.
Assistant coaches: Ron Gilbertson, Troy Nelson, Wade Haapajoki.
BHS girls' basketball has depth and balance
Coach Carl Hendrickson knows depth will be critical with rule changes.
"It's going to force you to build some depth because with 18 minutes straight your kids will have to be in good shape," he said. "You will have to use some timeouts differently.
"It will force you to play a few more kids. I don't think six kids can play two 18-minute halves and be productive for 36 minutes. I think that's too much time."
Hendrickson will build around one returning starter and one of his top reserves while attempting to cultivate what could be the deepest team he has coached in recent few years.
Sophomore guard Kayla Huether started about the last half of last season. She led the team in scoring with 9.7 points a game. Huether shot a respectable 46 percent from the field and 68 percent at the foul line.
"Kayla will play the point, and play the wings on both sides of the floor because we will have to be versatile with her," Hendrickson said. "We'll see if we can move her around on offense, make her not quite as identifiable.
"We hope to have more balance. We think we have more kids who can score this year compared to last year. We hope we don't have to rely on Kayla for 20 points a game."
Hendrickson hopes senior guard Danielle Uphoff can be one of the team's top scoring threats. Uphoff shot 46 percent from the floor and contributed 5.4 points a game.
"Danielle is the only one who had extended varsity minutes, other than Huether," Hendrickson said. "She's going to have to take some scoring pressure off Kayla."
Other letterwinners returning include seniors Natalie Niager (post), Britta Parsons (guard), Danielle Vickerman (post) and Joetta Johnson (guard), junior Stacy Butler (guard) and sophomore Megan Bates (post).
"We're trying to find places for people right now," Hendrickson said. "It's hard to say where all the pieces fit because with the injuries we have we need to get some depth from our sophomores.
"Parsons has a bad hip, (junior post Taylor) Sheflo is coming off a knee injury, so is Vickerman. Those are three people we're looking at maybe a little bit later giving us some minutes, but they're not ready right now."
Hendrickson looks for improved post play, with Niager and Bates inside along with sophomores Karlye Barron and Stephanie Neugebauer.
"Hopefully, we can get some scoring inside, which we haven't had in recent years," he said. "We think we might be the best in the post that we've been in the last 4-5 years."
He also believes this team's talent level is higher than the one that went 4-12 in the conference, 6-19 overall last winter.
"We think we've got the potential to be a better scoring team," he said. "I think we will play better defensively than we did last year. Again, it just depends on how our depth goes over the next few weeks, if we can develop it."
Seniors: Danielle Uphoff (5-6), Joetta Johnson (5-4), Natalie Niager (6-0), Britta Parsons (5-6), Danielle Vickerman (5-10)
Junior: Stacy Butler (5-6)
Sophomores: Kayla Huether (5-6), Megan Bates (5-11)
Other varsity candidates
Senior: AshLeigh Hakes (5-10)
Juniors: Abby Ahlberg (5-10), Bridget Badger (5-8), Kelsey McDowell (5-6), Taylor Sheflo (6-0)
Sophomores: Karlye Barron (5-10), Stephanie Neugebauer (5-9)
Freshman: Emily Thesing (5-7)
MIKE BIALKA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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