Wellington ready to improve on last season's record
A new coach and an influx of junior varsity players that went 15-5 in 2010 has the Wellington Dukes girls varsity basketball team in a position to move forward following last year’s 5-16 record. After serving as an assistant to Marty Younkoff last year, Chris Reutepohler becomes the man in charge of the Lady Dukes. This is Reutepohler’s first head coaching job at the varsity level but the former Huron Tiger is ready after years of playing high school and college ball as well as coaching at the high school level.
“I had served as the freshmen boys coach and then an opportunity came up last year to be an assistant for the girls team,” Reutepohler said. “I talked it over with my wife and decided to try it for a year. When Marty retired the opportunity was there to coach the varsity and it seemed like a good fit for me,” he said. “It was a little overwhelming at first but I think it’s going along good now.”
Reutepohler, who will be assisted by Sherry Barlow and Katie Street, has three seniors on the team and all three have varsity experience. However, Reutepohler is confident that the seniors will provide the leadership necessary to help the Dukes improve upon last year’s record.
“We might be short on letter winners but we have leaders,” he said. “With a young team you need to have people that are going to step up and lead the way. Our seniors will provide us with that type of leadership.”
Seniors Victoria Reisinger, Olivia Wulfhoop and Megan Brasee accounted for 17 points and 20 rebounds per game last year and Reutepohler expects to see an increase in those numbers.
“All three girls have improved since last year,” said Reutepohler. “They have put in the time and the hard work in the off season. I expect that they will all see increases in their averages this year.”
Reutepohler expects Reisinger (second team all-county in 2010) to be a little more dangerous now that she has added some new post moves to her repertoire. Wulfhoop has also improved in the offseason and the key for her is to show some consistency from game to game.
“Olivia had some nice games last year but she couldn’t maintain it,” said Reutepohler. “If she can stay consistent game in and game out it is going to help us.”
Brasee “does a lot well” according to Reutepohler and he expects her rebounding to be one of the strong points of her game as “she should get a lot of put back baskets.”
The experience level falls dramatically from there but not the talent level as Karly Rollin, a sophomore who received some varsity minutes as a freshman, takes over the starting point guard position.
“Karly is going to grow up fast,” said Reutepohler. “She’s done a good job so far in the preseason but she is going to have to adjust to the regular season. I think she will be able to handle it.”
A trio of juniors – Erin Reisinger, Grace Dooley and Raven Howard – all bring something different to the table for the Dukes. Reisinger moves from post to guard and is probably the best 3-point shooter on the team. Dooley never stops doing the little things that don’t show up in the scorebook but give her team a chance to win. Howard’s talents are raw right now but Reutepohler believes that the ceiling is unlimited for her once she gets it all together.
Reutepohler expects the Dukes to play a more up tempo style of offense as he looks to take advantage of the Dukes athleticism. The ability to score shouldn’t be an issue for Wellington while defensively they are going to play man-to-man and press as they hope to take advantage of turnovers by their opponents.
The schedules sets up favorably for the Dukes and the season starts Saturday when they host New London at 2:30 pm. Reutepohler is ready now that he has settled into his role as head coach while juggling the responsibilities of family, faith and coaching. He and his wife Justina reside in Wellington with their four-month old son Callen.